As Deadline Approaches, Agudath Israel Urges Jewish Non-Profits to File for FEMA Public Assistance

By Judith Dinowitz. Agudath Israel urges all synagogues, yeshivas, day schools, and other Jewish religious institutions that were impacted by Hurricane Sandy to apply for public disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) before the December 30, 2012 deadline. Under certain conditions, these entities are eligible to receive such federal aid for reconstruction and other purposes. Application packets offer more complete details regarding eligibility and are available online at

Ira Grossman, FEMA Jewish Relations Community Outreach liaison, acknowledged to the Orthodox Jewish group that certain questions relating to damage assessment and reimbursement of a particular religious institution may not be determined or resolved before the December 30th deadline. For that reason, Agudath Israel strongly advises that all religious institutions apply as soon as possible and preserve their claims should a basis for disaster relief be found later on to exist.

Rabbi Abba Cohen, Agudath Israel’s Vice President of Federal Affairs and Washington Director, said that his office has raised the issue with the White House and has been in close contact with top officials at the Department of Homeland Security (the cabinet agency that includes FEMA) to ensure that all eligible Jewish non-profit institutions get the help they need to recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. “Unfortunately, there has been some confusion and misinformation in the community. Synagogues and religious schools are currently eligible for FEMA assistance as long as certain criteria are met. Considering the extent of damage and claims, and the questions FEMA has to sort through, it could be a long process. Jewish institutions should file their applications now in order to preserve their claims.”

Rabbi Yehiel M. Kalish, National Director of Government Affairs for Agudath Israel, has been involved in relief efforts since Hurricane Sandy wreaked its havoc, working with synagogues, schools and other non-profits. He said, “These organizations are dealing with so many day-to-day challenges that a deadline like this may be forgotten in the shuffle. This reminder is vital, as the money will help many of these organizations get back on their feet and continue serving their communities.” TLS.

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  1. who can you recommend to help a family in need to get on their feet again monetarily due to hurricane Sandy? they don’t live in the new York area. thank you for your help.

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