Chabad Hurricane Relief Effort


Hurricane WILMA Relief -Nov. 3, 2005
Flash Slideshow: In the Dark of the Storm - Oct. 11, 5:40 pm
Rabbi Chaim on National TV
Our doors remained opened - Sept. 28, 2:20 pm
President's Remarks about NO Relief Effort
From Our Mailbox - Sept. 20, 10:30 am
Shabbaton in Baton Rouge  - Sept. 18, 5:00 pm
Chabad joins White House Call - Sept. 15, 5:30 pm
Updated quick list of efforts - Sept. 13, 3:20 pm
New Pictures Uploaded - Sept. 11, 10:00 pm
Notes from the front lines - Sept. 8, 9:08 pm
Quick list of efforts - Sept. 8, 1:15 pm
Evacuee Job Opportunities
Donation of Goods Opportunities
Photo Gallery Uploaded - Sept. 2, 1:15 pm
Volunteer Thank you - Sept. 1, 9:50 am
Prayer Service & Lecture - Aug. 31, 5:15 pm
Emergency Letter - Aug. 30, 4:30 pm
Donation Information

The Nationally Televised 25th Chabad Telethon
Rabbi Chaim appeared on a nationally broadcasted TV show from Los Angeles, CA this past Sunday. Rabbi Chaim was interviewed by Dennis Prager and danced the Horah with Kareen Abdul-Jabar. More at Some pictures to be posted on Hurricane photo gallery.
To see a recording of the TV show
click here. For the section with Rabbi Chaim forward to 1:19:00

For photos see the Hurricane Photo Gallery

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Our doors remained open

When Chabad recognized the displaced persons issue from the hurricane Rita evacuation we launched a country wide campaign through the Chabad network that anyone who knows anyone that is on the road, let them know that there is an address to turn to among the eleven Chabad branches in Texas and over 900 throughout the country. This is a promo on that appeared throughout the country:

Our phones were ringing off the hook giving people information for Shabbat, Kosher food and things as simple as directions and guidance to buy water, flashlights etc.
Chabad Lubavitch Center and the Chabad House at TMC were the from the only synagogues that had a minyan throughout the weekend and on Shabbat morning. We had 15 families seeking shelter on Friday night in our Shul made of brick with no windows that is essentially a building within a building.
In addition the Aishel House absorbed patients and their families (2 families; five people) that had nowhere else to go as other places closed down for the weekend and they still needed to be near the hospitals.
Read an article here.


From Our Mailbox
Sept. 20, 1:30 pm


    I am living here in Baton Rouge and I would just like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the help that several Chabad from Houston have given us here after Katrina.  I am originally from Houston and to see many familiar faces here in Louisiana just makes my heart sing.

Thank you from me and my husband.



Hi Danny,

I hear from Rivka that you are doing incredible work. Yashar Koach!

Thank you,

Michal, Stamford, CT

May Hashem bless all of you with the strength to continue your efforts for the displaced

Miriam, Northern Indiana


Dear Daniel Gavin,

Thank you for your hospitality.  It is greatly appriciated at this time.  My family would like to meet with you when you are able.

[A New Orleans Evacuee]

SHALOM to Daniel.

Thank you very much for taking some time and help to the others.
This is a really  big ''Mitzva''  to us, the broken souls after this disaster.

[A New Orleans Evacuee]


The Rabbi of my shul (Rabbi Fox) and the other members of my community who visited were extremely impressed with the work you have been doing and he spoke specifically about you and your work this week in our shul and encouraged everyone to do what they could to support the work of Chabad in aiding the community of New Orleans.

Jay, Englewood, NJ


Thank you for the inspiring update!  Tizku l'mitzvos!

Michael - NYC, NY


Dear Danny,

I am overwhelmed by the care, kindness and love that has been shown by all of you here in Houston to the New Orleans families.

Zelig and I moved into our apartment last night. It was like a treasure hunt. As I opened cabinets and drawers and closets,all kinds of thoughtful surprises awaited us. The comfortable,brand new beds felt just like home. Linens, towels, pillows, blankets were available as needed. Toiletries, basic foods for meal preparation allowed us to sit in our completely kashered kitchen and have a simple meal together. There is an entire side room filled with food and supplies as more families arrive.

The [...] family came 7:30 last night, exhausted from their long drive. [...] was so emotional as she expressed her surprise and appreciation at how beautifully every little detail was thought of for their family.

"Mayim Rabim lo yichbu es ha'ahava..." Many waters cannot wash away the Ahavas Yisroel that Jews have shown to their broth! ers and sisters. This experience has re inspired me to be more conscious of making Ahavas Yisroel the compass that guides every decision.

