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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Oklahoma City’

Chabad Continues Relief Efforts in Oklahoma

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

With a wide swath of suburban Oklahoma City destroyed, and the need for food and basic living supplies growing, The Chabad Community Center of Southern Oklahoma continued its efforts to assist those devastated by the tornado that sped through parts of Oklahoma City and its suburbs Monday afternoon, leaving 24 dead, nine of them children. Nearly 250 people have been reported injured.

In a blog item on the Chabad disaster relief web site, Rabbi Ovadia Goldman, co-director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Oklahoma City, posted a report at 1 AM Wednesday, following two days of nonstop efforts by the Chabad staff and three young rabbinic interns who are part of the Glenna and Richard Tanenbaum Rabbinic Internship Program.

Goldman said that even with so many homes and businesses in ruins, a modicum of hope lay in the extent of the relief efforts themselves: “It’s been exhausting, emotionally draining, but in so many ways heart-warming.”

He went on to describe the extent of aid offered, noting that they opened their Chabad center early in the morning for those who wanted to drop off supply items before going to work, and that people have come by the past few days bringing basic supplies.

“We’re organizing 20,000 pounds of meat products and 1,000 pounds of cheese product to come from kosher companies,” he wrote. “We’ve been in close contact with state and local government officials, as well as relief agencies, to help coordinate shipments and let them know what companies from out of state are willing to donate.”

Goldman also praised the work of the interns there—Berel Kesselman, Mendy Grossbaum and Mendel Misholovin: “they left the center early to provide direct assistance and counseling, and to help with the delivery of basic supplies in the affected neighborhoods.”

The interns offered a synopsis of their own efforts, saying they visited some of the shelters and also met with families they had gotten to know during the High Holidays. They felt that people were uplifted by their presence and relished the opportunity to talk about what they experienced.

According to notes jotted down after a long day’s work, “we canvassed the most devastated areas in Moore. Here the need for emotional uplift and support is huge. Asking what would be needs, etc. Stopped to help out with ‘shlepping’ debris (although this was not our primary focus). Let everyone know of the shelter at Chabad.”

“These people are devastated. In the pictures, you can see a woman near her home and staircase; that’s how she survived, underneath that staircase. What they need immediately and can really use: cash [and] store gift cards.”

The three young men summed up their feelings about this natural disaster: “It’s really given us a new perspective on what is truly important in life.”

Goldman agreed, and emphasized the extent of concern from throughout the United States. “The response has been overwhelming,” he said, adding that calls have come in from individuals and organizations in New York, Ohio, Iowa, Illinois and California—and even from abroad. And they have been accompanied with kind words and offers to help in any way they can.”

And that’s especially meaningful, he said, because “the community that was hit is facing some short-term real needs, and they’re going to be facing longer-term needs as well.”

The rabbi emphasized that 100 percent of all disaster-relief donations will be provided to those in need. “Members of our local community have come forward and will cover all the administrative costs for us, so that anyone wishing to help those struck by this disaster can know that everything they give goes to those afflicted.”

Goldman advised that that anyone interested in making a donation can do so at the Chabad disaster relief web site.

Chabad to the Rescue for Oklahoma Residents

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

The devastating tornado that struck just outside of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on Monday, May 20, had wind speeds of up to 200 mph, flattened entire neighborhoods and destroyed the Briarwood Elementary School.

Oklahoma City is home to only about 5000 Jews, very few of whom were directly affected by the devastation, but the Chabad of Oklahoma City immediately sprang into action to provide any and all assistance to those in need.

“The Oklahoma City community is very friendly towards Jews and incredibly supportive of Eretz Yisrael,” Rabbi Ovadia Goldman told The Jewish Press Tuesday morning, “and that is why we are especially committed to doing everything we can to help, we want there to be a noticeable response from our community.”

The Chabad has offered an array of help to those in need, including offers of shelter, monetary assistance, cell phones, food and clothing.

In addition, three rabbinic interns spent hours on Tuesday working with local law enforcement officers who are searching for missing people and for salvageable items.

“Obviously our inspiration comes from the Rebbe (Rabbi Schneerson), who always said we must be good not only to Jews but to the entire world, but it is especially important to us to show how much we appreciate the love and support of the larger community which has been hit by this disaster,” Rabbi Goldman told The Jewish Press on Tuesday morning. “This is our turn to give back.”

Rabbi Goldman and his wife Nechama have been in Oklahoma City for 16 years.  They truly feel blessed to be in a place where the Christian community has been consistently supportive.

“They aren’t looking for anything in return,” Rabbi Goldman said, “they just truly believe that whomever blesses those whom HaShem blesses, will be blessed by HaShem.”

The rabbi and his staff are working not only with law enforcement professionals, but with many other local organizations to help coordinate and to provide relief for those in need.

“We’re working with the Red Cross, with the Oklahoma City food banks, with other religious organizations as well as non-denominational ones,” Rabbi Goldman told The Jewish Press.

“We are letting people know that our facility is very capable of providing shelter to families with young children, to the healthy elderly, whoever needs a place to stay.”

He said in addition to monetary resources, the community would benefit immensely from prayer – for those who were lost, those injured, those who lost property and the first responders who pushed past downed power lines, through gas leaks and debris to go head-first onto the scene.

“It’s a time to act, it’s a time to do something,” Goldman said. “We’re here ready to help make sure the help people offer can have the greatest impact possible.”

Rabbi Goldman said that 100 percent of all disaster relief donations will be provided to those in need.

“Members of our local community have come forward and will cover all the administrative costs for us so that anyone wishing to help us help those struck by this disaster can know everything they give goes to those afflicted.”

Anyone interested in making a donation should contact the Oklahoma City Chabad at JewishOKC.com/relief.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/chabad-to-the-rescue-for-oklahomans/2013/05/21/

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