Hurricane Sandy: A URJ Relief Update

This is our second update about the Reform Movement’s response to the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy. To learn more or to read the previous update, visit the URJ’s Hurricane Relief page.

The Union for Reform Judaism’s Hurricane Relief Fund has now collected $326,000 for Hurricane Relief, including recent donations of $18,000 from the National Association of Temple Administrators and $10,000 from the Women of Reform Judaism’s YES Fund toward the Scholarships for Youth Impacted by Sandy fund, which aims to remove some of the financial barriers that might keep displaced teens from attending Reform Movement events when they need them most.

More than $8,000 has been designated for West End Temple, a Reform congregation in Neponsit, NY, that suffered significant damage from Hurricane Sandy. The URJ will be collecting funds on behalf of West End Temple until they have electricity and their online system is functional.

URJ distributed $25,000 to NECHAMA, the Jewish Response to Disaster, to build additional response capacity by scaling up human capital and their inventory of tools, equipment, supplies and vehicles on the ground.  NECHAMA personnel arrived in New Jersey less than 18 hours after Hurricane Sandy made landfall, worked through the nor’easter and deployed their entire staff to manage volunteers, assist individuals and  organizations with clean up and preparation for rebuilding. The URJ has also partnered with NECHAMA to collect contact information for those who are able to volunteer for the recovery efforts. To add your name to the list, please visit

In addition to collecting funds and referring volunteers, the URJ’s Congregational Network Staff has been reaching out to all congregations affected by the storm and advising congregational leaders on how to best help individual congregants and continue providing services to congregants despite damaged synagogue facilities.

Many Reform congregations from outside the affected region have mobilized to help those in distress. Temple Oheb Shalom in Baltimore, MD, has dispatched six trucks filled with food, clothing, personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, pet supplies, and more to Staten Island, Freeport, Tom’s River, Upper Nyack and Oceanside. And Temple Shalom in Naples, FL, is coordinating with Temple Sinai in Massapequa, NY, to sponsor a Shabbat dinner for all the congregation’s families.

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Isaac Nuell

About Isaac Nuell

Isaac Nuell is the Religious Action Center's Manager of Congregational Social Action and oversees much of our program support, resource development, and strategic partnerships. In this position, he also serves as the URJ's Disaster Relief Coordinator. Isaac joined the RAC staff as a conference planner in 2009, and spent the three years prior working with NFTY, the Reform Movement's youth organization.

One Response to “Hurricane Sandy: A URJ Relief Update”

  1. avatar

    Great post Isaac! So much remains to be done especially in communities like ours on near the NJ Shore. At Monmouth Reform Temple tonight we will host Shabbat dinner with help of our local Monmouth County Jewish Federation. During services we will be announcing our SAVE THE JERSEY SHORE: ONE TOWN AT A TIME
    HOLIDAY GIFT CARD DRIVE. We are collecting gift cards from Target, Kmart, Home Depot, and Lowes (retailers easily accessed in our area) in increments of $25 (i.e.. 25, 50, 75, 100 etc) for distribution. Donations will come from caring individuals and congregations and community partners who are organizing their own drives. Cards will go directly to residents of hard hit Sea Bright, NJ. By focusing on one town at a time we hope our efforts will have maximum impact. More info is below…
    4 Ways to Participate:
    Purchase Cards yourself:
    Please label the amount clearly on the cards and send to:
    Monmouth Reform Temple,
      332 Hance  Avenue 
    Tinton Falls, NJ   07724.   
    Order cards online and send electronically to
    3. Donate by check to Monmouth Reform Temple, with an accompanying 
              note that says the funds are for the Gift Card drive.  We will purchase 
              the cards on your behalf.
    Make a donation online through the PayPal link on our website:

    The drive will run from now until January 1. For more information about Sea Bright and our progress, please visit our facebook page “Card Work Pays Off.”

    Congregational Partners (as of 11/15)
    Torat El, Ocean NJ
    Temple Beth Am, Abington PA
    Temple Beth El, Hillsboro, NJ 
    Temple Beth Miriam, Elberon NJ
    Temple Shalom, Newton MA
    The Temple, Atlanta GA
    Temple Beth El, Augusta ME
    Temple Judea, Coral Gables Florida
    Temple Sinai, Washington DC
    Congregation Beth El, Bangor ME 
    Temple Emanu-El,  Livingston, NJ
    Shir Tikvah, Wayland MA
    Shrewsbury Presbyterian Church, Shrewsbury, NJ

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