We at PEJE know that many day schools in the New York Metropolitan area, and along the Eastern Seaboard, have been devastated by Hurricane Sandy.
In an effort to support our weather-damaged schools, we call on you, the day school field. Let’s activate our social network of JDS and create, right now, an improvised program of school-to-school assistance.
How will this work?
(1) If your JDS has been affected by the hurricane, please let us know—in the Comments section below—how other schools can help. Be sure to post an email address so people can reach you.
(2) If your JDS is ready to respond to a school in need, write directly to the school and mention, in the Comments section, your desire to help. We will be tracking comments to try to ensure that all schools who ask for assistance receive it.
This is a chance to show our students, families, and communities, that we are all responsible for one another. Let’s take that chance—and do some good.
Thanks in advance to those of you who are ready to take action.
Note: While there are many ways to help schools that have been affected by Hurricane Sandy, we don’t want to focus on financial donations. Yes, money is vitally important here, but it’s not necessarily the ideal way for non-affected schools to show support. Instead, let’s use this forum, this network, to teach.
The fact is, many of our troubled schools are located in areas where power has not yet been restored and Internet connectivity is spotty. They aren’t online and plugged in and thus have not read about this project. Until these schools can fully communicate again, we must wait patiently.
In the meantime, let’s think with intentionality what non-affected schools can offer, and what our beleaguered East Cost schools might need. For instance:
• Have your students imagine how they would feel if their JDS were washed out—and then to express their feelings in letters and cards to affected schools. Send the results to PEJE—88 Broad Street, Sixth Floor, Boston, MA, 02110; or firstname.lastname@example.org—and we’ll see that they reach their destination.
• Do a survey of the most important materials in your school. Ask students to identify the most useful and/or meaningful items, and start collecting them for the Sandy-afflicted day schools.
Get thinking about how your JDS can perform gemilut hasadim (acts of loving-kindness) for schools that need the help. Then post your ideas—along with the necessary contact information—in the Comments section, and we can get working together.
Mazel Day School needs help: “Your support is amazing! Our school is located in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn – and all of our K-6 classrooms were badly damaged by the flood waters. We are the only Jewish Day School in the area which is predominantly Russian-speaking. We have an enrollment of 140 kids, mostly from non-affiliated families. The devastation is enormous. Imagine a classroom of books, papers, furniture, computers under 6 feet of water. We were able to save very little. You can see pictures here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151229705049802.478153.82692614801&type=1 as well as on the school website. We will be putting together a list of books, games and other learning materials that we will need to replace and that can be “gifted” to the school. Feel free to message me which any additional questions. Thank you so much! My email address is email@example.com.”
SAR Academy‘s Aaron Steinberg writes, “Here at SAR in Riverdale, NY, we’re dealing with a unique situation. Our HS has power, and had a regular day of school on Wednesday. Our lower school (N-8) is still without power, but we plan on holding classes on Thursday.
Our students will be divided by grade, and classes will take place in 3 different neighborhood synagogues and in our High School building. While this is an experiment, and it’s unclear how well classes will run in these makeshift spaces, the decision was made that some school is better than no school.
I’ll try to remember to update this comment tomorrow at the end of the day (Ken, can you remind me?) but it might be something to consider for other area schools that are without power. Find partner organizations in the area that do have power and see if you can make it work.
Stay safe out there.”
11.2. 2012, 11:20 a.m. I just got off the phone with one Rabbi Tomsky, who says that his school, Yeshiva of Belle Harbor, in Belle Harbor, New York, was totally destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. The rabbi asks for anyone with leads for qualified teachers to get in touch with him: firstname.lastname@example.org or 347.628.7494 (texting might be easier than leaving voice mail). Thank you and Shabbat Shalom.
11.5.2012. The Jewish Week reports that, “at an emergency meeting on Saturday night, a group of parents and organizations pledged to keep the Yeshiva of Belle Harbor operating, from a new location in Brooklyn. The school will no longer merge with the Crown Heights Yeshiva, but will be an independent school. Leaders plan to secure a location and open school there in the next few days.”
Check out and/or fill in the “Post-Sandy Synagogue and Day School Response” Google Doc.
I have heard that there are families who are in serious crisis, with loss of homes, cars, etc. There will be a conference call meeting of the leadership of the SSLI Chesed Committee, the purpose of which is to mobilize within our community and within the National Schechter Network. There are Schechter schools across the country that want to be of assistance to our families who have been badly hit by the Hurricane, and parents of alumni who have offered use of their empty-nest homes for families who need a place to stay while repairs are made.
Solomon Schechter of Long Island needs help. Contact either Head of School Cindy Dolgin (email@example.com or 516-935-1441 ext. 1107) or Executive Director Eileen Bohrer (firstname.lastname@example.org or 516-935-1441 ext. 1131).
11.19.2012. From our friends at The AVI CHAI Foundation‘s JDS Video Academy:
“Use your video skills to rally our schools and communities
to tell those in need ‘We’re here to help!’
Here’s how you can express your support:
2. If your school is already working to help, document your efforts! Create a short video to show your students writing letters or collecting items to donate or helping clear out flooded homes.
3. For ideas on how help, go to PEJE’s blog: http://www.peje.org/blog/?p=1700.
4. Upload the video to your YouTube channel.
5. Post the link to the JDSVA Facebook group and share it through all of your online channels. We’ll create a playlist of all the videos on a special Youtube channel.
In the midst of this disaster it is easy for people to feel alone. Let’s tell them they are not alone in this.”___11.21.2012. The New York Times has posted a color-coded map of the flooding in N.Y.C. after the hurricane. A good way to show your students the geography of Sandy’s devastation.
11.27.2012. Just forwarded a list, from the decimated Yeshivah of Belle Harbor, of books and materials needed. Y.B.H.’s mailing address is:
1649 East 13 St.
12.6.2012. From The Jewish Education Project’s Give One Night project:
“In the wake of Superstorm Sandy’s destruction, many Jewish children lost possessions, including their toys and games. This Chanukah, we can turn a holiday traditionally marked by ‘getting’ into one of ‘giving.’
Here’s how you can teach your children the beauty of Tzedakah (charity) and Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) while participating in this act of giving together:
Give: Find a toy drive near you
Teach: Download guides for parents to help make this a powerful moment for your children and teens (at any age)
Share: Use social media tools to inspire others to give-share the light online!”