Jewish community rallies to help bushfires victims

January 7, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The president of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry Jillian Segal reports on the Australian Jewish community’s efforts to raise funds to assist those whose lives have been affected by the bushfires.

Jillian Segal

Jillian Segal said: “Like all Australians, Jewish Australians are utterly devastated by the destruction caused by these bushfires which are of an unprecedented scale and severity. The loss of life, property and wildlife, the displacement of thousands of people, the long-term ecological and health impacts from loss of habitat and dangerous air quality, the peril to and loss of life of our heroic volunteer fire-fighters and emergency services, is a national tragedy that we must all confront. We are grateful for all that the firefighters and emergency services men and women have done and we now need to assist in the rebuilding of devastated communities.

Our community has responded in a number of ways: business and community leaders have already raised millions of dollars to help those who have suffered the most; communal organisations have organised major appeals and synagogues have conducted prayer services to offer comfort and strength to those affected.

The ECAJ has been inundated with enquires from members of our community wanting to help as well as from Jewish communities around the world. We urge every member of our community to help in any way that they can but most organisations on the ground are asking for funds.

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies together with Stand Up has already raised $570,000 which will be disbursed shortly through Emergency Services and Vinnies. Given the increased and ongoing severity of the fires, the Board of Deputies will shortly be establishing a new campaign with Stand Up for further donations for dispersal to those affected in NSW. (Please make contact through Stand Up 03-95002206 or [email protected])

The campaign can be found here: https://www.standup.org.au/donation-secure/.

In Victoria, an organising group led by David Smorgon, Ruth Alter, Ian Davis and Fiona Geminder are coordinating a community fundraising campaign to assist fellow Victorians impacted by the fires. Funds raised will be consolidated with the assistance of the JCCV. Please contact the JCCV. An online campaign planned with Peretz Shapiro of Charidy will also be launched so that all members of the Victorian Jewish community can participate.

As reported previously, significant funds have already been donated in Victoria by community leaders.

Donors wishing to donate for bushfire relief in WA, ACT, QLD, TAS and SA may also be in touch with Stand Up who will be coordinating donations from the Jewish community in these States in addition to NSW, as well as international donors. They will work with emergency relief agencies on the ground who will distribute funds in each State.

We urge all members of the Jewish community who are able to give, to do so generously. This is the time to all work together for the benefit of the Australian community and the ECAJ is pleased that there has already been such a generous response.”

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