Federations to dole out $2.4 million in fire aid

NEW YORK (JTA) — The Jewish Federations of North America said the federation system will distribute $2.4 million to help Israel recover from the Carmel Mountain fire.

JFNA, the umbrella organization of the more than 150 Jewish federations in North America, made the announcement Monday.

The fires last week killed 44 people, scorched more than 10,000 acres of forest and burned 100 homes and structures, including much of the Yemin Orde Youth Village.

JFNA, said it will allocate $550,000 to the system’s partners on the ground in Israel, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israel Trauma Coalition. The umbrella group deployed an initial round of $340,000 on Monday for immediate relief efforts.

It is unclear how much of the $2.4 million was raised from individual donors responding to the fire and how much is coming from the reserves of individual federations. The response campaign received an early boost when the JUF-Jewish Federation of Greater Chicago pledged $500,000 of its own money just after the fire broke out two weeks ago. 

The initial money will help pay for activities during the wildfires, such as relief for evacuees, respite activities for youth, and trauma relief and professional support. These programs included the Jewish Agency for Israel’s respite day camps for 4,700 children from the Carmel Forest region; and Israel Trauma Coalition’s direct care of bereaved and injured families and first responders.

JFNA has set up a special Carmel Wildfire Allocations Committee that will research program proposals to address mid- and long-term needs created by the fire, such as programs of the JDC, Jewish Agency and the Israel Trauma Coalition, and will announce additional allocations based on those needs in the near future.

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