Israel is Burning

Romema neighborhood in Haifa; photo courtesy Hatzalah.
Romema neighborhood in Haifa; photo courtesy Hatzalah.

By Sherri W. Morr

Fires now have mostly been contained in Israel but there is still tremendous concern. I know we will jump with all limbs into the fray of helping Israel rebuild. Whether its high winds and no rain, or arson or much worse arson terrorism we will not let this tragedy pass without our own involvement here in America for concern and necessary repair of the utmost that must be dealt with. Being a former member of the campaign staff at Jewish National Fund, I know full well the Diaspora will plant numerous trees for every single one that was swallowed up by the fires. Being a long term Zionist I know small groups in the ever present and powerful nonprofit Jewish world will see leadership from this country jumping on flights as early as tomorrow to assess damage and offer much needed financial support.

The issue comes to mind of whether to shirk at these fires, or to help those who lost homes and yes give money. Starting campaigns, raising money and sending physical support does not fall into a matter of choice; when it comes to disasters in Israel, tragedy does not replace sensitivity. Yes we will need to help restore small businesses like shops and restaurants, and repair large structures like dormitories and hospitals, classrooms and schools. Sending money is the American way and we should not shirk at it or feel less helpful because funds are the answer. We Jews, we know how to give money, to plan campaigns, to ask those most capable and offer the ability for all to give.

We do not live there, most of us have not enlisted in the IDF, but giving money, that we can do, and we should not be ashamed of it, or think we do not feel the unsettledness or tears of loss. We can be in favor of the settlements or beg that that they be given back; we can favor Bibi or his policies, or not, but we can be, and are proud of Israel as the only progressive and democratic country in the entire Middle East. Whether we are Millennials or Boomers, Jewish or not, the fact of support is similar to support of Haiti and Katrina.

So I urge every organization president, and every campaign director of every organization to launch an appeal for funds. This is an opportunity and a tragedy, and a means to help our Israel. None of this means we do not support hunger or the right or the left; it does not mean we are against or for Israel. It means we are for humanity when people are hurting. Very simple I think.

Sherri W. Morr is the Director for the West Coast Region of American Society of University of Haifa. Prior to this she was director for the Western States for Jewish National Fund.

The views expressed here are her own and do not necessarily reflect the views of her employers, past or present.