WASHINGTON – Jewish groups are launching hurricane relief funds to channel donations to those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

The storm tore through the eastern United States Monday, causing at least 30 deaths in North America, necessitating the evacuation of more than one million people and causing billions of dollars in damage to property and industry.

The main umbrella organization for American Jewish communities opened up the Jewish Federations of North America Hurricane Relief fund Tuesday to raise money for recovery and reconstruction efforts.

“The Jewish community and the Federation movement send our support and prayers to those affected by the hurricane, and we will stand beside them during the recovery and rebuilding,” JFNA President and CEO Jerry Silverman said in a statement announcing the new fund.

The group represents 155 Jewish federations across the United States and Canada.

The Union of Reform Judaism also started a relief effort to help communities struck by the devastating storm.

“Even as we work to determine the specific impact to URJ congregations and families, and to our larger communities, it is already clear – too clear – that this storm will require a long-term, coordinated recovery effort,” said Steve Sacks, chairman of the URJ’s North American Board.

He added that the URJ, which is the largest Jewish denomination in America, will be reaching out to all of its congregations on the east coast and midwest to determine the most immediate needs to address.

The organization said it would also work with local agencies to decide how to allocate the money raised.

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