Jewish Volunteers Step Up for Sandy Victims

Communal Groups Rev Up Relief Efforts After Storm

Helping Hand: Volunteers from Masbia Soup Kitchens/Met-Council and Chaverim prepare emergency food for seniors affected by Sandy at the Park Slope Armory in Brooklyn.
Helping Hand: Volunteers from Masbia Soup Kitchens/Met-Council and Chaverim prepare emergency food for seniors affected by Sandy at the Park Slope Armory in Brooklyn.

By JTA

Published November 02, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Just before Shelly Fine went to sleep Tuesday night, he posted his contact information and an appeal seeking volunteers for the Hurricane Sandy relief effort on a popular Upper West Side blog. When the 63-year-old woke up the next morning, he had 163 responses. Together with other volunteers, Fine is helping to orchestrate a grassroots effort to help out at the city’s local shelters.

“The response of the Jewish community up here has been amazing,” Fine told JTA. “Synagogues, organizations and individuals – everyone has been coming out to volunteer. We’ve been sending people with medical training around to the evacuation sites to make sure everyone is OK, people are showing up and handing out cooked food, fresh clothing and games for children.”

Fine is just one of a number of Jewish volunteers stepping up to bring relief to New Yorkers affected by Hurricane Sandy. Tens of thousands of residents across the five boroughs still have no heat and electricity after the storm ripped through the city earlier this week, tearing down trees, homes and power lines. Many residents evacuated to local shelters or, stuck inside their homes, were relying on volunteers to bring them food and supplies.

Uri L’Tzedek, an Orthodox social justice organization, hit the streets of New York City Wednesday to hand out food and supplies to those in need. After placing an announcement on Twitter and Facebook, some 45 volunteers showed up to distribute candles, batteries, flashlights, water and food.

“We brought just about every flashlight we could find, and eventually just stood on street corners and handed out water to anyone who needed,” said Uri L’Tzedek’s Yael Keller. “A lot of people approached us telling us about elderly people stuck on higher floors who needed company and supplies. We climbed stairs.”

In Brooklyn, Masbia, a network of kosher soup kitchens serving that usually provides 500 meals a day, has been making more than four times that number since the storm. The organization originally prepared to close its facilities ahead of the storm since many employees live in affected neighborhoods. But Masbia’s executive director, Alexander Rapaport, told JTA that after receiving several calls from shelters in need of food, he gathered a team of volunteers and has been working around the clock to provide meals to thousands of people in three public shelters in Brooklyn and Queens.

“We’ve been sending most of our meals to the seniors evacuated to Park Slope Armory, which is part of the government’s evacuation plan,” Rapaport said. “There were hundreds of people being bused in, on stretchers and in wheelchairs. We usually aren’t equipped to make this much food, but we’ve had a lot of volunteers. People understand the sense of urgency to help these older people.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.