For most of those in the path of Superstorm Sandy, the high winds and surging tides meant a grim but tolerable inconvenience. Dark houses, long gas lines, closed schools, and rotting food left a community at wit’s end.
But for all too many people in our state and beyond, the storm was something much worse. With their houses and businesses swept off their foundations, many on the fabled Jersey Shore hardly knew what to do next. Seniors felt trapped in their homes, worried about the medical equipment and medications that sustain them. Adults and children with special needs were left confused by the break in their routines, and the new challenges that awaited them as hours without electricity turned into days.
It is at times like these that a community proves it is really a community. In the wake of Sandy, local Jewish communal institutions dealt with their own storm damage. The Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ and its partner agencies were left without power. Phones were down. Communication was limited.
And yet thanks to the efforts of volunteers and professionals, the community is living up to its responsibilities. Senior and other vulnerable populations at Daughters of Israel, Jewish Community Housing Corporation, JESPY House, and JSDD were kept safe under difficult circumstances. The Jewish Family Service of Central NJ and Jewish Family Service of MetroWest set up phone lines to assist those in crisis.
And with the help of the Jewish Federations of North America, the federation set up an emergency mailbox, the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund (www.jfedgmw.org). Funds raised will be used to provide aid to agencies that assist affected communities and others impacted by this disaster, including the frail and isolated.
According to the Talmud, “When the community is in trouble, a person should not say, ‘I will go to my house and I will eat and drink and be at peace with myself.’” (Ta’anit 11a) Instead, people should ask what they can do for a neighbor, mourn the losses felt by others, and reach out to those in need of healing.
To find out ways you can help, or to find the help or emergency assistance you may need, click here.
Together we will meet this challenge and emerge an even stronger community.