NEW YORK, NY, March 3, 2011 – The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is working with the Jewish community of Christchurch, New Zealand to aid survivors of the city’s devastating earthquake. JDC funding will contribute to Christchurch Jewish community efforts to repair a damaged local synagogue and homes, replace household goods, provide financial stipends and temporary relocation costs, and support community-service or children’s programs for the wider community.
“As we extend our deepest sympathies to the families of Christchurch locals and Israelis lost in the earthquake, we’re cooperating with the Jewish community to ensure that people on the ground can start to rebuild their lives. As we have done in the past, JDC is delivering much-needed assistance to Jews and others in the wake of a disaster,” said JDC CEO Steven Schwager.
In addition to lost property, damaged homes and businesses, the Jewish community’s synagogue was damaged and the Chabad House was destroyed by the 6.3 earthquake that struck on February 22. Christchurch, New Zealand’s second largest city, is located in the Canterbury Province which is home to 600 Jews. Jewish settlement in the region dates back to the early 1860’s.
“It means a lot to us to know that we are not forgotten, even though we are just a small community far away,” said Bettina Wallace, acting president of the Canterbury Hebrew Congregation.
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization. JDC works in Israel and more than 70 countries to alleviate hunger and hardship, rescue Jews in danger, create lasting connections to Jewish life, and provide immediate relief and long-term development support for victims of natural and man-made disasters. To learn more, visit www.JDC.org.
JDC receives funding from Jewish Federations of North America that is raised by Annual Campaigns in communities across the country, including the Jewish Community of Louisville’s Annual Campaign.