As time goes on ,I would appreciate a list of your volunteers and friend who worked to create a home away from home for all of us. Meanwhile,until I get the List and the supplies to write thank you letters, please pass on this email to all concerned.

Wishing all of you a sweet,good year and may Hashem bless y'all that you should always be able to give, not to receive.

Bluma Rivkin, New Orleans, LA (Currently Houston)


Wonderful, thanks for the update. Chabad is incredible!!

Michael, Houston, TX

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Shabbaton in Baton Rouge
Sept. 18, 5:00 pm

Our volunteer coordinator Daniel Gavin joined Mendel Traxler to spend Shabbos in Baton Rouge to supply kosher food and a Shabbos environment for the many rescue and relief workers on the ground there.

They joined the American Red Cross Spiritual Response Team and offer services for Jewish evacuees in the
Baton Rouge area, specifically for the upcoming Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services.

As Shabbos approaches a combination of doctors, Red Cross, FEMA, and Federal Logistics personnel come together to experience Shabbos together.

They daven a beautiful Kabolas Shabbos… everyone gets involved, singing together. An amazing meal is served catered by Southern Star Kosher Food (the first normal food our guests have eaten in a while.)

Everyone talks about their breath taking experiences of the past 2 weeks, while trying to wind down and relax.

Tzvi and Adina tell us about the thousands of patients that they have seen through the triage/emergency hospital that they set up by West Jefferson.

Mimi is teaching at a temporary school set up in one of the huge shelters in Baton Rouge.

Dr. Ginzburg, himself effected by the hurricane, but nevertheless has been seeing hundreds of people and will be going to speak at a National Conference this week by the Capitol in Washington.

Everyone is so happy to be around other Jews for Shabbos, and is just thrilled to be in heimish surroundings.

They continuously keep saying "a great yasher koach to Chabad, for bringing us some Shabbos warmth", among the Hurricane Katrina chaos.

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Chabad joins White House Call
Sept. 15, 5:30 pm

     for 30 minutes at 5:30 EST.

Addressing the call was, Jeff Berkowitz, White House Liaison to the Jewish Community; Tevi Troy, Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy (and former White House Jewish Liaison); and Jim Towey, Assistant to the President for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

The call briefed the participants on the Presidents speech for this evening and what assistance FEMA will be offering through their constituents.

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In response to the many inquiries, here is a list for now of Chabad's efforts (that I know of)... as of this afternoon...

  • Daniel Gavin has been amazing at coordinating all of the volunteer efforts
  • 13 Housing units in process of being furnished (we still need sofas and other small items) and stocked with pantry and cleaning supplies (see picture of volunteers from CA assisting with the purchase of 10 cleaning supply starter sets
    (3 apartments are at the Aishel House)
  • Thank you to Mike Greenberg for koshering the units
  • 10 beds donated by Star furniture with the efforts of Maura Sellers, volunteer for the Jewish Federation and Beth Israel
  • 17 beds donated with efforts of Gary Swartz president of Beth Yeshurun
  • Other furniture donation include, kitchennete tables, end and night tables, chairs, etc. with the efforts of Holly Skolkin & Aaron Bergeron.
  • 10 students (and more coming) tuition free ($71,600 of free Jewish education) in Torah Day School.
  • 7 Torahs rescued from two Chabad Houses on Thursday
  • 5 Torahs rescued from Anshei Sfard yesterday, Sunday.
  • Chabad of S. Antonio put up a carnival at Kelley Air Force Base for the evacuee families there (
  • Hundreds of kosher meals have been prepared and delivered by our volunteers and Chabad's Aishel House.
  • 40 fresh challot to take home was presented by Chabad at Texas Medical Center for the San Diego Jewish Academy representitives who arrived with 25 tons of goods coordinated by the Jewish Federation of Houston.
  • 1 Plane load of clothing (in very good or new condition) arrived from Denver and being sorted. Families will review clothes in privacy this week. (Interested New Orleans parties please contact Daniel Gavin;
  • $20,000 emergency cash distributed (and counting).
  • $2,500 gifts cards to clothing stores like Gap and Old Navy (and counting).
  • 100 people in Houston were counseled in person, given a warm meal, or placed in a home temporarily
  • 45 people rescued by Search and Rescue teams
  • 2 RVs sent to support the rescue effort
  • Hundreds of families were located and connected with their loved ones
  • 300 volunteers (over 100 out of town) in database ready to assist in a myriad of ways (Sat. night we placed a rescuee in a furnished apt in West U in a matter of 30 minutes thanks to the database) Over 100 have already assisted in countless ways.
  • This does not represent efforts being done by Chabad across the country including, Dallas, Memphis, and as far out as CA, FL & NY.

