JEN WORKERS hand out food 311.
(photo credit: Jen)
KOBE, Japan – The Jewish community of Japan on Friday released photos of relief
efforts it helped fund in the disaster-stricken north of the country, where
hundreds of thousands of people remain homeless following last week’s earthquake
and tsunami. At least 7,000 people have been killed, and another 10,000 are
RELATED:Japan’s Jews pitch in on disaster relief
Philip Rosenfled, treasurer of the community in Tokyo, said that
the country’s 2,500 Jews – together with the American Jewish Joint Distribution
Committee – have raised $35,000 to provide food and shelter for the
“The Jewish Community of Japan is comprised largely of American,
European and Israeli expatriates, but we are also part of the broader Japanese
community and want to do everything that we can to help in this time of need,”
The community has donated the money to JEN, a local NGO
involved in the relief effort.
Meanwhile, in Kobe, about 400 kilometers
southwest of Tokyo, Israeli expats from the northern part of the country told
participants of their ordeal Friday at a Shabbat dinner at the Ohel Shelomoh
“After the earthquake, a helicopter appeared over my house and
they shouted ‘Tsunami! Tsunami! Tsunami!’ through speakers,” Ariel Meirson, who
lives in Sendai, recalled. “I heard the warning and rushed to find my landlord,
but he was nowhere to be seen.
Then I ran outside, but nobody was home or
on the street either. Finally, I found someone who told me they were all taking
cover at the local school on the third floor so that the water won’t reach
Meirson joined his neighbors at the school where they waited in
the dark, bracing for the tsunami to come. Luckily, it never did.
waters stopped rising a few hundred meters away from them – but the crushing
wave took much of the the neighborhood with it.
“People there are
fighting for their lives,” said Meirson, who escaped by driving cross country,
and is now being hosted by Rabbi David Gingold at the synagogue in Kobe. “If the
earthquake and tsunami didn’t get them, than the cold and hunger will.”