2017-10-11 / Editorial

The Jewish community should be proud of disaster response

There have been dozens of accounts of Jewish communities locally, nationally and worldwide rallying to help victims of recent tragedies, both man-made and natural. Tallied together, the need seems overwhelming but the Jewish reaction comforting.

The Jewish community, like many in America, have responded in the form of first responders, monetary donations and prayer services following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The latest priority has become aid in the aftermath of the horrific Las Vegas mass shooting earlier this month.

Efforts have included special services held at two Las Vegas synagogues, help on the ground as well as well as a GoFundMe page for a Jewish woman injured in the shooting that took the lives of at least 58 people and injured more than 500 during a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip.

Chabad Rabbi Mendy Harlig, a chaplain with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, told Chabad.org that he spent time at a local hospital with the husband and mother-in-law of Natalie Grumet, a Jewish California resident injured in the shooting. The GoFundMe page to help Grumet return to California for further treatment had surpassed its $50,000 goal not long after it was established.

Todd Polikoff, president and CEO of Jewish Nevada, the state’s Jewish community federation, told The Times of Israel that his staff brought supplies to the blood service sites and sent food to the trauma center. But he knows the need is long-term.

“Once the physical wounds heal, there are going to be a lot of people who need a lot of care dealing with this in a mental way,” Polikoff said.

Yes, the devastation left in the path of both man-made and natural disasters is overwhelming — and yet we know the Jewish community can be counted on to help our own and others. 

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