Supporting OJC After Hurricane Sandy

It has been almost 2 months since Hurricane Sandy played havoc on our homes and lives.  Whether waiting for your children to be dismissed from religious school or attending a Kiddush following Shabbat services, we find comfort in having the time to discuss with other families how we are doing and even offer advice and suggestions to continue our progress in getting back to normal.  A significant percentage of our members faced devastating damage to their homes and property. Yet we are also grateful. Responses such as “I’m so lucky, others had it worse” or “Thank God we’re all OK, that’s what really counts” are typical.

We were fortunate at the Oceanside Jewish Center. Other than being without power, the synagogue did not sustain any physical damage. A ‘warming center’ was set up quickly upon power being restored.  Clothing and other items were donated, collected and distributed to and from OJC.  Computers and wireless internet were provided.  Many families volunteered by being around to talk and help each other.  Our Rabbis and leadership stayed in touch with the congregation and provided helpful information to our members through the website and regular emails and members shared stories and suggestions on Facebook. They called or contacted the majority of the members of the synagogue. Members reached out to other members and gave assistance and support.  OJC has also been involved in serving the larger community, providing supplies to those in need and space for the Friedberg JCC for its afterschool and senior programming.

But because of how significantly our community was affected by Hurricane Sandy, our synagogue was affected by Hurricane Sandy, even if one can’t see the damage.  We were already facing a serious financial crisis, but now we find ourselves facing a ‘fiscal cliff’ of our own.  Many of OJC’s families are facing their own financial crisis and may have difficulty paying synagogue dues and nursery school tuition. We’ve always had a policy of working with families unable to pay in full and this will certainly be no exception.

But as we quickly approach the New Year we are asking for your help. If you are able to do so, your tax deductible contribution would go a long way in helping us maintain our programs and services at OJC for the coming year. We hope you will consider making a donation of your own. We also hope you will forward this on to friends and families outside our community who may not have been affected, but who want to be there for those who have been. This is another way they can help; sponsoring Jewish membership and tuition for those who are struggling to recover from the devastating storm. This would not only help OJC, but directly affect and improve our community and all of the good we try to do week in and week out.

OJC has been a strong presence for the Oceanside community for over 60 years.  As committed members, we accept the responsibility to maintain and keep our doors open.  It is a very challenging job to do.  Our Jewish community would be impoverished if OJC had to initiate significant cuts in its programs.

On behalf of the Officers and Board of Trustees, we thank you very much for anything you can do to support OJC and wish you all a happy New Year.

Willie Gurman and Rabbi Greenspan