As I continued to watch the coverage and the stories that came out of Texas and Florida following the destruction and aftermath from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, I was struck by so many emotions. I was concerned for the people whose lives were turned upside down and sideways by something that was out of their control. I was saddened to see so much devastation brought by these incredible storms. And, I was awe-inspired by the outpouring of support, compassion, and love that came from people all over our country, including our very own San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys. The moment we announced that the Jewish Federation was establishing an emergency fund for those affected from these hurricanes, our community responded.
Judaism teaches us that we cannot separate ourselves from the community. Being compassionate and caring for all of G-d’s creatures is a cornerstone of our Jewish faith and an integral part of what our community stands for. As a leader, a parent, and a member of our community, it makes me proud, that, no matter where major devastation strikes around the world, our local and international Jewish community has consistently risen to show our support and done everything we can to respond.
The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), our local Jewish Federation’s national and international arm, supports the work of first responders, and local aid organizations, that offer immediate emergency relief, along with ongoing support in the enormous task of rebuilding, in the aftermath of a disaster.
Our community, with your support, makes it possible for resources to be delivered to communities that need it across the globe. From Israeli medics who provide care in emergency zones, the Joint Distribution Committee airlifting medical and food supplies in the aftermath of a disaster, and Jewish communities in Houston and Florida gaining access to much-needed food and shelter during the disaster we have seen in these recent weeks, as well as continued support for these communities as they work to rebuild.
These events are a powerful reminder that no matter our differences, we are all connected. The well-being of our neighbors around the world is, in part, our responsibility. As Jews, we have an obligation to care for one another, and to do what we can to leave this world a better place for future generations. As the Talmud teaches us, “Kol yisrael arevim zeh la’zeh,” which means, “All of Israel are responsible for each other”.
The images we saw coming from Texas and Florida, of people helping one another, the lines of trucks towing boats to help with the evacuations, and the truckloads of donations of goods that came in from all over, are a reminder of our interconnectedness and the great privilege of being part of our human family and doing everything we can to provide service wherever needed.
The Jewish Federation is committed to continuing to lend a hand, organize support, and speak out, to represent the values of our Jewish community. It is our Jewish mission, it is our passion, it is what connects us to the world and to each other: doing our part in repairing the world.