By Stephen Steiner
OU Director of Public Relations
Heartbroken and dismayed, but aware of the needs that the slaughter in Newtown, CT has left for the survivors, the Orthodox Union today announced its contributions to two philanthropic funds, in fulfillment of the sacred Jewish custom of Tzedakah, or charitable acts.
The OU will contribute to Noah’s Ark of Hope Fund and United Way of Western Connecticut’s Sandy Hook School Support Fund.
Noah’s Ark of Hope Fund was established by the family of Noah Pozner, 6, who was the youngest child to die in the massacre last Friday. Donations are for “an irrevocable trust specifically for Noah’s four surviving siblings,” including a twin sister, two of whom were also in the school that day, in different classrooms. The funds received will be used “to provide counseling services, education and basic needs for the children in this time of grief,” according to the fund’s website.
In the words of the United Way of Western Connecticut’s website, the Sandy Hook School Support Fund has been established because “as people from our area and beyond respond to this heartbreaking tragedy, they are turning to United Way looking for ways to help. In response, United Way of Western Connecticut, in partnership with Newtown Savings Bank, has created the Sandy Hook School Support Fund that will be able to provide support services to the families and community that has been affected.”
Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, OU Executive Vice President, Emeritus declared, “Just weeks after the Orthodox Union established its Hurricane Sandy Emergency Relief Fund in response to the upheaval and misery deriving from an act of nature, we recognize the need now to contribute to funds established by others in response to a man-made act of devastation and death. These have been uniquely difficult times, with one tragedy following upon another. Jewish law and custom require us to respond with acts of Tzedakah, and we are proud to do so.”
“We mourn for the babies taken from their parents and siblings while they were still at a stage in life in which the world was wondrous to them, with new things learned and new ways to have fun experienced every day,” Rabbi Weinreb continued. “But we must not forget the teachers and administrators who were slaughtered while in the act of protecting their children -- no, not their children by birth, but their children by love. Jewish tradition holds the teaching profession to be the most noble of all professions, and we are so glad – and by no means surprised -- that the teachers of Sandy Hook lived up to the highest ideals of their profession. In the future, may those who have been critical of the teaching profession, as well as those who practice the profession, continue to remember the sacrifice of the Newtown educators.”
Rabbi Weinreb said, “Chanukah was just coming to an end when Noah Pozner was slain; we hope he had an opportunity to enjoy the candle lighting over the first six nights and his gifts as well. The Christian children were surely looking forward to Christmas, for their gifts and their family gatherings. Christmas is a holiday of lights and delights, a holiday that is now ruined for the mourning families and for Newtown as a whole.”
“Nevertheless, may the Divine light bring hope and consolation to the mourners, with its brightness serving as a pathway to better times and a better future. We know the memories of those who were so cruelly slain will last perpetually with their families. At the Orthodox Union, we pledge to remember them as well and to do acts of chesed (loving kindness) and Tzedakah in their behalf.”
The funds may be accessed as follows:
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