Mexico Earthquake: update

Senior Rabbis from the major synagogue movements have called on the Jewish community to support World Jewish Relief's Mexico Earthquake Appeal.

Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands more are in need of assistance particularly in Morelos and Pueblos states, close to the epicentre. World Jewish Relief will be working with a close and trusted partner agency based in Mexico City to provide shelter to hundreds of people who are homeless.

Mexico is home to an estimated 40,000 Jews, most of whom live in Mexico City. The community has been struck by tragedy as one of its local Rabbis, Haim Ashkenazi, was tragically killed in last week’s earthquake.

World Jewish Relief has launched its Mexico Earthquake Appeal with the backing of the UK Jewish communal agencies and Senior Rabbis.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said: ““On Rosh Hashanah it is inscribed, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed…  who shall live and who shall die, who in good time, and who by an untimely death, …who by earthquake…”. These chilling words, which sit as the centrepiece of our High Holy Day liturgy are more evocative than ever as we read of the terrible devastation and loss of life in Mexico. Yet, their purpose is not to instil shock or fear but to prompt us to respond urgently with Repentance, Prayer and Charity. Once again, World Jewish Relief has provided us with a perfect vehicle for the latter – to make a real difference to the lives of those who are suffering. As the recovery effort in Mexico gets underway, every one of us can now play a part in helping to ease the pain of the tens of thousands of people who have lost everything.”

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 in Mexico. As we read in our siddur, ‘as God supports the needy when they call, may we respond with generosity and compassion. May we help the lives of those in danger, alleviate their suffering and bring hope and help to all those who have survived and must rebuild their lives.’”

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism, said: “On Yom Kippur the High Priest would say a special prayer that peoples’ homes should not become their graves. A devastating earthquake in Mexico has buried hundreds in the houses which they saw as their refuge and place of safety. We must come to their help.”

Rabbi Danny Rich, Senior Rabbi & Chief Executive of Liberal Judaism, said: “As Jews celebrate the 'birthday of the world' at Rosh Hashanah, the tragic earthquake in Mexico reminds us that the natural world can sometimes deliver crushing blows to human beings.  The Yamim Noraim is a time to remember not only our local responsibilities but our international obligations too.”

Rabbi Joseph Dweck, Senior Rabbi, The S&P Sephardi Community, said: “Following on from the devastating earthquake which recently struck Mexico, the S&P Sephardi Community supports the rapid reaction and efforts of World Jewish Relief. It is at times like this that the generous support from people around the world can make the difference between devastation and hope. World Jewish Relief brings support and practical help for the future. With my blessings for security, peace and hope.”

Paul Anticoni, World Jewish Relief’s Chief Executive, said: “As we head into Yom Kippur, sadly the world is in turmoil once again. Thousands of people have lost everything in Mexico. On the High Holy Days we recite the Unetaneh Tokef prayer which speaks – terrifyingly – about who will die by earthquake. Jewish tradition teaches us that while we can’t stop natural disasters, we can choose how we respond to them. Please help us support the people of Mexico.”

This is a separate appeal to World Jewish Relief’s Rosh Hashanah appeal to provide home care workers for older Jews in Eastern Europe. Donations for World Jewish Relief’s Rosh Hashanah appeal will not be spent in Mexico.

The organisations backing World Jewish Relief’s Mexico Earthquake 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).

To donate to the Mexico Earthquake Appeal please go to www.worldjewishrelief.org/mexico.

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