I recently got back from an incredible trip to Florida. Although the weather left something to be desired (it was 95 degrees with 100% humidity), I enjoyed every moment. I was able to spend the High Holidays with my sisters, visit with friends, and relax.

Prior to my trip, I checked the weather forecast. At that time, there were three tropical storms brewing. As someone who lived in Florida for many years, this wasn’t an uncommon site. This time of year is known as hurricane season, and I am used to seeing storms in the weather forecast.

Throughout the years, Tampa has been spared from ruin. Many of the storms never materialized or made landfall. Other storms left minimal damage. I am reminded of the summer of 2004 when four hurricanes (from category one to category three) hit Tampa. It was scary, not knowing how much destruction the storms would leave in their wake. Thank goodness we were spared and left with little more than light flooding and power outages.

So you can imagine my sorrow when I read about Hurricane Florence and the devastation it caused in North Carolina and South Carolina. Sadly, people lost their lives. Many homes are uninhabitable. Businesses, schools and several synagogues sustained significant damage. People lost pets, personal belongings, and family heirlooms.

Flooding destroys so much. It can take months (and even years) for victims to recover. I can only imagine what it must be like for the thousands of people faced with the monumental task of cleaning up what is left. When all seems lost, organizations like the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) are there to help.

JFNA has been in contact with the six Federations and twenty-two network communities throughout the Carolinas. They are working closely with partner agencies to share information and connect them with local contacts and resources among the communities. In addition, the Atlanta Federation has mobilized to provide refuge for those who have been evacuated, and is gathering relief supplies.

JFNA’s relief funds will focus primarily on immediate relief needs. The funds will then be used to help with longer-term recovery needs such as trauma support, case management and financial assistance.

I am heartened to know that Federations are working day and night to act as a beacon of light in the midst of this dark time. We can all make a difference. If you would like to make a donation to JFNA’s Hurricane Relief Fund 2018, please click here. Imagine the impact we can make if we all donate $18. Please join me in helping the Carolinas recover from Hurricane Florence.




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