Help for Houston

by Rabbi Audrey Pollack, September 1, 2017

Like all of you, I have been watching the tragic events unfolding in Houston and throughout the Gulf of Mexico with increasing horror. The visuals of families in crisis, flood waters swallowing up large swaths of cities and utter devastation are difficult to watch. We are all thinking about ways to show our concern and help those who are affected by Hurricane Harvey.

We are also hearing that the neighbourhoods where much of the Jewish community of Houston live has been very hard hit. Many synagogues and members are facing catastrophic losses. Homes are destroyed. Property has been lost. The sense of hopelessness they are feeling is palpable.

Here are several links where you can donate funds to help the people of Houston rebuild and begin the process of creating new lives in the wake of the storm. These organizations have created special funds for helping those in need. Of course, there are many other worthwhile efforts and organizations to which you can contribute.

Congregation Beth Israel (5600 N. Braeswood Blvd, Houston, 77096) is collecting gift cards to assist in meeting immediate needs and expenses for replenishing clothing, toiletries, household items, school supplies for children, etc. They will be distributing them at once to area residents and congregants. You may send gift cards or donate directly to the rabbis’ discretionary fund

URJ Greene Family Camp in Bruceville, TX, has opened its doors for anyone who needs a place to stay. Camp will be open and providing housing, meals, and some programing for an indefinite period of time. To donate to the URJ to support evacuation housing at Greene Family Camp:

In partnership with Reform congregations in Houston and the JCC, URJ Greene Family camp is opening a day camp program in Houston for anyone in the community in need of childcare while taking care of their lives or helping the lives of others in the wake of Hurricane Harvey – Hurricane Harvey Houston Day Camp. The program will take place at Congregation Emanu El (1500 Sunset Boulevard. Houston, Texas 77005) beginning on Thursday, August 31st, open to children potty-trained through middle school. The day will run from 8 AM until 5 PM and includes 3 meals a day for all campers and their families. More info and to donate:

Rabbi Amy Weiss started Undies for Everyone in Houston in 2008 when, amidst countless holiday toy drives, a social worker expressed to her the need that disadvantaged youth had for underwear. Even though her house has sustained serious damage she is at the Convention Center distributing underwear.

The Houston Jewish Federation has set up a page for donations for immediate Hurricane Harvey relief:

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