The Chabad Center of Oklahoma has received $15,000 in disaster-relief funds from the Orthodox Union after it was hit hard by the devastating tornado that recently shoot the area.
The organization began distributing the funds, which were received on Friday afternoon before Shabbat, over the Memorial Day weekend and throughout the week.
“On behalf of those here in Oklahoma who will receive this help, my thanks go to all of the OU members and friends who were so generous in a time of real need,” said Rabbi Ovadia Goldman, director of the Chabad center, who said the money will be used for store gift cards and cash relief to area residents whose homes were destroyed.
Chabad, which opened its own center as a shelter, and has been collecting and distributing supplies for displaced families and the elderly.
“I think we really reached out in a lot of ways to Chabad because we knew Chabad was on the ground really in force and helping people, and that was clear,” said Rabbi Judah Isaacs, director of community engagement for the Orthodox Union. “What we did is we sent funds that could be used for the gift cards that they’re handing out. And we knew that was something that needed to be done immediately.”
The OU’s appeal was posted on the national organization’s website, as well as on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. OU President Martin Nachimson welcomed the response from OU members and from others. He has asked for continued action from the community to help disaster victims, and said the organization will check in with Goldman over the course of the coming week.
“Both for Chabad and the Orthodox Union, these relief efforts constitute a true 'kiddush Hashem', a sanctification of God’s name,” said Nachimson, “and it is highly appropriate that we have transmitted these funds in the hours before Shabbat.”