Sunday, January 17, 2010

Responding to Haiti

I respond to the ongoing tragedy in Haiti first with prayer and then with action.
And so I begin with a prayer written by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.  It was first composed in response to the 2004 Tsunami:  "We join our prayers to the prayers of others throughout the world, for the victims of the earthquake which this week has brought destruction and disaster to many lives.  Almighty God, we pray You send healing to the injured, comfort to the bereaved, and news to those who sit and wait. May You be with those who even now are engaged in the work of rescue. May You send Your strength to those who are striving to heal the injured, give shelter to the homeless, and bring food and water to those in need. May You bless the work of their hands, and may they merit to save lives.  Almighty God, we recognize how small we are, and how powerless in the face of nature when its full power is unleashed. Therefore, open our hearts in prayer and our hands in generosity, so that our words may bring comfort and our gifts bring aid. Be with us now and with all humanity as we strive to mend what has been injured and rebuild what has been destroyed.  Ken Yehi Ratzon, ve-nomar Amen.  May it be Your will, and let us say Amen."
Second, I offer this picture of the State of Israel's quick humanitarian response.  The Israel Defense Forces’ emergency aid team arrived in Haiti on January 15.  It consists of a medical unit as well as search and rescue teams. The mission has established a major field hospital adjacent to Port-au-Prince’s soccer stadium. At present this is one of the largest medical facilities currently operating in Haiti with the capacity to treat up to 500 patients per day.  To view more pictures follow this link.


And finally I urge you to join me in giving tzedakah in order to support the ongoing efforts of the many aid organizations now working in Haiti. I am giving to the American Jewish World Service.  This is always my top pick in such situations. To read more of the AJWS's efforts follow this link.  May healing soon come to the nation and people of Haiti!

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