Birmingham launches emergency campaign, already over $150,000

In response to the current situation in the Middle East, the Birmingham Jewish Federation is launching an emergency campaign in support of Israel.

Federation Executive Director Richard Friedman, who is in Israel with a United Jewish Communities Campaign Chairs and Directors Mission, consulted with Federation President Melba Epsman, Campaign Chairs Brenda and Fred Friedman, President-Elect Amy Saag and future Campaign Chairs Sheryl and Jon Kimerling in deciding to launch the campaign last night.

As of 10 a.m. today, $152,000 had already been raised.

The emergency campaign will deal in immediate contributions, not pledges. All funds will be distributed in consultation with UJC.

The UJC has already committed $1 million to send thousands of children from northern Israel – an area under bombardment by Hezbollah missiles – to summer camps in central Israel, getting them out of harm’s way and boosting their spirits.

Epsman said “We also know that there will be other needs stemming from this crisis, such as the need for additional camping sessions, trauma response personnel and other social services.”

The Federation encourages contributors to give at least what they gave to Hurricane Katrina relief last year. The Birmingham Jewish community contributed roughly $1 million toward that effort.

Numerous members of the Birmingham Jewish community are currently in Israel. Friedman met with Jamie Barstein and Betsy Tuck, who are on teen programs. Rabbi Jonathan Miller of Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El is in Israel visiting family.

Contributions may be sent to the Federation office, P.O. Box 130219, Birmingham, AL 35213. Checks should indicate the contribution is for “Freedom from Terror.” Those wishing to contribute stock should contact Tiffany Hyche at (205) 803-1513, or