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News Brief


A fund established by the Jewish community to assist victims of wildfires in Southern California collected $35,000 in its first day.

The United Jewish Federation of San Diego County, the Jewish Community Foundation and the Jewish Family Service of San Diego established the fund.

The fires have forced nearly 1 million people from their homes.

San Diego County, with about 100,000 Jews, has been hardest hit, with 14 fires raging. About 350,000 people have been evacuated from their homes. The Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in La Jolla has been evacuated and incurred some smoke damage, according to Michael Sonduck, chief operating officer of the San Diego federation.

The residents of the Jewish Sea Crest retirement villages in Rancho Bernardo and Encinitas were voluntarily evacuated. Two of the San Diego area’s 40 synagogues were evacuated, and a number remain in fire zones, but it is still not known whether any of them have been damaged, according to Sonduck.

The area’s largest Jewish community, in and around Los Angeles, where some 550,000 Jews live, seems relatively unscathed so far, according to officials at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. The Jewish community in Orange County, south of Los Angeles, also has been relatively unharmed, according to Chelle Friedman, director of the planning and funding council for the Jewish Federation of Orange County.

Though the Orange County JCC has canceled outdoor activities, the federation there has received no reports of damage to any of the area’s 37 synagogues, three day schools or other Jewish institutions.

Communal leaders in San Diego met via teleconference Tuesday morning to discuss how the Jewish community should deal with the wildfires.

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