Jewish Agency emissaries assist recovery efforts in Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Photo credit: The Jewish Agency for Israel.

Jewish Agency Emissaries Help Harvey Victims Recover

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – A Jewish Agency aid mission composed of shlichim (emissaries) posted on college campuses in the United States has arrived in Houston and is assisting local residents whose homes and infrastructure were severely damaged by Hurricane Harvey.

The Jewish Agency emissaries are helping residents vacate flooded or abandoned homes and salvage whatever belongings can be saved. Their work is being conducted in coordination with local aid groups, the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston, and the Consulate General of Israel in Houston. They will also be running educational programming for Jewish children sent to day camps due to school closures and neighborhood evacuations. The emissaries will work with the local Jewish community to evaluate the damage to local communal institutions in order to enable The Jewish Agency to prepare a long-term financial aid package to assist in the community’s recovery.

Tali Lipschitz, who heads The Jewish Agency’s delegation in the Western United States and is leading the aid mission, said: “We are seeing some very difficult scenes. The damage is widespread and we are working hard to help however we can. We are here to show solidarity with the residents of Houston and the local Jewish community and to offer immediate assistance to residents in vacating their homes and rescuing their remaining belongings until professional aid teams arrive.”

Moshe Alfisher, who oversees the Jewish Agency’s campus emissaries in the Western United States, said: “We are working with masks due to the strong smell of mildew and mold and are trying to help people rescue what remains of their belongings. The stories are difficult to hear. We reached the home of an elderly couple who could have been my grandparents. They told us they waited almost twelve hours for rescuers to arrive, as the water reached their waists.”

The Jewish Agency for Israel dispatches dozens of young professional emissaries to college campuses across the United States each year in partnership with Hillel International. Known as Israel Fellows, these young Israelis work with local Hillel staffs to connect Jewish students to Israel. Each year, the Israel Fellows develop relationships with some 10,000 Jewish students, bringing many to experience Israel on programs like Taglit-Birthright Israel and Masa Israel Journey and serving as a resource for Jewish and Israel-related programming throughout the academic year.



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07 Sep 2017 / 16 Elul 5777 0