One of my classmates from my graduate program in Jewish Communal Services was born and raised in Turkey. I sent him a message earlier this week to check on his family. His response was:
Most of my family is very far from these events on the northwest side of country. I have a few distant cousins in the disaster area, they seem to be safe but without any safe living quarters. They are currently in rescue tents. It is very difficult to communicate due to downed power and cell phone infrastructures. There was a very small but long surviving Jewish community in Antioch. Most of them are evacuated to western part of the country, except my cousin who wanted to accompany his wife and her family that lost several people to earthquake.
His message made this natural disaster much more personal to me.
As I write this email, an unimaginable 21,000 people are dead. Last night’s CBS Evening News, showing video of the devastation and death, featured an uplifting clip of an Israeli rescue team removing survivors from the rubble. It gives me a positive feeling that in the face of such horror, the only Jewish state in the world is playing such a critical role in Pikuach Nefesh, saving lives.
The Jewish Federations of North America has opened “a box” to raise needed dollars to fund our overseas partners on the ground in Turkey. Join me in helping to support this effort by donating online.