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May 4, 2010

The Jewish Federation of Nashville & Middle Tennessee has been supporting a range of local flood relief efforts since torrential rains inundated the Southeast this week, causing extensive damage in Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi, claiming 24 lives and leaving many homeless.

Steven J. Edelstein, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Nashville & Middle Tennessee, has been providing updates detailing the impact of the disaster and the rapid response by the Federation and its agencies.

Edelstein reported that the Gordon Jewish Community Center has become a vital shelter for those left homeless by the floodwaters. Jewish Family Services (JFS) in the area counted 19 families (41 people) who have experienced substantial or catastrophic damage to their homes and property –  and their numbers are expected to rise. JFS staffers are reaching out directly to the flooding victims, drawing from previous disaster experience and in consultation with the JFS in New Orleans. 

In addition, the Federation has made $88,000 available for relief purposes, using contingency and economic relief funds, while considering issuing loans and determining further needs. The Federation has also opened a mailbox for those who wish to contribute to the flood relief effort, at

"I was amazed at the quick response and unbelievable concern and effort on the part of the community, especially the Gordon JCC, which fed and housed 300 evacuees after the flooding started, and which is still serving as a distribution point for supplies for people in affected areas," said Fred Zimmerman, Chair of JFNA’s Emergency Committee.  

"As bad as the structural damage has been, individuals and families are going to need help for a long time after the debris is cleared away. Any aid Nashville can get in that regard is going to go a long way."

"We deeply appreciate all the support we have received," said Edelstein.

Nashville hosted the 2007 General Assembly, which was held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort. The hotel’s lobby is now inundated by six feet of water and the building remains closed.

Please visit The Federation Connection Blog for more information on the flooding in Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

The blog also includes details about resources the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans is making available for those in the Gulf Coast and beyond who wish to support cleanup efforts in the wake of the Gulf Coast oil spill. Click here to read that post

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