AUSTRALIA’S Jewish community has rallied in the face of the bushfire crisis, donating an estimated $6 million and helping in a myriad of other ways.
Just one week after a Victorian communal appeal was launched to assist victims of the state’s bushfires, more than $2.5 million has been raised with the figure rising by the hour.
The total so far does not include substantial donations from some of the state’s leading philanthropic families, nor does it include dollar-for-dollar pledges made by other major funders within the community.
Urging those who haven’t given yet to do so, David Smorgon, who helped spearhead the Jewish Community Council of Victoria’s Victorian Jewish Bushfire Relief Appeal, said, “I’m sure that as always the Victorian Jewish community will stand up and help those fellow Victorians who are in dire straits.”
— Vic Alhadeff (@VicAlhadeff) January 14, 2020
In New South Wales, an appeal that ran late last year organised by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) and Stand Up raised almost $600,000.
A new campaign launched last week has, as of press time, raised more than $170,000.
Reflecting on donations from across the country, JBOD CEO Vic Alhadeff estimated, “Collectively – both organisationally and through the generosity of individual philanthropists – the Jewish community has contributed over $6 million for bushfire relief to date.”
The community hasn’t just been giving money. Individuals and groups have been organising collections of vital goods, and even youngsters have been doing their bit to help organise fundraising initiatives such as bake sales.
Meanwhile, army chaplain Rabbi Dovid Gutnick of East Melbourne Hebrew Congregation has been on the front line, offering support to those directly affected by the bushfires.