This Passover, the focus is on Haiti

by Eduardo Bialostozky

 Many will emphasize helping victims of recent quake; apps available to tell religious story

In a bid to encourage Jews to weave the tragedy in Haiti into their recollections of the exodus from slavery in ancient Egypt, a nonprofit organization motivated by Judaism's imperative to pursue justice has created a new reading for Passover, which begins with the Seder on Monday night.

At the festive meal when families read the Haggadah that tells the Passover story, the American Jewish World Service wants them to consider the need for food, shelter and medical care in the Caribbean nation leveled by the Jan. 12 earthquake.

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AJWS grantees in the Dominican Republic respond to the crisis in Haiti

by Eduardo Bialostozky

Following the earthquake in Haiti, AJWS grantees mobilized caravans to bring aid from the Dominican Republic to Haiti. They were among the first responders bringing aid across the border into Port-au-Prince and neighboring affected areas. To watch the video, click above.

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World Jewish Relief Launches Programs in Haiti

by Eduardo Bialosotzky

With the search and rescue phase of the Haiti earthquake response over, many of the emergency field hospitals have flown in and flown out, their work now complete. There is no longer an urgent need to rescue the buried and count the dead, though huge unmet humanitarian need remains. The emphasis for international aid agencies now shifts to help the living survive, recover and rebuild their lives in a sustainable way particularly with the collapse of all government services and infrastructure.

As a result, World Jewish Relief is beginning an operational partnership with the international medical aid agency, Merlin which will include the recruitment of medical and technical personnel from the UK Jewish community to Haiti to assist with the relief programs for six month placements.

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by Eduardo Bialostozky

Canadian Govt. to Match Over $1 Million
Raised by Canadian Federations 
Feb. 12, 2010

The Jewish Federation movement is working diligently with our partners to bring emergency aid to victims of the recent Haiti earthquake and to address longer-term needs the struggling nation faces as well.

To date, the Jewish Federations have raised more than $4.8 million for Haiti relief. Of that, Canadian Federations have raised over $1.3 million Canadian dollars ($1.2 million U.S.) In addition, the Canadian government has pledged to match the Canadian Federation funds (FAQ about matching funds). Among the Canadian communities, UJA-Federation of Toronto alone has raised $800,000 Canadian dollars ($761,875 U.S.) from more than 5,000 donors.

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Preventing Migration Aftershock for Haiti

by Eduardo Bialostozky

By: Mark Hetfield, HIAS Senior Vice President for Policy and Programs

Haiti -- a beautiful country, people and culture -- was no stranger to tragedy, even before the earthquake of 2010. In the years since I left Haiti in 1994, prolonged episodes of political strife have been coupled with eight natural disasters, with massive property damage and loss of life.

These political and natural catastrophes pushed tens of thousands of Haitians to escape to the United States by any means -- legal or otherwise. And the United States has long taken extraordinary means -- themselves of dubious legality under international law -- to stem such migration. Not the least among these is the "shout test" -- the U.S. policy to return all Haitian boat migrants without any asylum screening whatsoever, except those who physically or verbally resist the Coast Guard's efforts to return them.

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