Skip Navigation LinksHome > JFNA Briefing: Federations Address Tornado Aftermath in Southern Communities



April 29, 2011


In the wake of the devastating storms and tornadoes that ripped through the Southeast this week, The Jewish Federations of North America is directing support to local communities in the disaster area.


The Birmingham Jewish Federation has opened a Tornado Recovery Fund to raise money for those affected by the storms. Federations are urged to direct donors to the Birmingham Jewish Federation’s website or send checks to The Birmingham Jewish Federation, PO 130219, Birmingham, AL, 35213. Please indicate “Tornado Relief” on all checks or in the comments section online.


The Birmingham Jewish Federation is currently determining Jewish needs, and working closely with Birmingham's Collat Jewish Family Services to allocate funds. The Federation is also coordinating an overall community effort with the United Way of Central Alabama and will participate in their allocations process after needs are assessed.


According to press reports on Friday, a surge of deadly tornadoes throughout the Southeast have so far killed nearly 300 people across six states, with the majority of victims – at least 204 – in Alabama. The tornadoes, which were the worst recorded in the U.S. in nearly 40 years, have also left more than 2,700 people homeless, prompting the largest sheltering effort by the Red Cross since Hurricane Katrina.

Although there have been no reported deaths in the Jewish community or damage to Jewish institutions, destruction has been widespread, and the affects of the storms have been felt by all.


“This has impacted us deeply,” said Joyce T. Spielberger, director of Community Relations and Overseas Programs at the Birmingham Jewish Federation. “In Birmingham, there’s no separation between the Jewish community and our broader community. There is not one person in Alabama that has not been affected. It doesn’t matter if you’re Jewish or not – everybody always lines up to help around here.”


The disaster area remains in the search and rescue phase, and no volunteers are needed yet; however, those interested in volunteering in the recovery can register at Hands on Birmingham. More details about these efforts are expected early next week.


JFNA and its Emergency Committee have remained in close contact with the Birmingham Jewish Federation and other disaster relief partners, including the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD). We will continue to monitor the situation, and provide reports to Federations as necessary.
JFNA and Jewish Federations are committed to care for victims of global natural disasters, and have emergency relief plans into place to aid those in need. Jewish Federations recently raised more than $1 million to help those affected by the recent earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan, over $30 million to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, and $10 million for those affected by the southern Asia tsunami in 2004.

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