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Hurricane Harvey

One week ago, the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas coast devastating the state and leaving the city of Houston under water. The property damage is overwhelming and the personal trauma even more so. It will be years before the physical impact of this hurricane is fully remediated, but it will be a lifetime of painful memories for those affected. As we sit in Cincinnati, Ohio, relatively safe and dry, I am sure I am not the only one thinking how we can help our brothers and sisters in Texas.

From USCJ:

"For now the focus is on saving lives. Please give to the JFNA, Houston Federation, and/or Nechama. These organizations are working to search and rescue, provide shelter, clothing, medications and medical care and food to those who need it. And the need is great.

In the future we will turn our attention to the needs of the Jewish community in their rebuilding and will ask people to give to USCJ's Disaster Relief Fund so we may support that effort."

With the help of the local federation and the USCJ, I am providing links for donation to organizations doing amazing work on the ground saving lives and eventually rebuilding Houston. Below are many ways to give financial aid to Houston:

Jewish Federations of North America:

Jewish Federation of Greater Houston:



American Red Cross:
(It is better to donate blood than money. They need the blood more in emergencies!)

Some words from the Executive Director of Bnai Yeshuran Houston:

The rains continue, but the waters are mostly receding.  Some concerns about more flooding from upstream.  Lots of rescues - by truck, by boat, and by helicopter.  Lots of heroes.  Some additional mandatory evacuations in specific areas.  May continue to rain for another 2 to 3 days.

I'm safe and dry, Baruch HaShem.  Too many others not so lucky. 2/3 of our clergy have water in their homes.  Half of our officers.  Hundreds of our congregants.  Thousands in the city.

Was able to make it to our synagogue this morning - flooded, no power.

Don't know how high the water was, because it had receded and it was too dark to see water lines on the walls, but outside the dirt line was 12 to 15 inches.  Our large sanctuary has a sloped floor and is full of water all the way to the back 3 feet deep at the low end.  Carpets are soaked and "squishy."  All floors are wet.  Torahs, B'H, are safe.  It seems impossible that we'll be able to have HH services in the building.  At least two other synagogues are in similar condition. Fortunately for Larry, his synagogue didn't flood.

Many of you have asked how you can help.  In the short term, when the rain stops our community is going to need volunteers to help pull carpets and carry set furniture and other debris to the street/curb for pickup.  That in itself will take weeks.  Understandably, loads of volunteers coming from around the country is not very practical, especially three weeks before Rosh Hashanah."

Please, give what you can and how you can to help those in need in Houston.

Shabbat Shalom!
Brian Freedman
Executive Director


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