Jewish Community, Israeli Consulate, Spring to Action After Shocking Miami Tragedy
Local Miami Jewish community makes call for food, clothing and other necessities; Israel sends assistance.
By United With Israel Staff
Following the shocking collapse of a 12-story building in the Jewish neighborhood of Surfside in Miami, Jewish communities sprang into action.
According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Surfside area of Miami is home to 6,000 Jews, many of whom are associated with the Chabad Lubavitch movement.
It is not known how many people were in the Champlain Tower when it collapsed without warning at 2:00 AM on Thursday. Local reports say the building contained 130 apartments.
One person has been confirmed dead while 35 people have so far been pulled from the rubble. Nearly 100 others remain unaccounted for.
According to the Israeli consulate in Miami, dozens of the missing are believed to have Israeli citizenship.
“Everybody is calling anything and anywhere looking for their loved ones. Their loved ones are not answering their phone calls, or they haven’t heard from them,” Jewish community activist Yona Lunger told Miami’s Channel 7 News. “So they’re reaching out to any phone number wherever they can and however they can. The search-and-rescue [crews], God willing, will bring back their loved ones in one piece.”
COLLive, a local Orthodox web site, published the names of dozens of people needing prayers. The Hebrew names indicated that parents and children are missing together.
Jewish search and rescue workers are helping comb the wreckage of the Champlain Towers.
Hatzalah of South Florida, a Jewish volunteer emergency response organization, established a command center, according to a tweet by the New York-based Chevrah Hatzalah.
A nearby Bal Harbour synagogue has already raised $240,000 for survivors. Congregation leaders said the most-needed items are new underwear and shorts for men and women, socks, reading glasses, deodorant and garbage bags. Chabad also put out a call for donations of blankets, toiletries and toys.
The Greater Miami Jewish Federation is setting up an emergency fund to assist survivors.
Israel’s consulate is also providing assistance. “We bought medications, a couple thousand dollars worth of medications for Hatzalah,” newly-appointed Consul-General Maor Elbaz Starinsky told the Miami Herald.
And Israel’s United Hatzalah will be sending a team from its Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit to assist survivors.
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