NEW YORK, Dec. 5, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While a massive forest fire of "unprecedented" proportions in Israel seemed nearly under control Sunday, The Jewish Federations of North America and their overseas partners continued a continental mobilization to help respond and rebuild.
"On behalf of the Jewish Federation movement, we extend our deepest sympathies to the families of those who have lost loved ones and ensure our unwavering support to those who are working tirelessly to recover from this terrible crisis," said Jerry Silverman, president and CEO of The Jewish Federations of North America. "Our movement is acting in a very focused and timely manner to help support the victims of this disaster, in collaboration with the Government of Israel and our overseas partners."
When the fires ignited, The Jewish Federations of North America quickly gathered its leadership and that of its partner agencies in Israel. JFNA's top professionals and volunteers convened in a series of emergency sessions to gather emerging details on the crisis, assess the needs on the ground and determine a strategy to harness the power of the 157 Jewish Federations across North America to respond quickly and effectively.
On Friday Jewish Federations held a teleconference with Israel's Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, to hear the latest on the situation, while JFNA's Israel office is coordinating with Israeli government officials on the response.
JFNA is closely working with its partners on the scene, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Jewish Agency for Israel, as well as with the Israel Trauma Coalition, World ORT and others, to monitor developments, assess and respond to emergency needs, and begin planning for more long-term recovery.
The JDC, for example, helped provide services for children and seniors who were evacuated, while the Jewish Agency set up special day camps for children evacuated from the fires.
To support this response, many Jewish Federations and JFNA have opened mailboxes to raise money to help Jewish Federations respond. Those who wish to support the firefighting relief effort can donate to a special JFNA emergency fund. Checks should be sent to the Israel Forest Fire Disaster Relief Fund, and made payable to The Jewish Federations of North America, care of: Wall Street Station, PO Box 148, New York, NY 10268. Funds can also be donated online at this dedicated page.
JFNA also created this special information resource page on the crisis, which includes information on how to donate via your mobile device, as well as news stories and other resources, which will be updated regularly.
"We are working to ensure that our movement can make its collective impact in the most effective manner possible, by coordinating and marshalling our support and targeting our resources," said Kathy Manning, chair of the Board of Trustees of The Jewish Federations of North America.
The Jewish Federation movement is the largest Jewish philanthropy collective in the world and The Jewish Federations of North America is dedicated to promoting awareness and involvement among the Jewish community in the United States and Canada.
SOURCE Jewish Federations of North America