As of Aug. 17, the Jewish Federations of North America has allocated $249,000 that it raised from 120 Jewish communities nationwide as part of its emergency Hawaii Wildfire Fund.
The funds will go to Maui Kosher Farm, Jewish Congregation of Maui, Maui Jewish Ohana, Chabad of Maui and Jewish Community Services of Hawaii, JFNA stated in a release.
“The devastation in Maui is immeasurable, but we continue to be inspired by our partners on the ground that have responded with so much care, compassion and professionalism to the needs of the Jewish community and broader population,” stated Wendy Abrams, chair of the Federations emergency committee.
“When there is a natural disaster or crisis anywhere in the world, the local Jewish community steps up in the most remarkable of ways,” Abrams added. “It is the duty and also the privilege of our Jewish Federation system to support these efforts and provide the necessary resources to enable this life-sustaining work.”
Hawaiian officials have confirmed 111 deaths as a result of last week’s deadly fire in Maui. With many remaining unaccounted for, that number is expected to rise.
It is hard to know how many Jews the fire has impacted, according to Ellyn Mortimer, one of the leaders at Maui Jewish ‘Ohana, a “progressive home for joyful and meaningful Jewish life on Maui.” (‘Ohana is Hawaiian for “family.”)
Members of the Hawaiian Jewish community have lost homes and businesses, according to Mortimer, who told JNS that some, including she, had to relocate since their water at home is unsafe for even bathing and laundry, or due to physical damage to residences.
“We don’t know everyone’s immediate and long-term needs until they come to us, but the more resources the organizations have, the better we can serve the physical, emotional and spiritual needs as they arise,” she told JNS.
Members of the Jewish community are likely to seek help from Jewish organizations on the ground, which is why funding from the greater Jewish community is vital, according to Mortimer.
“We are their family,” she said. “They will come to us for help.”