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Disaster Relief (October 2017)

Rabbi Mike

Quote of the Week:

“We did not expect much of him.”

                     --Thesis advisor of Richard Thaler, who just won the Nobel Prize in Economics


Disaster Relief

Even as we get our share of what is left of Hurricane Nate, I would like to turn your attention once again to the millions of victims of the natural disasters we have been witnessing, one after another, for the past several weeks: Texas, Florida, the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, Mexico. I have spoken and written about these events and their victims, but it bears repeating. There have been too many catastrophes of late and the victims are still picking up the pieces long after the television cameras have gone. It is too easy to succumb to compassion fatigue and to block out the images on our screens or to turn the channel.

Short of dropping everything and heading to one of the disaster areas to volunteer, which most of us are not able to do, we can and must provide financial support to aid responsible organizations that are assisting in the rebuilding efforts in these communities. Here are few organizations doing this work that need our support:

  • Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) is the national organization for all of the Federations in North America, and they have funds for disaster relief. This page has links to several of their opportunities for giving, including specific funds for victims of Harvey, Irma and Maria.
  •  The American Red Cross
  • · There are multiple organizations for relief related to specific hurricanes. They are easy to find on Google.


Reverend William Barber, II, in Boston

One of the national leaders whom I greatly admire and respect is going to be in Boston on Thursday, October 19, and I want to encourage you to be there with me. I am speaking about Reverend William Barber, II, who will be speaking at the “Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Reverend Barber is one of the leading figures in civil rights and advocating for morality in public policy. He spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention and is a frequent guest on news shows. He is now the President of “Repairers of the Breach,” a national social justice organization dedicated to influencing public policy with biblical values of justice and fairness. It is timely, and worth noting, that the organization’s title is taken from Isaiah 58:12, which is part of our Haftarah for Yom Kippur, when Isaiah tells the Israelites that if they fulfill their obligations to take care of the hungry, the poor and the disenfranchised in their midst “You shall be called ‘Repairer of the breach, Restorer of streets to dwell in.’”

Carol and I had the opportunity to personally meet Reverend Barber when we were in North Carolina to work on voter registration in the summer of 2016. At the time Barber was the President of the North Carolina NAACP, which co-sponsored the voter registration drive along with the Religious Action Center of the URJ (Union of Reform Judaism). It was a privilege and a memorable experience to not only hear him speak at the event, but to meet him and interact with him in a small-group setting. I look forward to being with him again on the 19th. Here is the link:

Thu, June 13 2024 7 Sivan 5784