While our TVs are full of the terror going on in Afghanistan and the earthquake in Haiti, last week we became intimately aware of the challenge to the Jewish community in Cuba. About seven years ago, 28 members of the Savannah community travelled to Cuba. During that time we met with William Miller, a former leader of the Jewish community and of World Ort.
Below is an excerpt of a letter he sent to Adam Solender…
“As you must be aware, COVID positive cases in Cuba have been increased to 9,000 and up per day, and an average of 70 dead per day as per the official numbers that, for sure, are not the real ones. Children and teenagers are the most affected population at this point. COVID is out of control in Cuba and the lack of resources make it harder to survive here.
Shortages of food, medications and hygienic products have been affecting the Cuba population for years. Due to the COVID pandemic, the Cuban crisis has been increasing without any precedent in local history. Poverty has increased, people are starving with a weak immune system and almost no hygiene.
For years, Cuba and the Cuban Jewish Community has depended on visitors coming from abroad. Although commercial flights have been limited at this point, Cargo flights are still flying in and out Havana. All passengers arriving to Cuba are allowed to bring up to 120 Kgs of medications, food, and hygienic products duty free. At this point, we can only be able to survive with any single help coming from abroad.”
The Savannah Jewish Federation Board of Governors allocated $1000 to ORT directed to Cuban relief. You can contribute to this donation by clicking here and we will send the donations received on to ORT. (Be sure click the tribute gift button & indicate that the donation is for Cuba, not a campaign pledge)
Through the Savannah Jewish Federation and our partner agencies, there has also been much work going on to handle the other crises that occurred this week. We wanted to take this opportunity to share with you a few of the agencies and what you can do to help.
We are heartbroken by the news of Haiti's devastating earthquake, which has killed hundreds of people, left thousands more injured and destroyed thousands of homes. the underlying shortage of healthcare workers, impassable roads, and political turmoil have made the situation even more catastrophic. Jewish Federations are collectively supporting relief efforts through the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), which is providing critically-needed medical supplies to local hospitals treating the wounded. Through our partnership with JDC, Federations provide a Jewish response to international humanitarian emergencies wherever they happen. JDC has sent up a direct link to help earthquake victims in Haiti.
We watch the news from Afghanistan with deep distress as the Taliban has effectively taken control of the country. Grief and fear are running throughout the country and around the world. We are particularly concerned right now about the most at-risk Afghans, including human rights and women’s rights advocates and other leaders, journalists, and activists who have vocally opposed Taliban-dictated norms.
As Jews we know firsthand the consequences of being granted or denied refuge. HAIS is working to help these refugees. Their mission is “Drawing on our Jewish values and history, HIAS provides vital services to refugees and asylum seekers around the world and advocates for their fundamental rights so they can rebuild their lives.” You can join their call to action or support their work here.
The Savannah Jewish Federation and our partner agencies are always aware of what is happening & always there to help – and we know you are too.
Director of Community Impact