As Hurricane Harvey leaves the country’s fourth largest metro area underwater, many Jews in Houston and the surrounding area have seen their homes and synagogues inundated and their sense of security shattered. In addition to helping out with the general relief effort, here are some organizations that are specifically helping Jews impacted by the epic storm.
1. Jewish Federation of Houston
The Houston Jewish Federation, the local federation in that city, is disbursing monies to Jewish communities in need and impacted by the storm. The Houston area is supposed to be home to around 50,000 Jewish residents.
2. Jewish Federations of North America
The Jewish Federations of North America, umbrella organization to the Houston group, is also gathering funds for affected communities. JFNA is the largest Jewish organization in North America, and disburses billions of dollars a year to support Jewish life.
3. Jewish Family Service
Jewish Family Service is a Houston-based organization that provides counseling and disability services to Jews and non-Jews alike in the Houston area. Linda Burger, the chief executive of the group, is holed up on the second floor of her home, riding out the storm so she can help victims in the aftermath.
4. Hebrew Free Loan Society
The Hebrew Free Loan Society will be working with its Houston chapter to distribute interest-free loans to locals who have lost property or homes in the storm.
5. Nechama: A Jewish Response to Disaster
The Minneapolis-based Nechama organization sends teams of volunteers to afflicted areas in order to help with first aid and disaster recovery. According to their site, they are devoted to living out the value of tikkun olam, or repairing the world. It will soon send a team to the Houston area - an effort it’s raising funds for right now.
6. Union for Reform Judaism’s Greene Family Camp
The Union for Reform Judaism’s Greene Family Camp will be partnering Houston’s Jewish community center to create a day camp for children whose lives have been disrupted by the storm. Schools are currently shut in Houston, and there’s no certainty when they will open again.
7. United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Disaster Relief Fund
The Conservative movement’s congregational arm has a disaster relief fund that provides help to Jews and others in need.
6. Orthodox Union
The Orthodox Union is raising funds to support the Orthodox community in Houston, and has been organizing prayer sessions in movement synagogues to offer spiritual aid to those impacted. Right now, the OU’s efforts are focused on getting basic supplies into the hands of local Jews. The OU is planning to work with the local Orthodox community to repair a synagogue flooded out by the storm.