Philadelphia organizations provide ways to help in Israel

TaRhonda Thomas Image
Thursday, October 12, 2023
Philadelphia organizations provide ways to help in Israel
Philadelphia organizations provide ways to help in Israel

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Hillary Levine has been spending her days in much the same way as many people around the world who are worried about the war in Israel.

"I've really been glued to my phone (and) the internet," she says of her search for up-to-the-minute information on the developing situation.

She gets the information and the images of the destruction of war, but has a hard time making sense of it all.

"It's painful and it's truly devastating and horrific," she said. "I have so many dear friends in Israel. And many who live in the Gaza border."

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Levine feels what many do while watching the attacks on Israel.

"There's a certain helplessness that you can feel, however, there's also a lot that you can do," she said.

Levine knows because she's associate director of the American Jewish Committee in Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. The nonprofit American Jewish Committee has organized an emergency campaign to raise money to help in Israel.

"Every single dollar raised for this campaign will go directly to organizations on the ground," she said.

The same can be said for a fundraising campaign by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, which is also giving 100% of the money raised in its emergency campaign to organizations in Israel.

The Jewish Federation has existing relationships with those organizations and groups that are providing for the most immediate needs of people in the war zone.

"For Jewish people, this is probably the biggest tragedy since the Holocaust," said Jeffrey Lasday, senior chief of external affairs for the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

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The federation's relief efforts also help a region of Israel that has close ties to Philadelphia.

"Philadelphia has a sister region in Israel," said Lasday.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations Philadelphia chapter is also doing its part working to get aid into Gaza.

"We are mobilizing friends and allies, trying to get relief to the people of Gaza," said Nagi Latefa of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

It took only 24 hours for the American Jewish Committee to raise $1 million to benefit Israel. Some donations were in multiples of 18, which is significant to the Jewish faith.

"Eighteen symbolizes chai, which means life in Hebrew," said Levine.

Unfortunately, as the war continues, so does the need for aid.

"Sadly, this is going to be the long haul," said Lasday

The organizations continue to help those impacted by the violence while hoping for peace. Another way they say you can help is by posting on social media to show solidarity with Israel.

"The enormous showing of solidarity has been so deeply meaningful," said Levine.