Israel Needs Your Help: Forest Fire Devastates Haifa

December 3, 2010

Israel needs your help. The worst fire in the nation’s history erupted yesterday from the forests of the Carmel in Haifa.

International aid from Britain, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Greece was offered almost immediately to help quench the flames as Israel’s resources were quickly depleted.

As of early Friday morning, Friends of Israel’s Fire Fighters updated:

More than 15,000 residents evacuated, flames near Haifa. Mass evacuation continues into night as fire ranges in northern Israel, thousands of Haifa residents ordered to leave homes. At least 40 dead; casualty information center reopens for first time since Second Lebanon War.

Here’s How You Can Help

Jewish National Fund (JNF)

The Jewish National Fund has established a Forest Fire Emergency Campaign.

Here’s how your donations can help- and keep in mind here how many of our physical resources were lost in the fire and that Israeli firefighting sources will need extensive funds to recuperate from the loss of equipment:

  • $100- Hose
  • $500- Helmet
  • $1,000- Hose Nozzle
  • $5,000- Masks and Tanks
  • $7,500- Camera
  • $10,000- Equipment
  • $50,000- ARV
  • $125,000- Fire Truck

The JNF has also organized an international conference call on Friday, December 3rd for 12:00 EST with CEO Russell Robinson and several of their chief executive officers, as well as Shimon Romach, Chief of the Israel Firefighters, and Tim Tidewell, US Chief of the Forest Service. Click here to register and log-in information will be sent to you.

Note also JNF’s projects to Help Alleviate Israel’s Water CrisisForest Management and Fire Prevention, and Friends of Israel’s Fire Fighters. You can learn more about them here.

— Keep Reading: Magen David Adom (Israeli Red Cross), JGooders, Role of Social Media in Breaking News —

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Jewish Groups Aid in California Wildfire Recovery Efforts: You Can Help Too

October 25, 2007

CaliWildfire NASA

Jewish Groups Established Funds to Aid Fire Recovery

In light of California’s devastating wildfires over the past week, which evacuated up to a million people, Jewish organizations are establishing funds to help assist survivors repair their lives.

You can help.

Make a Donation: 4 Ways to Help

UJC WildfireRelief

1. The United Jewish Federation of San Diego County has established the Jewish Community Disaster Fund to provide assistance for Jewish families and communal structures hurt or suffering from the fires. Click here to donate.

2. The United Jewish Communities have set up a Western Wildfire Relief Fund to help all survivors of the fire. The funds will aid first responders and help social service organizations deal with the immediate and longer term ramifications of the crisis. Click here to donate.

3. The Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, in coordination with the UJC, has added donation information on their website for the Southern California Fire Response 2007. The Federation will partner with Jewish Family and Children’s Services to coordinate their response to help all of the fire’s survivors. Click here to donate.

4. Hillel is updating their site regularly on the state on the fire’s effects to the Jewish and non-Jewish community. Hillel students are organizing volunteer efforts for displace families as well as locating local synagogues for families whose homes have been destroyed. Funds will go to support these efforts. Click here to donate.

One hundred percent of donations will go to those in need in San Diego and Los Angeles. No overhead will be deducted.

NOTE: I am updating this post with giving options as soon as I receive them. Expect more in the days to come.

Lives Affected

It is hard for me to think of any one group when the fire destroyed so many lives, but I will note the JTA’s Jewish numbers for your reference:

  • San Diego, the hardest hit, has a Jewish population of 100,000
  • 14 fires ravaged the San Diego area
  • La Jolla’s Lawrence Family Jewish community center was evacuated
  • 40 synagogues in San Diego were in fire zones, likely exposed to significant damage; 2 were fully evacuated
  • The Los Angeles Jewish community, estimated at 550,000, as well as those in Orange County are thought to be safe from harm’s way. No damage has been reported from their 37 synagogues or three day schools

My Heart Goes Out
My heart goes out to everyone exposed to this inferno. It is hard for me to contemplate the reality of such heat or light and its impact on people’s lives. Likewise, I was in Israel when Katrina happened. I will continue reading the news and listening to my friends’ experiences.

Photographs To Help Us Understand

These 10 photographs helped me understand more than any what it is like in Southern California right now.


Wall of Flames– Photo by Wally Skalij, October 24th: East Grade Road, Palomar Mountain


Birds’ Eye View– Photo by “jwlchr:” near Foothill Ranch

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Week in Review: Top 7 Jewish Philanthropy Highlights

August 16, 2007


Don’t have time to keep up on Jewish and Israeli philanthropy news from around the world? Let me be your one stop for this week’s highlights.

1. Sheldon Adelson pledges $30 million more to Birthright Israel totaling $60 million this year.

2. Bat Mitzvah girl Samantha Resnick donates $100,000 to the Jewish National Fund to build a playground for special needs children.

3. Margot Freudenberg, a Holocaust survivor who established a network of free residential cancer treatment centers, turned 100. Ad meah v’esreem!

4. Minnesotan Jewish organizations offer aid in bridge crisis: Jewish Family and Services of Minneapolis and the Jewish Community Relations Council provide free counseling for survivors, as well as victims’ families and responders.

5. Israeli opthamologists provide services and surgery to Sudanese and Ethiopian refugees in Kenyan camps through Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UN High Commission for Refugees

6. Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics marked a widening social gap, noting:

“A man’s workweek in 2006 was 45.4 hours long, while a woman’s was 34.8 hours long. On average, the men’s wages were 58% higher then the women’s, but considering the difference in the workweek, said the CBS, that gap was reduced to 20%.”

Click here for some apt commentary by

7. And of course, you already know about Larry Ellison’s donation of $500,000 to the residents of Sderot.

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Know Your Jewish Philanthropy: the Federations, the Joint, and the Jewish Agency

August 7, 2007

Prom Dress

As a Jewish fundraiser there are two major events of the year: the semi-formal and the prom. And by this, I mean the General Assembly of United Jewish Communities in Nashville in November and the Jewish Funders Network annual conference in Jerusalem in March.

Alas, my love has eyes for another.

The GA is too far for travel and the JFN conference is for donors only. Therefore, with my nose to the glass, I will eagerly await all media on these seasons highlights.

In the meantime, there are three pieces of critical knowledge about Jewish fundraising that you simply cannot live without. You must know the difference among the United Jewish Communities, the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and the Jewish Agency.

  • The United Jewish Communities (also known as the UJC or federation system) is the primary fundraiser for capital in the Jewish world. It is the largest Jewish organization in the world and typically raises $2 billion through its Annual Campaign.
  • The Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (also known as the JDC or “the Joint”) responds to and supports Jewish communities in crisis, as well as non-Jewish communities in times of catastrophe (natural disaster, etc)
  • The Jewish Agency for Israel (also known as JAFI or the Sachnut) does Israel and worldwide Jewish and Zionist education, as well as supporting immigrant absorption and major Israel programs

Hungry for more? Keep reading.

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