“Do not stand idly by while your neighbor’s blood is shed.”
Haiti and Afghanastan are just two of the latest crisis points capturing our attention. And while we are all dealing with the challenges presented by the current surge in the Delta variant, we still have a role to play in trying to help bring healing and wholeness to an evermore fractured world. My colleagues and I have received inquiries about how our community might help. While we will be offering special prayers for both communities at services tomorrow night, we know that thoughts and prayers alone do not help those who are suffering. For that reason, I wanted to use this week’s Shabbat message to offer a few options we can take now.
Once again, the island nation of Haiti has been devastated by an earthquake. Over 1400 people are known to have died and thousands more are injured and homeless.
The JCRC- The Jewish Community Relations Council has created an excellent resource for those who want to help.
The following organizations are currently accepting donations:
Ayiti Community Trust: Ayiti Community Trust’s (ACT) mission is to support and sustain development innovation in Ayiti in the areas of civic education, environment, and entrepreneurship. ACT will ensure that the contributions are channeled to local Haitian-led organizations in Ayiti.
CapraCare Haiti: CapraCare Haiti’s mission is to provide access to medical care, mental health, health education, and professional development services, regardless of the ability to pay.
IsraAid Emergency Response Fund : IsraAID is deploying an emergency response team, including Haitian former staff members, to distribute relief items and assess needs in the affected area. We are glad that Israel has once again sent a team to aid in the response.
Joint Distribution Committee Haiti Earthquake Relief : JDC has activated its emergency response team, along with its longstanding network of local partners, to deliver emergency aid.
Met Council Haiti Emergency Relief Fund : Met Council is lending its expertise, resources, and support to help Haitians impacted by the earthquake.
In addition, JCRC-NY is planning a special Community Relations Corner webcast featuring leaders of the New York Haitian community to share information and perspective. To learn more please click here
Events unfolding in Afghanistan are heartbreaking. Even as this crisis continues to unfold it is already clear that there will be refugees from that war-torn nation coming to the US for asylum. They will come here with nothing. Two organizations working to offer support are:
HIAS : Welcoming the Stranger Protect the Refugee: is already working to help those fleeing the violence.
Women for Women International : Helping women survivors of war and conflict rebuild their lives: is working to help Afghan women whose future looks challenging at best.
In addition, these two articles offer some insight into other ways we can help.
Help Afghanistan: What do Afghans need now?
How can I help Afghanistan?
I/we will update this list as we receive more information.
In Pirke Avot we are taught- “If I am not for myself, who will be for me
BUT if I am only for myself, what am I?”
Our ancestors understood that there are times when we are challenged to strike the right balance between care for ourselves/family/community and concern for others. But they wanted us to understand, it is never an either/or. Many of us are focused on, and worried about, our families and our community due to the rise of the Delta variant. But our obligations to help the stranger is no less important simply because we face challenges. I hope this list, and additional resources we will be sharing in the coming days are helpful.
Rabbi Daniel Cohen