Japan’s Jews pitch in on disaster relief
LAST UPDATED: 03/15/2011 15:55
"American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee gave grant of $10,000, efforts now towards fund raising from own members and overseas."
The destroyed city of Natori, northern Japan Photo: REUTERS
The Jewish community in Japan scrambled to raise funds and distribute aid on
Tuesday to the beleaguered northwestern part of the country, which was
devastated by an earthquake and tsunami on Friday and is now under serious
threat of radiation contamination from three faulty nuclear reactors in the
“The Jewish community in Japan is doing all it can to assist in
relief efforts,” said Philip Rosenfeld, treasurer of the Jewish community in
Tokyo. “The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee just gave a very
generous grant of $10,000. Our efforts at the moment are toward fundraising from
our own members and overseas.”
Rosenfeld said the community had picked
NGO Jen as its partner, an organization involved in “distributing food supplies
to disaster victims and necessary supplies.”
The Chabad movement also
announced it was funding food deliveries to survivors of the disaster through
its Chabad House in Tokyo.
“Chabad of Japan commissioned a bakery in
Sendai to bake bread for residents of Sendai and surrounding areas – supplies
for the bakery are being transported to Sendai as well,” a spokesman
The situation has gone from bad to worse in Japan in recent days,
after radiation leaks were detected in three nuclear power plants in the
Fukushima region north of Tokyo. Israel’s ambassador to Japan advised Israelis
who were not there on urgent business to leave the country after radiation
levels jumped to six times their normal rate in Tokyo on Tuesday.
nuclear scientist specializing in safety at nuclear reactors told The Jerusalem
Post that the normal rate of exposure to radiation that emanates naturally,
mostly from the ground, is 100 millirems per year. Workers at nuclear
installations are considered within the safety limit if they are exposed to a
maximum of 3,000 millirems per year.
The Israeli scientist, who asked not
to be named, said that if the radiation levels in Tokyo stood at an annual rate
of 600 millirems, it should not pose a significant threat to public
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said a radiation
dose level of 11.9 millisieverts (mSv) per hour had been observed at the main
gate of the plant at 12 a.m. on Tuesday. Six hours later, the rate had declined
to 0.6 mSv.
The IAEA uses the unit to measure doses of radiation that
The United Nations weather agency said winds were
dispersing radioactive material over the ocean, and there was no danger for
Japan or the region.
“A lot of it depends on the sort of exposure,” the
scientist said. “If it is inhaled, which is the most dangerous sort of exposure,
or if it sticks to clothing. At the moment, from what I understand, the hysteria
isn’t reflective of the radiation exposure. But all that can
Many Tokyo residents decided not to take the risk and fled south
in case the winds blew the radiation their direction.
to this report.