Washington, D.C. ““ The Jewish Federations of North America has opened an emergency relief fund to provide aid and support to the victims of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami that struck Japan earlier today, and to help those in other potential disaster zones such as Hawaii and the U.S. mainland’s West Coast.

Individuals interested in donating are directed to The Jewish Federations’ Japan, Hawaii and the Pacific Relief Fund online www.jewishfederations.org/page.aspx?id=238775 or through the national mailbox, at

The Jewish Federations of North America

Wall Street Station

PO Box 148

New York, NY 10268.

JFNA is also working with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee to support relief efforts.

The earthquake, which was the largest in Japan in more than 100 years, struck about 230 miles northeast of Tokyo early Friday. A devastating tsunami with reported waves of 30 feet followed, submerging entire coastal towns. Resulting tsunamis waves been since been felt across the Pacific, with possible damage feared as far away as Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast.

Although the exact number of deaths or injuries is so far unclear, authorities in Japan estimate hundreds of casualties, while tens of thousands have been evacuated. Early indications show that Japan’s Jewish community of approximately 1,000 people, most of whom are located in or around Tokyo, has been largely unaffected. The Jewish Federations will continue to closely monitor the situation as details emerge.

“The Jewish Federations send our deepest sympathy to people affected by this terrible event,” said Fred Zimmerman, chair of The Jewish Federations of North America’s Emergency Committee. “We are determined to provide emergency relief as quickly as possible and to work with our partners to provide support over the longer term as well.”

The Jewish Federations are committed to caring for victims of global natural disasters, and have emergency relief plans into place to aid those in need. In 2005, Jewish Federations raised nearly $30 million to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, and approximately $10 million for those affected by the tsunami in southern Asia in 2004.

Please visit The Jewish Federations’ Japan/Pacific Earthquake and Tsunami Relief page www.jewishfederations.org/page.aspx?id=238775 to keep updated about the situation and the Federation response. The page features reports about relief efforts by The Jewish Federations and other Jewish groups.