World Jewish Relief has launched an emergency appeal in response to the earthquake and tsunami which has claimed more than 800 lives on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi over the weekend.
Launching its Indonesia Earthquake and Tsunami Appeal with the backing of the UK Jewish communal agencies and Senior Rabbis, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said: “There can be no more sobering reminder of human vulnerability than the harrowing images from Indonesia. Once again, World Jewish Relief is providing us with a vehicle for offering support to those in desperate need. Please help in any way you can.”
Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism, said: “Please give generously to World Jewish Relief in support of those who are suffering the effects of the terrible earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia. Our prayers say, ‘as God supports the needy when they call, may we respond with generosity and compassion.’ Let’s make these words real with our actions. We must respond to those who will need help rebuilding their lives and do all we can to alleviate their suffering and bring hope.”
A 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck the island of Sulawesi on Friday afternoon, and was followed by a devastating tsunami. Buildings collapsed and homes were washed away as the tidal water engulfed the coastal areas, while the capital Palu, still has no electricity with communications severely limited.
Also appealing for donations, Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism, said: “On Yom Kippur we pray that the homes of the people of Sharon should not become their graves.Nobody’s home should become their grave. Yet this is what has happened in Sulawesi. We must reach out in our hearts and prayers to the families whose lives have been devastated, and offer what practical help we can.”
Rabbi Danny Rich, Senior Rabbi & Chief Executive of Liberal Judaism, added: “As we Jews leave the temporary but ironic frailty of our succot, World Jewish Relief is once again at the forefront of putting our Jewish values into practice. The tsunami in Indonesia is devastating for its victims and it is a Jewish moral imperative to respond.”
People are still trapped inside the rubble after homes, hotels and shopping centres collapsed, while rescuers have been digging by hand to find survivors. With numbers expected to rise, the WJR emergency team is currently assessing the situation in Indonesia, to determine how to best support the people affected by the tragedy.
Paul Anticoni, World Jewish Relief’s Chief Executive, said: “As we approach the end of Succot we are once again shown how vulnerable humans are to the forces of nature. The horror of what those affected have been through is devastating but Jewish tradition teaches that whilst we cannot stop natural disasters, we can choose how we respond to them. Please help us act now to help the people of Indonesia hit by this disaster.”
Organisations backing World Jewish Relief’s Indonesia Earthquake and Tsunami Appeal are: Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council, JW3, Liberal Judaism, London Jewish Forum, Masorti Judaism, Movement for Reform Judaism, Office of the Chief Rabbi, S&P Sephardi Community, Tzedek, United Synagogue, UJS and the Zionist Youth Council (comprising the Jewish youth movements).