Jewish groups offer many ways to help in hurricane relief efforts
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Jewish groups offer many ways to help in hurricane relief efforts

A week after Sandy, online forums call for volunteers and donations to help the worst-hit areas in NY and NJ

Haviv Rettig Gur is The Times of Israel's senior analyst.

A volunteer helps sort through donations at Hoboken High School in Hoboken, New Jersey, on Sunday as surrounding neighborhoods remain without power due to damage caused by superstorm Sandy (photo credit: AP/John Minchillo)
A volunteer helps sort through donations at Hoboken High School in Hoboken, New Jersey, on Sunday as surrounding neighborhoods remain without power due to damage caused by superstorm Sandy (photo credit: AP/John Minchillo)

Hurricane Sandy’s “unforeseen floods, fires, fatalities and devastation” have left millions “displaced, without power, water and food,” explains the website of Repair the World, a New York-based Jewish group that encourages volunteering “rooted in Jewish values.”

In the wake of the devastation wreaked on the northeastern coast of the United States by Hurricane Sandy, Jewish groups like Repair the World have played a major role in organizing volunteers and fundraising for relief efforts in the worst-hit areas.

To help prospective volunteers or donors find relief projects on the ground, the group has been updating a “How to Help Now” page on its website, offering links to projects and relief organizations.

The New York-based Jewish online magazine Tablet has also kept an updated list of organizations, including food pantries and synagogues, that could use help.

The national federation umbrella group, Jewish Federations of North America, has established a relief fund to help efforts in the disaster areas. New York’s Jewish federation, the UJA-Federation, has its own page with volunteer opportunities and is also accepting donations.

The same is true of the JCC in Manhattan, whose social action page has contact information for those looking to help.

As the Forward noted on Friday, groups as diverse as the Jewish branch of Occupy Wall Street (which calls itself Occupy Judaism) to Chabad Young Professionals and Yeshiva University’s student government have been pounding the pavement throughout the city, bringing supplies and food to those stuck without power or transportation.

Relief funds have been opened by all major religious movements: Reform, Conservative and Orthodox.

The Union for Reform Judaism and the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly have published prayers meant to help Jews deal with the hurricane, and the loss and healing that follow.

Of course, non-Jewish opportunities to help also abound throughout the affected areas. Three major organizations looking for help are the Red Cross, NYC Service, a site run by the city that pairs volunteers with projects, and the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund launched by Governor Chris Christie this week.

Victims of Hurricane Sandy seeking information on disaster relief loans and grants, unemployment grants for those without insurance, the location of public shelters, and other government assistance from 17 US federal agencies should go to http://www.disasterassistance.gov.

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