John Ruskay, the former CEO of UJA/Federation of New York was quoted many times regarding his organization’s readiness during a time of unspeakable tragedy. “We were ready on September 11, because we were prepared on September 10.” While it is sad that since that horrible day in 2001, Federations across North America have had to demonstrate their own readiness, thank goodness they always step up and spring into action.
Last week, I reported how quickly Broward County Jewish Federation began helping victims of the Parkland tragedy and their families. Here are just some of the things they are doing:
- Coordinating actively with area clergy, as well as teen and youth workers. This has included being a supportive resource to synagogues, Chabad and youth groups through the placement of mental health professionals at vigils, services and throughout their daily operations.
- With support from the Israeli government, the Israel Trauma Coalition is bringing a team this week to work with the city, schools, and clergy in the area.
- The Federation has supported the local Jewish Family Service to open a satellite office in the Parkland area, which is opening imminently. This was already planned, but is being accelerated in response to the situation.
- The Federation has also engaged a new professional outreach worker to be based in Parkland to focus in a broader way on building community in this under-resourced suburban area. This resource is focused now on providing ongoing support and training for advocacy activities, including providing a Jewish context.
- Federation is organizing hundreds of volunteers to assemble and distribute Purim care packages.
The notion of all Israel being responsible for one another is a code we live by here at Federation. To that end, Minneapolis Jewish Federation has made a grant to Broward County Federation’s fund to support the work mentioned above. This grant is made possible by donors who have given us funds to be used in circumstances like this. We are grateful to them. If you would like to donate to Broward’s work, click here.
As we light Shabbat candles tonight, I hope their glow helps those in need of comfort, even if only for a moment.