Temple Israel Ner Tamid in Mayfield Heights will collect donations including new clothes, paper towels, flashlights, and personal-care items for Hurricane Sandy victims along the East Coast.

On Wednesday, Dec. 19, the 53-foot-long truck on the temple’s front lawn will be loaded up with appropriately sorted donation items and sent off for distribution. The deadline for donations is Tuesday, Dec. 18.

In September 2005, the temple held a similar relief effort for Hurricane Katrina victims, sending six semi-trailer trucks to a synagogue in Louisiana, a church in Mississippi and a civic center in Alabama.

This time around has been more challenging, said Rabbi Matt Eisenberg.

“When Hurricane Katrina happened, there was so much media coverage for a long time that it was kept in the forefront of people’s mind,” he said. “With Hurricane Sandy, there was a lot of news coverage for a few days, but it has not been sustained.”

The goal is to give Sandy victims “the basic needs to get them comfortable,” said Eisenberg, noting how important volunteers have been in sorting the donated items.

“That’s one of the biggest problems with relief efforts – if the people that donate just send a truck filled with bags of items, in about two hours the church gymnasium looks like a laundry basket,” he said. “The thing about gathering items for people after disasters is you need to sort them and label them very clearly – a box of girls’ T-shirts, a box of boys’ shoes, a box of blankets – so when it arrives at the location, people know what’s in each box.”

Eisenberg said his synagogue is cutting through bureaucracy by providing new items directly to people in need.

B’NAI JESHURUN: Atid, the congregation’s 20s and 30s group, will host a vodka and latkes Shabbat dinner at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 14. The event will feature a homemade Shabbat dinner and vodka and is free and open to all Jewish people in their 20s and 30s in the Cleveland community. Seating is limited. RSVP to Anne Muskin at annemuskin@bnaijeshurun.org or online at http://vodkalatkesshabbatdinner.eventbrite.com. Guests also can help prepare the meal between 6 and 9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 13.

PARK: The synagogue will host a family Shabbat and Chanukah moon service at 6 p.m., Friday, Dec. 14, at its East campus location. A “hot and hearty” Chanukah oneg will follow the service. Congregants can celebrate the full moon of Chanukah with klezmer music, food and gifts for all children 12 and under. The event is free and open to all congregants. RSVP required by today (Dec. 7) to Abby Halpern at ahalpern@parksyn.org or 216-371-2244 ext. 160. Park Synagogue East is at 27500 Shaker Blvd. in Pepper Pike.


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