Like all of you, I have been following the tragic events unfolding in Houston and throughout the Gulf of Mexico with increasing horror. The visuals of families in crisis, flood waters swallowing up large swaths of cities and utter devastation are difficult to watch. We here at Temple have been thinking about ways to show our concern and help those who are affected by Hurricane Harvey. Over the past several days, I have sent out several links where you can donate. The Union for Reform Judaism, Jewish Colorado and Nechama: a Jewish Response to Tragedy are all organizations that have created special funds for helping those in need.
I am writing to tell you about a specific project that we at Temple are creating to help those in need in Houston. Members of our sister congregation, Temple Emanu El of Houston have been impacted greatly by the storm. We have several connections to Temple Emanu El. In addition to sharing the same name, their Senior Rabbi, Oren Hayon, was my intern in Albuquerque. Rabbi Joshua Fixler, their newly installed assistant Rabbi, is a native Denverite and was my intern four years ago. Cantor Rollin Simmons served the Aspen Jewish Congregation until last year. In my conversations with Rabbis Hayon and Fixler, it has become clear that many members of their community are facing catastrophic losses. Homes are destroyed. Property has been lost. The sense of hopelessness they are feeling is palpable.
We are setting up a special fund to help members of Houston’s Temple Emanu El rebuild and begin the process of creating new lives in the wake of the storm. If you would like to donate online, click here. You can also send checks to Temple c/o Hurricane Relief Fund. 100% of all monies raised will be sent to Temple Emanu El in Houston to provide immediate relief to affected congregants.
Of course, there are many other worthwhile efforts and organizations to which you can contribute. This is only one of many.
At this time of preparation for a new year, our hearts go out to all those who have been affected by this tragedy. If you would like to be part of this important act of Tzeddakah, please give generously.
With best wishes for a Shanah Tovah U’metukah – a good and sweet new year, I am…
L’shalom (in peace),
Rabbi Joseph R. Black