UPDATE on Famine Relief Efforts

Categories: Community Voices, President's Blog, Social Action

Since late June, Beth El and the South Hills Jewish community have stepped up for our friends in Africa who are suffering from famine.
The work done by our community has been publicized across the country, and on three continents!  I hope that you read the article last week in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, or saw it online published in Haaretz and on other sites.  As a result, additional donations have come in to Beth El and, thus far, we have raised $8,766, all of which has been sent to Rabbi Gershom Sizomu.  Rabbi Sizomu and other Abayudaya leaders have immediately used these funds for the purchase of food distributed to Jews, Christians and Moslems who live in the towns of Mbale, Nabugoya and Nasenyi, Uganda.  I’ve attached several pictures from Rabbi Sizomu of the distribution of posho, corn flour, which is a local staple.

Happily the success of our project and the publicity it has engendered have led to contributions from around the country, and now other groups are stepping up.  In the past two weeks I spoke with the UJF in Pittsburgh, Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, CA, and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) based in Israel. Valley Beth Shalom (VBS), with 1,500 member units, is the fifth largest Conservative shul in the world.  Its president informed me that our efforts have led VBS to begin its own fundraising campaign.  The IFCJ, led by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, seeks to build bridges between Christians and Jews and has raised millions of dollars to support impoverished Jews in many lands including the FSU, Ethiopia and Israel.  It has now established a link with the Abayudaya and has pledged to help.

The UJF has begun a campaign locally in which 100% of what is raised for the Abayudaya will be sent to Uganda through the Joint Distribution Committee.  Contributions to the UJF campaign can be made HERE.

I am proud that our community has banded together to help others in need, and that our work is leading other communities to do the same.  Beth El is still accepting donations and will wire those funds to Rabbi Sizomu.



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