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Hurricane Katrina
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- "Safer" Torah
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- A Andrew; K Katrina
- Operation Blessing
- Losing Both Gulf Wars
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The Philadelphia Jewish Voice
October 2005 > Katrina

Networking Central: Progressive Groups of the Month

We all probably have other good ideas how to make use of our money and time to advance worthy endeavors. In this section we highlight a new local group each month in order to encourage networking.

Usually we focus on a single group. For example, in July we presented The Jewish Relief Agency and last month we introduce you to the Shalom Center.

This month due to the scope of the Hurricane Katrine disaster, we will try to cover part of the wide range of groups working to salvage hope - Tikkun Olam - by helping the victims of this tragedy. 

Congregation Beth Yeshurun in Houston, Texas

Rabbi David Rosen says his congregation is hosting a large number of evacuees from New Orleans. They have many needs:

  1. Most of the Jewish families have lost their home ritual objects and we have begun a drive to collect Shabbat candlesticks, challah covers, kiddush cups, mezuzot (with parchments), hanukkiyot, nice talleisim, etc. If Philadelphia would like to collect these items and send them to us, we would be happy to distribute them. 
  2. Would Philadelphia Jewry like to sponsor a Friday night dinner for displaced Jews down here? The larger synagogues among us have been hosting these events, but they are quite costly since we don't charge for them.
  3. We indeed need donations. As the largest synagogue in Houston, we have been trying our best to meet all the requests made on us by New Orleans families. Donations to our congregation's Katrina Fund will be most welcome, and whatever we don't use will go to the Jewish Federation of New Orleans to help in their rebuilding. 

Contact: Rabbi David Rosen, Congregation Beth Yeshurun, 4525 Beechnut Blvd., Houston, TX 77096, Phone (713) 666-1881,, 

Suburban JCC B'nai Aaron

A single mother, Dena Hetten, and her 4 year old daughter Armitpal, have been relocated to our area after losing their home in New Orleans. Lisa is collecting money to help pay for some of the costs. They will also need winter clothes- Dena is size 18-20 and Armitpal is size 3T-4T. Contact Suburban JCC B'nai Aaron.

Also, the USY chapter at Suburban JCC Bnai-Aaron is helping to support hurricane victims in conjunction with relief agencies in Houston and Congregation Brith Shalom in Bellaire, Texas. A specific request has been made for at least 20,000 personal toiletry kits for surviving victims of Hurricane Katrina. Toiletry items will be purchases in bulk, and then packaged into individual toiletry kits for hurricane refugees. The goal is to ship at least 400 kits to Texas within the next month. Individuals will be needed to help pack and money is being collected to pay for the kits.

B'nai Brith

Contributions through Bínai Bírith should be made payable to the Bínai Brith Disaster Relief Fund and sent to: Bínai Brith International, 2020 K Street, N.W., Seventh Floor, Washington, D.C., 20006; or online by going to and clicking on the link for disaster relief.

United Jewish Communities

Contribution through the UJC can be made online at or by mail at United Jewish Communities, P.O. Box 30, Old Chelsea Station, N.Y., 10113, attention: Hurricane Katrina. Mark the memo section of checks with "Katrina." Focus is on community organized and administered humanitarian relief for disaster victims.

UJC's Hurricane Katrina relief plan will allocate funds through local communities for emergency needs such as foodstuffs and basic supplies; financial aid; mental-health counseling; temporary housing and respite care for thousands of evacuees and health care not covered by insurance.

Relief aid and services will be provided in conjunction with local Jewish and non-Sectarian agencies in the affected areas. UJC is working with FEMA and other National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) agencies including the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities, The Salvation Army and others. Most importantly, all dollars raised will go directly to hurricane relief efforts. 

Union for Reform Judaism

Contributions through the Union for Reform Judaism can be made at Information on the Disaster Relief Fund can be found at

United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

The United Synagogue has opened our Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund.  We ask Conservative Jews to make a financial contribution that will help our communities affected by the hurricanes. 


Our Conservative synagogues are still assessing damage to their buildings and communities.  Synagogues in the affected areas that sustain extensive damage that is not covered by insurance may receive money from the fund.  Funds for assistance to individual victims will be made from our Hurricane Relief Fund to organizations on the ground that are best able to provide direct assistance.    


Credit card donations can be made online at; just click on the link to the Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund.  When you make a credit card donation you must write in the designation box that the donation is for the Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund. 


Donations by check can be made payable to "USCJ"; indicate in the memo section that the donation is for the Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund.  Checks should be mailed to  USCJ Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund; 121 Congressional Lane; Suite 210 ; Rockville , MD 20852 .  In order to reduce administrative costs we will not send an acknowledgement of the donation unless required by law or requested by the donor.

