Victims of Terror Update & Goals

Since our last update December 7, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has continued to focus on three goals:

  1. Helping the families of victims, those who were injured and the many people traumatized by the attack
  2. Bringing the community together to mourn and to begin the healing process
  3. Making sure we remain safe and secure

Progress Towards These Goals

The Jewish Federation’s Board of Directors approved $100,000 from the Jewish Federation’s own Emergency Reserve Fund for cash assistance to victims and for other attack-related expenses so that no money came from the Victims of Terror Fund.

An independent distribution committee, comprising some of the most respected civic leaders in Pittsburgh, is now in the process of determining an equitable distribution of donated money, with the highest level of oversight, and with the input of the congregations affected. Many of these individuals and organizations have already provided input. See our press release for more on this committee.

The Jewish Federation has also played a critical role in many areas. Some highlights:

  • Until money can be distributed equitably, the Jewish Federation guaranteed loans from Hebrew Free Loan for victims’ families and injured parties.
  • Jewish Federation maintains a list of ongoing resources and publicizes counseling opportunities.
  • Jewish Federation has distributed most of the donations of goods and services donated.
  • We continue to organizing volunteers and support-service providers, including rabbis.
  • The Jewish Federation brought together community members for a community Shloshim to observe the traditional end of the 30-day period of mourning.
  • We are working with the Jewish Community Center (JCC), Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS) and other Pittsburgh organizations and government representatives to ensure that victims receive government-related sources of compensation if they are eligible.
  • We have established a separate Security Fund and a separate Community Resilience Fund because some donors chose to designate their money to community security or counseling instead of giving to the Victims of Terror Fund.
  • Our Jewish Community Security Director has added training sessions and building assessments for numerous organizations and synagogues, improving security for thousands of people since Oct. 27.

Important resources and projects on which the Jewish Federation is working:

  • Assessing needs of partner agencies stemming from the attack
  • Arranging relief and counseling for rabbis and Jewish clergy
  • Publicizing counseling and help resources
  • Supporting JFCS and JCC programs for people experiencing grief and trauma
  • Applying for grants and working with foundations that may be able to help with Jewish community resiliency
  • Providing input as one of many organizations to the independent distribution committee
  • Handling ongoing Jewish organization security assessments
  • Performing security training for the many Jewish organizations requesting help
  • Coordinating with first responders to keep Jewish Pittsburgh safe
  • Advising the three congregations who worshiped in the Tree of Life Building: Dor Hadash, New Light and Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha congregations
  • Ensuring accuracy and transparency for donated funds
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