October 2, 2022

The Important Work Continues

Dov Ben-Shimon Federation CEO

The beginning of the new year was marked, unfortunately, by tragedy and destruction in Florida as the mammoth, 140-mile-wide Hurricane Ian slammed into the Sunshine State, leaving millions of residents without power and/or water and untold billions of dollars in property damage, as well as threatening coastal communities in Georgia and South Carolina. While a number of Florida communities were severely impacted, the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Naples, were the hardest hit.Our national Jewish Federations’ Emergency Committee, a volunteer body that allocates emergency funds to address disaster relief, made grants from our limited national reserves. You can join us in supporting these efforts through clicking on the dedicated national mailbox.Federations were also eager to help with scores of volunteers going in to help with initial cleanup. To assist with the first Shabbat, the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County sent 1,000 meals to help communities on the west coast of the state. We’ll keep watching the situation and see what we can do and send from here, too.As the situation grows increasingly dire for Jews in Russia, we are working with our partners in the region to expedite emigration, including through Aliyah, for as many people as possible, especially males of military age who are facing conscription into the Russian army. See this article on Aliyah from Russia, including the note that there are only seven flights a week from Israel to Moscow and from Moscow to Israel. Also this article on Putin’s call to Russia’s Jews, and this article on antisemitism in Russian media.Earlier this week, Jewish Federations participated in the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health. The Administration’s recently announced National Strategy to address the problem of hunger in America incorporates a number of recommendations from Jewish Federations like Greater MetroWest, including increasing funding for Meals on Wheels, making kosher food more available in food banks and pantries, and focusing on nutrition as a major determinant of health and wellness in working with hospitals, health plans, and other providers.The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also released a new National Strategy, incorporating recommendations provided by Jewish Federations’ Center on Holocaust Survivor Care and Institute on Aging and Trauma that highlight the impact of trauma on the caregiving experience. The strategy also cites Federations’ brief, Supporting Family Caregivers of Older Adults with a History of Trauma, and endorses practices developed by Jewish Federations to mitigate these impacts.May you, and your loved ones, be inscribed in the Book of Life for a sweet, healthy, and happy new year.