As a succession of disasters strike, Jewish relief organizations struggle to raise enough funds to respond.
Almost four years after the 2004 tsunami in South Asia, one of the deadliest natural disasters in history, relief and rebuilding efforts in the affected areas are far from over.
But in the years since, disasters and crises in other areas of the world have also demanded attention and humanitarian aid, including the cyclone in Burma and the earthquake in Sichuan, China, both of which hit in May of this year, and more recently the war in South Ossetia, Georgia. Add to that the damage on U.S. soil from a succession of tropical storms and hurricanes.
"I’m really, really Jewish, and what’s happening in Darfur hurts me so, so much,” said Jessica Jacobs, a student at the Maimonides Jewish day school in Brookline, Mass., as she stood near the edge of the “Save Darfur” rally Sunday in Central Park.
As the military government in Myanmar continued its crackdown on pro-democracy activists, a Burmese Jew now living in the United States expressed his sorrow over the killing of civilians — a number that could be as low as the 10 acknowledged by the government or as high as the hundreds claimed by human-rights advocates.
Sammy Samuels, a New York-based employee of American Jewish Congress, also said he witnessed one of the largest demonstrations preceding the crackdown while visiting his family in Yangon, Myanmar’s capital, for the High Holy Days.