[VIDEO & PHOTO LINKS BELOW] Brooklyn, NY – An emergency meeting was held this morning between the leaders of the Jewish and Haitian communities to address the emerging needs of the local Haitian community. The meeting took place at the business office of George Weinberger, chairman of board of trustees of Agudath Israel of America, in Flatbush Brooklyn. Organizing the meeting were community leaders from COJO of Flatbush, Agudath Israel of America and Assemblyman Dov Hikind.
Participants included Congresswoman Yvette Clark, Councilman Mathieu Eugene and Councilman Jumaane Williams, who represent the largest Haitian community outside of Florida and Haiti in Brooklyn New York. Also represented was the office of State Senator John Sampson, Senator Kevin Parker and representatives from Councilman Brad Lander’s office. Other participating Jewish organizations included the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council represented by Rabbi Chanina Sperlin and the Jewish Community Council of Boro-Park represented by Rabbi Yechiel Kaufman and leaders from Agudath Israel of America including members of the board of Trustees Shloime Werdiger, Elly Kleinman and Chaskel Bennett.
“We are not international organizations, with means to do things on an international level”, said Leon Goldenberg board member of COJO of Flatbush and Agudath Israel Trustee, “we are local organizations deeply involved in the social service needs of the local Jewish community, who care about our Haitian neighbors too. Upon hearing of the devastation in Haiti, our network of organizations began encouraging their constituents to donate to the reputable international relief organizations.”
“This meeting is also about a neighbor-to-neighbor effort, trying to find out what we can do to help alleviate the local anxiety”, Said Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz Agudath Israel of America’s Vice President of community services. “By Wednesday afternoon we had already alerted thousands of our members with the relevant donation information. Today, we are taking this to a new level”.
As word of the meeting got out, members of the Jewish leadership came forward and upon request, donated 10 computers to help the local Haitian community leaders and their constituents find love ones on the governors announced website https://haiti.nyalert.gov/ and for other needs.
Hamodia – the largest Orthodox Jewish daily and weekly newspaper in the US, pledged to run free solicitation ads encouraging their readers to donate to reputable international organizations. “We are covering the story extensively and now we will also get our readers involved by helping” said Yonosson Moller, business manager of Hamodia Newspaper. “Having a call-for-action in the name of Jewish leaders gathering today will have a great impact on our readers”.
“Today we gather as a cross section of our community to show by action that we share in the pain of our Haitian friends and are ready willing and able to respond”, Said Assemblyman Dov Hikind one of the organizers.
“We all see the swift and expert work of Israeli Doctors and rescue teams on the ground almost immediately following the 7.0 earthquake,” said Congresswoman Yvette Clark. “The Jewish response to the pain of others is legendary and today’s gathering is a continuation of the special heart the Jewish community always shows in times of crisis.”
“We deeply appreciate the friendship and care of the Jewish community represented here today. We are urging the community at large to donate to the recognized international relief organizations who are on the ground in Haiti”, Said Councilman Mathieu Eugene and echoed by newly elected Councilman Jumaane Williams.
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(Dov Gordon – YWN)