If, like me, you’ve been watching the news coming out of Japan, I’m sure your thoughts and prayers are with the Japanese people.

In looking for ways to help I did what many have done: I googled.

A JTA News Alert informed me that the Jewish community, largely based in Tokyo, was spared (due in large part to distance from the epicenter). 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would help in whatever way possible.

The Japanese consul in Israel, Mitoshiko Shinomya, told the Israeli news website Ynet that he was heartened by the Israeli government’s offer of assistance. “Israel officially offered its help an hour after the earthquake struck,” Shinomya said. “It is very heart-warming, but at this point we do not know exactly what the extent of the damage is, so it is difficult for us to say what can be done.”

The Jewish Federations of North America is setting up an emergency relief fund to help those in affected areas, a spokesman said, and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, a federation partner, opened a mailbox Friday for donations to be used for Japan/Pacific disaster relief. Donations can be made at https://jdc.org/donation/donate.aspx.

According to the JDC’s site,

JDC is now partnering with the Japanese Jewish community to provide funding to a local NGO for emergency needs including food, water, and shelter in the disaster region. JDC acquired substantial expertise in earthquake and tsunami-related response in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Maldives, and India following the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004.

The 8.9 earthquake, the most powerful to hit Japan in more than 100 years, has killed hundreds of people and caused untold damage through massive flooding. JDC worked in Japan before the American entrance into World War II, helping support Jewish refugees in Kobe, Japan who fled Hitler’s Europe. Today, several thousand Jews live and work in Japan.

Sadly, the number confirmed has now grown into the thousands, with the deaths estimated to be in the tens of thousands. There are hundreds of thousands of people who are now homeless, countless people are missing and entire towns washed away.

Please pitch in to the relief effort, as I have, if you’re able to.

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