Shefa & JFJustice Launch Katrina Relief Fund

Fresh from the inbox:

The first blast of the shofar came early this year.
One week before the beginning of Elul, the Hebrew calendar’s month of prayer, introspection, and repentance, Hurricane Katrina blew into the Delta.
Watching the human suffering, we felt shock, horror, sadness. Watching the failed response from Washington, we felt the same.
Maimonides explains the custom of blowing the shofar during Elul as a tool to rouse us from our complacency.
After Katrina, we are not complacent.
But how should we respond? As a nation; as Americans; as Jews?
Donations to house, feed, and clothes those impacted are vital. And victims of Katrina, particular those without means, deserve more than the basic necessities.
They deserve Chesed (Loving Kindness). And they deserve Tzedec (Justice).
Over the coming months and years, we are committed to leading a Jewish response to the injustices suffered by those without income and influence. To that end, Jewish Fund for Justice (JFJ) and The Shefa Fund, two national Jewish 501(c)3 non-profit organizations dedicated to anti-poverty and low income community development, have established a joint JFJ/Shefa Hurricane Katrina Relief and Redevelopment Project.
As a first step, we have created a Fund and will soon expand to include other efforts to engage Jews in support for low-income residents suffering from Katrina. The Fund, administered by The Shefa Fund, will provide immediate assistance to Katrina victims. It will also invest in the long-term redevelopment needs of affected low income residents.
In addition to the Fund, JFJ and Shefa are committed to leading a long-term response to address the injustices at the center of the Katrina tragedy. We will collaborate with all others seeking to bring justice to the Delta.
Our approach acknowledges this reality: All communities in Katrina’s path suffered. But they did not suffer equally. Low income communities in the Delta were neglected before, during, and immediately following the hurricane. Those who had little before Katrina now have nothing. We have created this project to acknowledge that reality and to help focus some Jewish giving on the long-term redevelopment needs of the disaster’s most neglected victims.
This fund represents a continuation of work The Shefa Fund has been doing for years. While the devastation is unparalleled in scope, The Shefa Fund has considerable experience targeting Jewish giving to help low income communities.
The first local group to receive support from the fund is the Jackson, MS-based Enterprise Corporation of the Delta (ECD), a local community development financial institution (CDFI), and its New Orleans-based Hope Community Credit Union (HOPE). ECD/HOPE has twelve years of experience in strengthening distressed areas to help residents rebuild their lives, homes, businesses and communities.
To distribute these and other funds, EDC/HOPE has set up the ECD Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. They describe their giving strategy as focused first on “community partners who are providing food, clothing and shelter” for those displaced, before shifting to support “payment deferrals, provide down payment assistance, establish loss reserves, and otherwise extend a bridge to those recovering from this tragedy.”
We will continue to work with and support community-based partners in the region uniquely positioned to address unmet of low income residents; groups that have earned the trust of their communities.
When you contribute to the relief effort, consider sending the message that chesed, without tzedec, is not enough.
Thank you,
Simon Greer
Executive Director
Jewish Fund for Justice
Jeffrey Dekro
The Shefa Fund

Contributions to the fund can be made by visiting www.shefafund.org. Additional information about the JFJ/Shefa Hurricane Katrina Relief and Redevelopment Project, including ways for you to get involved, will be available on The Shefa Fund website and at www.jfjustice.org, or by contacting Mik Moore at mik [at] jfjustice [dot] org.

8 thoughts on “Shefa & JFJustice Launch Katrina Relief Fund

  1. watching a so called charitable group combine a plea for funds with an attack on politicians should set off every alarm about what those funds are actually going to be used for. i suggest ignoring this organization of dubius motives and contributing to established charitable groups to make sure your money is really going to the victims of katrina: salvation army, chabad, etc.

  2. oh no avi, we shouldn’t hold the people responsible for the “2nd disaster” responsible … let’s not bring it up at all. has it dawned on you that these people are in dire straits and need help because their government failed to respond?

  3. when i want to deal with helping the distressed i choose an organization whose sole charitable motive is to help, not to promote a political agenda. when i want to deal with the politics of a situation, i go to those i trust on the political front

  4. pat robertson is a venal human being and should be vilified whenever possible. but in the words of the torah (its a very obscure section), two wrongs don’t make a right.

  5. you know, folks who have an axe to grind about organizations, politicians and whoever else can feel free to donate their money wherever they like. i hope that they do so instead of just excoriating everyone else for whatever avenue they choose to follow. actions speak louder than words people, just send your 36 bucks somewhere okay?

  6. Give it a rest, Sarah. People can walk and chew gum at the same time.
    Likewise, we can get our money, time, talent and extra stuff to where it can do some good, AND we should hold our leaders accountable for the promises they make and break. President Bush and Republican Senate and Congressional leaders rose to power claiming that they can keep us all safe and secure. With our checkbooks open and our mouths shut as you wish, we better all get used to watching our efforts squandered in an orgy of privatization and cronyism.

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