Sandy, plus six months

Sandy, plus six months

Monday marked six months since Superstorm Sandy devastated our region and wreaked havoc upon our communities and our people. In too many places throughout New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, the damage done by Sandy’s powerful body blow can still be seen and felt. For too many, the pain lingers on, unabated by time.

We are fortunate that we have communal agencies ready and able to be there for us when nature unleashes its full fury, as it did by letting loose Sandy’s angry assaults on life and property. The Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey rose to the test, mustering help and support for Sandy’s victims, as did the various agencies it helps maintain.

Standing above most of those agencies were the two main Jewish Family Service units in our area. Hampered though they are by a sluggish economy and dwindling donations to the communal coffers, Jewish Family Service of North Jersey and Jewish Family Service of Bergen and North Hudson nevertheless expended every resource they could rally to meet the challenges posed by Sandy. They did meet those challenges, and in stellar fashion.

It came at great cost, however, and not just in amounts expended for the relief efforts. Given the constraints on their budgets, these agencies now must replace their outlays so that they will be able to confront the next challenge head-on, not to mention to continue to provide the various services we rely on in times of need, such as Meals on Wheels, their various counseling services and bereavement groups, and aid to the indigent and home-bound.

On May 19, Jewish Family Service of North Jersey will host a fundraising event to help refill its communal tzedakah pot. It is sponsoring a “Night of Broadway Stars” extravaganza at 7 p.m. at Indian Hills High School in Oakland. Tickets are $50 each ($40 for students).

Regardless of whether you can make it to the event (you can buy tickets online at, please support it by donating to the agency. In doing so, you will be supporting yourselves and our community as a whole. Donations do not have to be limited to $50, by the way, so think Sandy and be generous.

While you are at it, make a generous donation, as well, to Jewish Family Service of Bergen and North Hudson, which held its annual fundraiser some months ago but still has much ground to make up. Donations to that agency, which has been there for us faithfully for 60 years, can be made online at

Skilled or not, consider as well donating some of your time as a volunteer for JFNNJ’s Bonim program, which is dedicated, as it says, to “Repairing the World, One House at a Time.” For more information on Bonim, email project coordinator Stacey Orden at

There are myriad ways we all can help to ease the pain and suffering caused by Sandy and prepare to confront the Sandys to come – and there will be others coming. Search them out, because they are our lifelines. If we did not know that before Sandy, we do now.