In response to the devastation wreaked on the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan, which hit land on Nov. 8, killing thousands and obliterating whole towns and villages, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles has set up the Philippines Typhoon Relief Fund.
Lord our God, we stood before You just a week ago to receive the Ten Statements of Your Torah. We stood, as though with our ancestors, and listened to the Torah reader chant descriptions of the smoking mountain, the thunderous rumbling, and the long-awaited voice of God.
The U.S. House of Representatives easily passed legislation that makes clearer the eligibility of religious institutions for disaster relief.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Monday to offer condolences for those killed in a devastating earthquake and said the Jewish state was ready to help, officials of both countries said.
Rescuers clawed through rubble on Monday to free people trapped by a powerful earthquake that killed at least 264 people and wounded more than 1,000 in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey.
Turkey has rejected all international aid, including an Israeli offer, in the wake of a strong earthquake that collapsed buildings and left hundreds dead.
Turkey has not yet made any call for international assistance after Sunday's powerful earthquake in which many people were feared killed, a Foreign Ministry official said.
Israel has offered to send aid to Turkey following a strong earthquake that has collapsed buildings and reportedly left hundreds dead.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with CNN that Israel is reconsidering its plans for a nuclear energy facility in light of what happened in Japan. The interview is set to be aired later on Thursday.
Almost as soon as the catastrophe in Japan began unfolding last Friday, Jewish groups scrambled to figure out how to get help to the area. In Israel, search-and-rescue organizations like ZAKA and IsraAid readied teams to head to the Japanese devastation zone. In Tokyo, the Chabad center took an accounting of local Jews and began organizing a shipment of aid to stricken cities to the north. In the United States, aid organizations ranging from B’nai B’rith International to local and national federation agencies launched campaigns to collect money for rescue, relief and rebuilding efforts in the Pacific.
"I wanted the movie to be a catharsis," says Andrea Berloff, the screenwriter of "World Trade Center," the Oliver Stone-directed docudrama that opens Aug. 9. "I've felt that way from the beginning." The film is a surprising coup for the young writer, a soft-spoken graduate of Cornell's Drama School, who has never before had a script produced.
If having her script produced is a coup for Berloff, the completed film is likely to be greeted with hailstorms of discourse, not least because it seems the current spate of 9/11 movies is a reminder that films have become a primary way for Americans to digest difficult and painful events.
A 42-year-old Apache pilot, Zvika rose to the rank of colonel in the Israeli Air Force. He was, according to his peers, "professional and talented," and he did his job with diligence and dedication. Since he had enlisted in the air force at the age of 18, he was due to retire in a year.
Some 50 South Indian villagers are spread out along the sandy beach. Women clad in brightly colored saris converse in groups, while men repair fishing nets. Teenage boys playfully tackle each other.
Then, the residents of Vellakoil get some news from fellow clansmen: Dangerous weather is on the way.
A year ago, when the tsunami hit, 19 died in this village of less than 500; 14 were children. And everyone's house and belongings were washed away.
This time, they are ready.
It was hard to be in Los Angeles in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, perhaps the biggest natural disaster in our history. I had some previous Red Cross training, and, with some additional fast-track prep on disaster response, I was on my way to Louisiana -- first by plane to Houston, then by car to Baton Rouge.
Lodging on one of the first nights was the floor of a church gymnasium. At times, I felt like I was part of a sad "Amazing Race," hurrying throughout Louisiana to provide some assistance to some of Katrina's victims.
President Bush and Congress talk a good game when it comes to homeland security, but the tragic truth is that the country is less able to cope with disasters than before Sept. 11, 2001. The proof is on the flood-ravaged streets of New Orleans, where an unprecedented natural disaster quickly produced violent anarchy and a flaccid government response that multiplied the suffering.
For all the money thrown at preparing for massive terror attacks and other disasters, the new Department of Homeland Security looked more like a Third World bureaucracy, as armed gangs roamed the city and people died for lack of food, water, sanitation and medical supplies.
In New Orleans, the Jews are the only ones buried in the ground. Others, if their mourners have any means at all, are laid with the expectation of eternal rest in stone crypts to protect them from rising waters. My mother used to say, "Someday, we Jews'll all be floatin' down the river."
Just as in California, where we know that one day "the big one" will come, in New Orleans, we knew that someday the water would overtake us. But the denial overtakes the wisdom, and we stay and build lives. I think of Pompeii. New Orleans was so beautiful.
Stepping up to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina, Jewish day schools opened their doors to evacuees, families welcomed strangers into their homes, Jewish rescue squads searched through the storm's wreckage and Jewish organizations raised millions of dollars for those whose lives were turned topsy-turvy by the deadly storm.
Houston has quickly become a major haven for victims who have been left, for the moment at least, without homes. The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston quickly jumped into action to aid the beleaguered evacuees, Jew and non-Jew alike.
The contrast was just too much. On one channel, I watched as tens of thousands of people struggled to survive the devastating impact of the tsunami that left more than 250,000 dead and countless others injured and homeless, and on another channel, presenters at last month's Golden Globe Awards leaving the ceremonies with their "travel-themed" gift baskets worth $37,890 each.
What You Can Do.