The scale of the disaster wrought by Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf
region is apparent even to those of us who are thousands of miles away
in Israel. More than a national tragedy for the United States, it is a
global tragedy that touches all of us as human beings.
I am pleased to report that the staff and families of Hillel of New
Orleans based at Tulane University have found safety outside of the
city. We have been in touch with Executive Director Paige Nathan, who is
in now with her family in Baltimore, and the rest of the staff. They
wish to thank the many Hillel professionals who have sent messages of
concern and offers of assistance.
I know that you are eager to offer help. However, with access to New
Orleans still cut off, it is too early to determine how to respond most
effectively. For example, we do not know the condition of our Hillel
I want to thank our colleagues Kenny Weiss, executive director of
Houston Hillel, and his staff who opened their Hillel to New Orleanians
and to those offering relief. In addition, Cindy Greenberg, executive
director of the Edgar M. Bronfman Center for Jewish Life at the NYU,
will be leading a delegation of students to Houston this weekend to help
prepare the Astrodome for refugees. Jacob Schreiber, executive director
of Hillels of Georgia, and staff are welcoming Tulane students to their
area and are collecting funds for relief. These are just a few of the
ways that local Hillels are helping. Please send information about other
endeavors your Hillel's may be doing to Jeff Rubin at
email@example.com. MTV and other news outlets are eager for
Hillel is collecting funds to assist with disaster relief for the Jewish
and non-Jewish communities throughout the Gulf region. We encourage
local Hillels and their students to join us in this important tzedaka
effort. By collecting our funds as a movement, we will be making an
important statement about the campus Jewish community's concern for the
victims. Donations may be made through
or by mail to Hurricane Katrina Relief, Weinberg Tzedek Hillel, Charles
and Lynn Schusterman International Center, Rochelle and Arthur Belfer
Building, 800 Eighth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001. And be sure to
remember the hurricane victims in your High Holy Day appeals.
Hillel is working with Israeli universities and the Jewish Agency for
Israel to find opportunities for Gulf-area students to enroll in Israeli
institutions while their universities are recovering. Israeli
universities start later than U.S. schools and may provide an appealing
alternative for these students.
The entire Gulf Jewish community has dispersed and the United Jewish
Communities has asked our help in locating members of the Jewish
community who evacuated New Orleans and other Gulf communities. Those
from New Orleans should send their contact information to Community
Relations Council Director Adam Bronstone firstname.lastname@example.org
etc., should contact Richard Klein email@example.com
At times like these I am proud to lead a movement that is profoundly
committed to tzedaka and is eager to take action.
I look forward to speaking with you on Tuesday.