Mark Waldman, USCJ Director of Public Policy

Orthodox Union

The Orthodox Union is serving as a conduit for funds for communities and families affected by the hurricane. All money collected will be disbursed directly to those in need and no overhead costs will be assigned from these funds.

Contributions may be made through their website, or by sending your check, payable to Orthodox Union and marked "Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund," to Orthodox Union, 11 Broadway, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10004. Please write "Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund" clearly on both the check and the envelope.

Chabad of Louisiana

Chabad of Louisiana has established a relief fund to continue being at the forefront of the relief efforts on behalf of the entire region. Chabad is working with its network of center in the areas to which people evacuated to provide food, shelter and emotional and spiritual comfort to these thousands of people. I ask and encourage you to participate generously by visiting the website and clicking on the Chabad Hurricane Relief link, or mail check to their national office: Jewish Hurricane Relief Fund, 770 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11213. The Jewish Relief Agency is part of Chabad.

Jewish Federations of Greater Houston and New Orleans

ORT suggests sending money to the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston which is new temporary home of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans.


Help Mazon's relief efforts by making a donation here.  Be sure to specify in our "Special Instructions" field that your donation is for hurricane relief.

Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia

Our local Federation's Center for Social Responsibility established a Hurricane Relief Fund which is accepting contributions to be used for short-term humanitarian relief and long-term rebuilding efforts for members of the general and Jewish communities in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. The Fund will also help support communities outside the devastated areas where displaced hurricane victims are temporarily residing. 

The Federation's Center for Social Responsibility in line with its mission to aid people in need, especially thorough social action effort has begun the fund to help alleviate the colossal emotional and physical damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina. The center will work with United Jewish Communities (UJC), Federation's national partner, to distribute all funds raised.

To donate online go to or make a check out to "Jewish Federation" with "Hurricane Relief Fund" in the memo field and mail it to: Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Hurricane Relief Fund, Post Office Box 57200, Philadelphia, PA 19111-7200.

Our fellow Jews and fellow Americans in the Gulf Coast area need us now like never before. I hope you will help us to help them to the very best of our ability. Thank you.

-- Beryl D. Simonson, Board Chair and Harold S. Goldman, President

More than money, refugees from New Orleans and surrounding areas need housing. If you have spare room or know someone who does especially within 300 miles of the effected area, contact People in contact with displaced persons can use the same website to search for housing on their behalf.

Hosts for Hospitals

HOSTS for HOSPITALS is a wonderful organization. They pre-screen and work with host families to make an appropriate placement (usually for family members of hospitalized patients). I recommend them strongly and encourage listing your name with them if you have any extra space you might be willing to offer to New Orleans refugees. You can send your information to Mike Aichenbaum (Mikeaoz@AOL.COM). -- William C. Holmes.

I would ask then that you to email me if in theory you or someone you know may be open to lodging a Katrina family; in doing so, please indicate the maximum number of individuals and length of time for which you would be willing to offer such lodging, along with any other information/restrictions which you think we should know.

We will work to screen as best we can any Katrina family contacting Hosts for Hospitals about receiving lodging. As it our normal practice, we will then share with you everything we know about the applicant family. If you then would like to further explore lodging that family, we will work with you to be in contact directly with the guest-family.  -- Mike Aichenbaum

Friends of the Houston Public Library

Jim Hundemer, Manager of Library Services at Houston ISD. thanks anyone who wants to donate.

Send children's books to Douglass Elementary School, 3000 Trulley, Houston, Texas 77004. These  books will be distributed to all the shelters in the Houston area.

Also, Friends of the Houston Public Library will be distributing books to adults in the shelters. Send those books directly to him at HISD Library Services, 5216 Feagan, Houston, Texas 77007. Jim's phone is (713) 861-1204, fax (713) 864-9380."

Rick Recht

Rick Recht is donating 100% of the proceeds of the sale of his CDs to charities directly involved with hurricane relief efforts. Click here and type "Hurricane Relief" in the comments box of your order. The funds will be immediately redirected to help our fellow Americans who desperately need our help.  The worldwide Jewish community has always been vigilant in helping those in need and now, more than ever, it is time for us to lend a helping hand. 

The CD's available ($15 each) include:

  • Shabbat Alive Live
  • What Feels So Right
  • Rick Recht Band Live - The Hope Cd
  • Free To Be The Jew In Me
  • Tov CD
  • Good Thing CD
  • Reality CD
  • Shabbat Alive! "Sing A Long" CD

Rick Recht will be performing live at Temple Beth Hillel Beth El on December 18, 2005.