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September 04, 2005

Long-Term Assistance

Even though my family is from Newport News, Virginia, I never really understood the unique nature of the experience of Jews in the south until reading Eli Evans's The Provincials.

So I've had a soft spot for the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience. Now, the museum is planning to turn its extensive knowledge of the remaining Southern Jewish communities toward post-Katrina rebuilding efforts:

The Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL) has been inundated with calls and emails from congregations and individuals from around the country asking what they can do, how can they help, etc. As can be seen by the national news accounts the relief effort has not fully taken shape yet due to the immensity of the disaster and the inability of the agencies to actually assess the next steps. As the Institute is regionally based and physically located in Jackson, Mississippi we are well positioned to help channel funds directly to our communities in need.

To that end, the Institute has established the:

Institute of Southern Jewish Life – Katrina Relief Fund.

The various communities of faith are and have established funds to administer through their own churches. We will do the same but, of course, the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam certainly comes into play here with a percentage of the contributions that flow in being allocated to secular agencies as well. Funds will be segregated from the normal flow of dollars and contributions to the ISJL. Obviously the accounting will be transparent and no fees will go to the ISJL. Again, no administrative fees will be assessed insuring 100% of dollars raised going to the effort.

ISJL is a 501(c)3; therefore, all funds are fully deductible to the fullest extent of the law. We are grounded within the impacted region and we have contact with the Jewish communities that are in need The process would be to work through the communities’ rabbinic, lay, and where present, agency leadership for humanitarian needs first and then assistance with rebuilding if applicable of Synagogues that may have been damaged.

This tragedy is of indescribable magnitude. The ISJL will be a force in the recovery and serve as a major conduit of funds in and out from around the country and abroad. National agencies will be seeking local contacts for the dispersement of those funds raised on their part. Due to our strategic geographic location and contacts throughout the United States we gladly take on this role of assistance. We are proud of our ability to serve in this very difficult time for all of us.

Our hearts and prayers go to all of those affected and whose lives are forever changed by this natural disaster.

Macy B. Hart
Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life
P. O. Box 16528
Jackson, MS 39236
Phone 601/362-6357
Fax 601/366-6293

Sounds like a good idea to me.

Posted by joshuasharf at September 4, 2005 12:08 AM | TrackBack

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