FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK, NY, March 3, 2011 – The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is working with the Jewish community of Christchurch, New Zealand to aid survivors of the city’s devastating earthquake. JDC funding will contribute to Christchurch Jewish community efforts to repair a damaged local synagogue and homes, replace household goods, provide financial stipends and temporary relocation costs, and support community-service or children’s programs for the wider community.
“As we extend our deepest sympathies to the families of Christchurch locals and Israelis lost in the earthquake, we’re cooperating with the Jewish community to ensure that people on the ground can start to rebuild their lives. As we have done in the past, JDC is delivering much-needed assistance to Jews and others in the wake of a disaster,” said JDC CEO Steven Schwager.
In addition to lost property, damaged homes, and businesses, the Jewish community’s synagogue was damaged and the Chabad House was destroyed by the 6.3 earthquake that struck on February 22. Christchurch, New Zealand’s second largest city, is located in the Canterbury Province which is home to 600 Jews. Jewish settlement in the region dates back to the early 1860’s.
“It means a lot to us to know that we are not forgotten, even though we are just a small community far away,” said Bettina Wallace, acting president of the Canterbury Hebrew Congregation.