Hurricane Harvey Update; 9-7-17


On Thursday, September 7, Jerry Silverman, President and CEO, Jewish Federations of North America, issued the following update on the damage in Houston caused by Hurricane Harvey and an update on Federation's response across the country.  


Dear Colleagues,

The wreckage in Houston continues to reveal itself, and the realization that our community has been brutally shattered has become our new normal.  Cleanup has begun in earnest in areas where it’s possible, but West Houston remains under water.   More than 70% of the Jewish community lives in parts of the city that were badly flooded, and that includes nearly 12,000 Jewish elderly. The start of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is now less than two weeks away and flooded synagogues are scrambling to find places to hold services.

Raised and Allocated

Jewish Federation donations continue to come in. To date, Jewish Federations have raised nearly $7.8M for Hurricane Harvey relief. $1.6M was allocated to address the following priorities:

•  Immediate cash grants for flood victims essential needs

•  Extended day-camp programming to make up for delayed school opening

•  Expanding capacity of Jewish Family Services to allow them to provide one-stop, comprehensive assistance

•  Grants to individual Rabbis’ discretionary funds to meet specific congregational needs

•  Funds to the Hebrew Free Loan Association that will match resources from Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco to create a new Hurricane Harvey loan pool

JFNA Continues to Organize Teams of Professionals to Aid Houston

JFNA is organizing its third team of national Federation professionals to assist the Houston Jewish Federation next week. We are also working with the Network of Jewish Services Agencies to enable them to provide national professional assistance to Houston’s Jewish Family Services agency for mental health counseling.

Houston Federation Flood Committee to Meet Again Next Week

At its next meeting, the Houston Federation Flood Committee will allocate additional funds as the requirements of the community become more apparent. They will also address further financial assistance needs that are designed to strengthen local agency capacity. The committee will also help flooded synagogues find temporary locations for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Updated Volunteer Information

Houston still needs volunteers! Those interested should call 800-820-5188 or email 


News Directly From Houston

Houston Jewish Herald-Voice


News about Houston from Other Jewish Communities

Haaretz—People of the book: Houston’s Jewish community works to salvage synagogue libraries

Arutz Sheva—Will Harvey’s victims celebrate the upcoming Jewish holidays?

New Jersey Jewish News—Houston Federation launches rebuilding campaign

New York Jewish Week—Reaching out to Houston

Florida Jewish Journal—Boca, Delray groups join for hurricane relief

Florida Jewish Journal—Hurricane victims to benefit from temple’s ‘Bring a Buck’ campaign

Jewish Journal—Meet Etan G, the Jewish rapper who drove 1,500 miles to help Hurricane Harvey victims

Baltimore Jewish Times—How to Help Houston

New Jersey Jewish News—NJ Jews provide aid to Hurricane Harvey victims

Atlanta Jewish Times—Jewish Atlanta answers Harvey’s challenge