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November 05, 2012

Jewish Federation Releases $10 Million For Hurricane Relief

Hurricane Sandy Statue of LibertyThe UJA-Federation of Greater New York released $10 million to its member agencies and synagogues to use for emergency hurricane relief. The decision to release the funds was made last night by the UJA-Federation’s board of directors, which met in a special session.

Hurricane Sandy Statue of Liberty

Jewish Federation Releases $10 Million For Hurricane Relief
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com

This morning, the UJA-Federation of Greater New York released $10 million to its member agencies and synagogues to use for emergency hurricane relief, the JTA reports.

The decision to release the funds was made last night by the UJA-Federation’s board of directors, which met in a special session.

In a statement released this morning, the UJA-Federation noted that, “the emotional and economic impact [of Hurricane Sandy], especially on the isolated elderly and the poor, is acute and will remain so for a long time.”

UJA-Federation had already set up a Hurricane Sandy relief fund after Hurricane Sandy hit last week.

However, the UJA-Federation’s initial relief effort focused primarily on distributing free challah breads Thursday and Friday ahead of Shabbat, which prompted criticism from some victims of the hurricane.

Two weeks ago the UJA-Federation raised a reported record amount of money, $45 million, at its annual fundraising campaign’s kickoff event.

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Well done. Every penny counts!

Well done! Every penny counts.

Whoops, sorry for the double post.

How about releasing funds for yeshivas and Jewish day schools?

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, we, as a community, want to help those in need. Yesterday, three of our members took it upon themselves to head into areas affected by the storm and see where we could best offer help to people with the greatest need. What we saw was devastating. The cleanup in these neighborhoods will take months, if not years to complete.

Many organizations are mobilizing to help in this situation, and we would like to do the same. Over the next two days, the JCC and the JCC Sara Walker Nursery School will be collecting urgently needed items to be distributed to areas such as Staten Island, the Rockaways and Long Beach.

Please bring to the Stamford JCC, by the end of the day on Tuesday, November 6, any of the following items:

• Industrial hard bristle brooms
• Shovels
• Rakes
• Contractor Garbage Bags
• Work Gloves
• Work Boots
• Masks
• Latex gloves
• Bleach
• Cleaning supplies
• Sponges
• Paper Towels
• Clorox Wipes
• Baby Wipes
• Hand Sanitizer
• Flashlights
• Lanterns
• Batteries (all sizes)

The above items are in great demand, but we can also accept cash and checks, made out to The Center Women (memo: Sandy Relief). We will then purchase supplies with the donations. We are also collecting gift cards from Home Depot, Costco, VISA/MasterCard and AMEX to be given directly to families in need.
We need volunteers to help transport these donated items to the affected communities on Wednesday morning, November 7.

For more information or to volunteer, please contact Sheri Jacobson at omshez@gmail.com, Rachel Leslie at RachelHlLeslie@gmail.com or, for JCC Sara Walker Nursery School families, Jodi Multer at jodilhelman@yahoo.com

Thank you for reaching out to those who need our help in the aftermath of the storm.
The Center Women

But what will actually be done with this $10M? The article doesn't say. What agencies and/or which people will qualify for grants? What purposes are allowed and not allowed?

Interesting that they're including synagogues. Federations usually tend to stay away from aiding individual religious groups.

And maybe they thought that giving a cold, hungry, disabled, isolated alte kokker a free challah totally made up for them sitting in an unpowered 10th floor apt. they couldn't leave?

Reminds me of the Federation response to Katrina: shofar shipments to Dallas and Houston (possibly to Atlanta too, I don't remember). Who knew Texas had a shofar shortage? When all I had was the clothes on my back, I asked the Federation for help and got--zero. From the Red Cross I got one bottle of water. Fortunately when it became possible to fly my son sent me a ticket, extortionately priced, to join him, and I was able to buy some clothes and other necessities when I reached his home where I could use my credit cards. Eventually I could also get access to my bank accounts. The bottom line is that the big institutional charities that collect tons of money are essentially useless. Those wishing to donate should try to find small local charities, and those needing help should look for the same. I had evacuated to a Motel 6 in Baton Rouge where local churches came every day to serve a free evening meal to those in the motel and anyone else in need. It wasn't food suitable for me to eat, but it was a big help to the evacuated families who certainly hadn't budgeted for an extended motel stay and restaurant meals.

In the Far Rockaway and Five Towns community, a Haredi organization called "Achiezer" is leading the way in terms of coordination of community assistance. They are doing a phenomenal job. Their website is: www.Achiezer.org and for those who need help, their phone number is: 516-791-4444.

They coordinated free hot meals daily for lunch and supper, complete catered Shabbos packages for this past Shabbos, clothing distribution, they evacuated the elderly and the sick to safe locations. They are coordinating volunteers to help anyone who needs cleanup efforts, have a FEMA rep available, they coordinated housing for displaced families or individuals. And they are now raising funds for distribution to those devastated by the storm. It's astounding.

Chabad of Cedarhurst is also offering free hot meals daily and an open house to stay warm, recharge phones, etc.

Too bad the Federation isn't doing any of that.

Achiezer hit the ground running even before this storm hit by evacuating anyone referred to them who was elderly, sick, disabled, or special needs.

I think the fact that Achiezer is being run by one of Rabbi Yakov Bender's sons is dangerous, as the Benders seem to be monopolizing Far Rockaway and are now moving into the Five Towns (Rabbi Yakov Bender runs Darchei, and his son Baruch Ber Bender runs, and may have started, Achiezer). Far Rockaway has been referred to as "Benderville."

Family monopolies like this which are not open and publically run organizations with public boards, etc, tend to lead to corruption in many different ways. But so far Achiezer itself is doing a good job, at least on the surface. But this specific organization is very new, it is only about 2-3 years old.

Their excellent performance in this storm will be the big thing putting them on the wider Haredi map.

Too bad there is no non-denomenational or non-Orthodox Jewish equivalent doing as good a job.

The Federation missed it's calling.

Abra! Hi! No, I have long felt the Federation's calling is their uncanny knack of being able to locate someone's grave, where a request for donation will promptly arrive.

DH - Don't forget their adviertisements in any and all local and national Jewish newspapers, proclaiming that they are there for needy Jews around the world. Unless for-profit Jewish newspapers are owned by hungry, needy Jews, those ads cost a mint and help nobody and do nothing except promote their brand. What a waste of Jewish assets.

Abra why the backhanded compliment? He's doing amazing work! You're sitting on your ample ass.

To 3-dots "..."

It was a straightforward compliment where I listed many of the things they were doing and clearly said they were doing a great job. No backhanded compliment there.

I am, however, concerned that once they grow, or at some point down the line after becoming more established, they can become corrupt like too many an organization which is family owned and operated with no open books and refusal towards being audited by unaffiliated, independent auditors.

But how nice of you to call my ass ample. I'll take that as a compliment despite your attempt at trying to insult me.

And surely you know that throwing around insults is always a good way to endear others towards your fellow holy Haredim while thinking you are defending some perceived insult towards them. Nice job.

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