Tag Archives: Disaster Relief
Yeb Sano - UNFCCC

2013 UNFCCC: United Nations Framework “Change in Climate Conversation”

“We must stop calling events like [Typhoon Haiyan] as natural disasters. It is not natural when people continue to struggle to eradicate poverty and pursue development and gets battered by the onslaught of a monster storm now considered as the strongest storm ever to hit land. It is not natural when science already tells us that global warming will induce more intense storms. It is not natural when the human species has already profoundly changed the climate. Disasters are never natural.” – Philippines lead negotiator Yeb Sano addressing the opening session of the UN climate summit in Warsaw

Representatives from 195 countries are currently meeting in Warsaw, Poland for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC was first formed in 1992 when participating countries joined to discuss methods to cooperatively combat increases in global temperature and further, the looming threat of climate change.  By 1995, the negotiators adopted the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement committing its Parties to meet emission reduction targets. The United States is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol but has not yet ratified the treaty. The first commitment period for the Protocol was from 2008 to 2012 and the second period, which started January 1, 2013, will end in 2020.   Read more…

Victims of Typhoon Haiyan

Typhoon Haiyan Calls for Action on Climate Change

When faced with catastrophe and war, we are quick to recall Leviticus 19: “Do not stand idly by while your neighbor bleeds.” This Jewish teaching led us to rally for stronger laws to prevent gun violence after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school and called us to demand justice after the Boston Marathon bombing. Yet, with no guns, bombs or weapons, there remains an ongoing battle faced by our global community that often goes unaddressed. Undoubtedly, climate change has led to some of the most devastating natural disasters in recent memory and has contributed to millions of deaths. It is our responsibility to respond. Read more…

Help the URJ Help Victims of Typhoon Haiyan

This was originally posted on RJblog on November 11, 2013.

In the early morning hours of November 9, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines. The equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, the storm displaced hundreds of thousands of people throughout the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and the region’s Pacific Islands. Initial accounts indicate that as many as 10,000 lives have been lost, and authorities and aid groups from all over the world, including North America and Israel, are struggling to deliver safe drinking water, food, and life-saving supplies to disaster zones.

The URJ General Disaster Relief Fund is collecting donations that will be distributed to aid groups working in affected areas. Donate now to join in these efforts. Read more…

RAC logo

This Week at the RAC: Supreme Court Decisions & Immigration Reform

What a week!  We’re all still on a high from Wednesday’s Supreme Court marriage equality victory. A bunch of RAC staff, myself included, were outside the Court among hundreds of others anticipating the ruling. Despite the 90+ degree weather, it was a (mostly) euphoric crowd, happy with the demise of a key part of DOMA and the Prop 8 decision likely to result in reinstating marriage equality in California.

I hope you’ll join us for our Monday, July 1 webinar at 12 p.m. ET for a debrief on what the Supreme Court decisions mean and how we can take action to ensure the protection of civil and voting rights and marriage equality going forward. Several of us from the RAC (including Rabbi David Saperstein) will be speaking, along with the Human Rights Campaign’s Brian Moulton and other D.C. policy experts. Register here and share with friends!
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Hurricane Sandy

7 Months After the Storm a Temple Rebuilds

On Thursday morning I had the pleasure of taking several members of the URJ Board to visit West End Temple in Neponsit, New York. As you might recall, the Temple took the brunt of Hurricane Sandy and was flooded with nearly five feet of water. The impact was devastating –damage estimates to the building were in the millions! – but even worse was the displacement of many of the congregation’s families, businesses lost, and entire communities taken to the brink.

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More Than Just The Corners of Our Fields

As a fellow Eisendrath Legislative Assistant, Raechel Banks, wrote yesterday, “There are many ways to ‘share our bread with the hungry’ (Isaiah 58:7).” She discussed a very tangible  way of helping to combat hunger in our midst (I still have blisters on my fingers from cutting potatoes for 3 hours straight). Today, however, I want to talk about a way of sharing with the hungry that is more difficult to conceptualize, but has no less of an impact on millions of lives – international food aid.

There are nearly one billion people around the world with insufficient access to food. That number is greater than the populations of the United States, Canada and the European Union combined. One in seven people go to bed hungry each night and hunger is the leading cause of severe health problems and death worldwide.

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Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

10 Ways the Reform Movement is Supporting Post-Sandy Relief Efforts

In the six months since Superstorm Sandy devastated coastal communities in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, the Reform Jewish community has rallied to support the rebuilding effort, our synagogues, and the millions of people who were – and continue to be – impacted by the storm.

Although much of the Reform Movement’s work has been behind the scenes – raising and allocating funds, coordinating volunteers, and keeping abreast of the rebuilding efforts two of our synagogues are undertaking – our members have risen to the occasion. Countless volunteer hours have been applied to the cause, entire trailers of donated goods have been sent by our synagogues to some of the hardest-hit communities, and the URJ’s Disaster Relief Fund, which opened just after the storm passed, raised nearly $1 million for relief efforts.

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This Week’s Parsha: Sent From My iPhone

As Hurricane Sandy threatened communities across the Eastern Seaboard, rabbis found new ways to reach their congregants in this time of strife. Temple Beth El of Northern Valley was still without power on Shabbat, so the congregation joined together for a “flashlight” Shabbat on Friday evening, and then celebrated a double b’nai mitzvah in the morning light. Rabbi David Widzer sent this d’var torah by text message to the members of Temple Beth El of Northern Valley in Closter, NJ.

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