Phew…it “missed us,” again.  Hurricane Idalia basically made its way around Savannah with some localized flooding, a few roof issues, and some trees uprooted.  The most that we were affected was with the loss of power for many of us, but GA Power seemed primed and ready with most of us having electricity restored within hours of the storm.  We got lucky, again.

When storms threaten the area, it feels like it’s “every man for themselves.”  We hear it on the radio, TV, and the internet: Make YOUR emergency kit, have YOUR emergency plan, what will YOU do?  Are YOU prepared?  And it’s true, we each have a responsibility to ourselves and our families.

Yet, who is there for the Holocaust survivors in our community?  As the storm approached I had outreach from Anat Granath, Atlanta’s JFS Holocaust Survivor Services clinician telling me that she had spoken to our area survivors, but she was worried about what we would do if the storm hit.  I assured her that we were here locally to do whatever it took to take care of them.

It wasn’t two hours later when I received a call from Israel Consul General Anat Sultan-Dadon asking how the community was “weathering” the storm and asking if there was anything she could do for Savannah and the area.  I thanked her for her concern and told her we’d be sure to contact her if there was anything we needed.

On Tuesday we received communication from Jewish Federations of North America offering their support for “whatever we needed” and to assure us, like they always are, they would be there at the end of the storm to help those affected by the hurricane.

That same day, I heard from Mark Young, the Director of J Reponse (JCCA’s network of trained folks who go in to communities under duress to assist) asking “to let JCCA know how things are and if they could be supportive.” I heard from Mark again later on Wednesday to inquire how we were affected.  I assured him that the impact was ‘minimal and manageable’ and thanked him for his support.

During the day on Wednesday I heard from folks asking if we should evacuate and many others who were calling to see if the JEA would be open on Thursday (we were open at 6am on Thursday to serve our members and families who needed childcare).

Prior to the storm, we reached out to the community (via email) twice, directing them to some of the sites that had information to stay up to date.  In talking with Brett Butler, our Community Security Director, we realized that we should have one site, one page, that has all the information our community would need in the event of a natural occurrence.  We spend part of Wednesday (it was a good exercise while we were out of the building) assembling a fairly exhaustive list, and on Thursday morning, we created the web page as part of our Security initiative.  We hope that it will be an ongoing resource to and for the community.  You can access it by clicking here and always find it by going to the Federation’s site and linking to our Security page.

In a week where we each felt alone and vulnerable, we received an excellent reminder, that we are never alone.  We’ve created the community, the organizations and the infrastructure to address whatever challenges confront us.

Thank you to everyone that reached out and “Phew,” glad that one went on by.

Shabbat Shalom 

Wishing you a safe Labor Day Holiday Weekend,