Sunday, February 08, 2009

Bushfire Crisis, Victoria, Australia

As you may know from the news, the state of Victoria is dealing with the worst bushfires in history after record temperatures on Saturday (over 46ยบ C) and such dry conditions due to drought. I am posting the bulletin I received from one of the shul newsletters (Mizrachi) I received today with information on how to help out:

"Dear Reader,
 
Impact
Yesterday, Victorians woke up to a new reality. The figures of loss of life and property loss are staggering. I dare not write statistics for fear that by the time you read the email they may be grossly underestimated.
 
As a member of the Emergency services during the Ash Wednesday bushfires, I have seen firsthand the devastation following these horrific bushfires.
 
While there may have been an impact on the Jewish community (and, in the last 24 hours, I have become aware of the loss of a number of Jewish properties, the loss of Marysville - almost a pesach Mecca for hundreds of Jews, and concerns that we have for an elderly Jewish person whose car has been found abandoned), as proud, grateful and contributing members of the Australian community we need not find personal connections. We are already personally connected with our fellow Australians in their time of loss.
 
The Rabbi and President join with fellow Australians in expressing their deepest sympathies to the families of those who lost loved ones, their sincerest expression of refuah shlemah and speedy recovery to those who have been injured and their wishes of chazak ve'ematz (be strong of good courage) to those who lost property. They also express their gratitude to the countless heroic volunteers of the emergency services and others who put their lives at peril for the benefit of fellow Australians.
 
What you can do
Prayers: Yesterday, Rabbi MS Kluwgant issued a statement on behalf of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria expressing its profound sorrow and dismay at the massive destruction of life and property brought about by the firestorm which has engulfed much of our State. He called on all Congregations to recite prayers that this devastation be brought to a speedy end and that those in danger be delivered home in health and safety. Already last night, during a shloshim service I conducted we commenced saying Tehillim and prayers of refuah shlemah for those who have been injured. Mizrachi's Rabbi Sprung has, likewise, commenced prayers in our Shule for those suffering as a result of the bushfires. I invite you, all, to also add your prayers for those who so desperately need them.
 
Tzedakah: The Mizrachi Charity Fund will immediately commence a Bushfire Relief Fund to continue for the next two weeks. The Mizrachi Charity Fund has kicked off the appeal with a $1000 donation and we invite you all to contribute generously. This is NOT the only Bushfire Appeal, nor could there ever be competition. If you would like to do an online donation, please go to http://www.jewishaid.org.au/donate-2.html and click on the donate button. Any queries regarding Jewish Aid should be addressed to lisa (at) jewishaid.org.au. Indeed, over coming days other Jewish organisations may be starting similar Bushfire Appeals and feel free to choose whichever avenue you prefer, but DO make a donation according to your ability.
 
Material goods: A number of Mizrachi members have already taken the initiative to coordinate donations of materials goods. Please donate: Blankets, Pillows, Linen, Adults & Kids Clothes, Household Items, Packaged Foods – Ready to eat, Only Clean Items Accepted. Please drop off these items to...
• The Hatzolah Centre 320 Orrong Road Caulfield North 3161 (Mon 9 Feb Midday-3.00pm; Tue 10th Feb 10.00am-2.00pm; Sun 15 Feb - To Be Advised). The items can also be delivered directly into the 18 Red Cross Centers setup around Victoria.
• Magen David Adom is also coordinating the donations of Clothing, Shoes, Children's Toys, Linen. For any queries please contact G Lipson glynislipson (at) gmail.com, M Spektor info (at) midali.com.au or E Lipson emmlipson (at) gmail.com. Goods can be dropped off at...
• Midali Espresso, 261 Carlisle St, Balaclava (7:00am-6:00pm only, 7 days a week)
Moorabbin Hebrew Congregation is also coordinating the donations of material goods. Goods can be dropped off at...Moorabbin Hebrew Congregation, 960 Nepean Hwy (Mon 9 Feb 3:30-6:00pm; Tue 10 Feb 9:00-10:00am, 2:00-4:00pm; Wed 11 Feb 9:00-10:00am, 8:00-9:30pm; Thu 12 Feb 8:00-9:30pm). If you are unable to drop anything off during these times, but would like to donate to these families, you can ring the Red Cross Appeal on 1800 811 700.
• Yeshivah College is also coordinating the donations of non perishable food item such as a package of pasta or rice or a can of soup, canned vegetables or tinned fruit. Goods can be dropped off at... Yeshivah College, 92 Hotham St, St Kilda East."
To anyone that can help in any way, please do. The stories I have been hearing on the radio and TV are devastating and heart-wrenching. (For the email containing full contact details of appeals etc, I can forward by email.)

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