Here are the text messages we received from Guy Simani who took up the two RVs to the "front lines" in New Orleans:

09/08/05 8:55 pm
From: Simani, Guy
5 jewish lives were saved today from no

09/08/05 8:50 pm
From: Simani, Guy
7 torah scrolls wer rescued! 1 will be sent to 770 and the rest r going 2 Houston

09/08/05 5:27 pm
From: Simani, Guy

09/08/05 4:37 pm
From: Simani, Guy

09/08/05 4:38 pm
From: Simani, Guy

09/08/05 2:33 pm
From: Simani, Guy

09/08/05 2:28 pm
From: Simani, Guy

09/08/05 1:48 pm
From: Simani, Guy
Ive never seen so much chessed being done in such a small time span. Im capturing as much as i can on film.

09/08/05 1:38 pm
From: Simani, Guy
We r now working w the group, finding jews and giving kosher food at shelters

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 Sept. 8, 1:15 pm
Here is an update for now....

Chabad in Houston has:

  • Assisted in the initial setup of the Astrodome
  • Chabad in Houston coordinated two RVs to go to the "front lines" in New Orleans to assist our team rescuing victims there. They will be bringing back Sifrei Torah rescued from New Orleans.
  • Chabad has been working around the clock and has located countless families and connected them with their worried loved ones.
  • Chabad has already rented and assigned familes to 10 housing units. We are currently seeking furniture for them.
  • Chabad's Aishel House is providing housing and chaplaincy for patients and their families who have been evacuated from Louisiana.
  • Chabad has built a database of over 250 volunteers ready to assist in a myriad of ways, with housing, food, and clothing
  • Chabad's Torah Day School has accepted (as of now) 10 students tuition free. $71,600 of free Jewish education.
  • And this incomplete list will continue to grow...

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Subject: Thank you for volunteering
Date: Thursday, September 01, 2005 9:58 AM

As the requests for assistance begin to pour in, someone will be calling you to match you up with those in need as the needs arise.

Thank for your support, Houston has a warm great heart and your assistance has been overwhelming!

May we share good news,

Rabbi Chaim

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August 31, 2005; 5:15 pm

Hurricane  Katrina
Prayer  Service & Lecture
Led by: Rabbi Zelig Rivkin & family
Director of: Chabad Lubavitch of Louisiana
in New Orleans
Thursday night, September 1, 2005
Everyone is  Welcome
At the: Chabad Lubavitch Center
10900 Fondren Road

Rabbi Zelig Rivkin, Regional  director of Chabad-Lubavitch to the state of Louisiana, mother and family arrived late on Tuesday in Houston, Texas after being forced to leave due to rising waters. They resolved to stay in their location as long as possible to help their fellow Jews until the very last moment, as several people contacted him that could not get out of the city, so they invited them into their house.
His son Rabbi Yochanan Rivkin and his family  were safely evacuated from New Orleans where he  and his wife serve as directors of the Chabad Jewish Student Center at Tulane University.  The Rivkin family have been staying at  the Lubavitch/Chabad Jewish Student  Center in Gainesville since Monday,  were he has been working tirelessly connecting students, families and other  resources for the victims and survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
Rabbi Yossi Nemes who serves as  director of the Chabad Jewish Center in Metairie, LA had stayed behind to help  tourists and locals and was on the top floor of his house located in a heavily flooded area and is in the process of being safely evacuated, to Memphis, TN.
An updated diary, and more may be found at 
To volunteer or assist for Chabad's local efforts please visit We are in contact with Harris County Disaster Relief and they have asked for volunteers to help set up and coordinate the shelter in the Astrodome. You may sign up online.


August 30, 2005; 4:30 pm

 Dear Friend,

Many families from the New Orleans disaster area have been turning to Chabad to assist them with hospitality, kosher food, and guidance. News agencies have been reporting that families will be stranded for a month or more.

Our phones have been ringing and we are turning to you for help.

Utilizing our multiple branches, Chabad has created a Chabad Hurricane Relief Effort, to host, feed and support the families pouring in from the disaster area.

If you are able to assist with

  • Food
  • Hospitality
  • Clothing
  • Immediate Cash Assistance
  • or anything else...

To help, please fill out this simple online form by clicking here.

Updates from New Orleans, a diary, relief efforts and to donate for their relief and rebuilding efforts, visit the Chabad of New Orleans website.

May we only share good news,

Chabad of Houston
Hurricane Relief Committee

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Chabad has created a relief fund for evacuees arriving in the Houston area. Every penny will go directly to support the local Houston effort or to help rebuild the communities in New Orleans.

To support Chabad of Houston's Evacuee Assistance effort, click here.

To support Chabad of New Orleans Hurricane Relief effort, click here.

Or send you tax deductible contribution t
Chabad Hurricane Relief
10900 Fondren Road
Houston, Texas 77096

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