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'Hope for people is universal': Tri-State organizations step up to provide Israel, Gaza humanitarian aid

Funding, physical items and personnel are all heading to the Middle East
Aid to Israel
Posted at 7:10 PM, Oct 27, 2023

BLUE ASH, Ohio — Local organizations across the Tri-State are stepping up to help provide humanitarian aid for Israel and Gaza.

The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati said it had raised more than $3 million locally for Israel humanitarian aid via its Shield of Iron funds.

At Matthew 25: Ministries, Director of Disaster Relief Ben Williams said one shipping container is already out the door with plans for two more in the coming days. Basic items such as blankets, winter clothing and paper towels are a major component of the shipment.

“(For) the people that are in need right now, there’s going to be a need for a long time,” Williams said.

Supplies aren’t the only thing en route.

Rabbi Avrohom Weinrib of Congregation Zichron Eliezer and Rabbi Ezra Goldschmiedt of Congregation Sha'arei Torah will board a plane to the region on Sunday. They’re headed to Israel as part of a mission trip.

“It is a little crazy, and that’s part of what we’re doing because we feel it’s so important to be there,” Weinrib said.

The two rabbis said they will travel with 15-20 duffle bags full of requested items from a doctor at a field hospital. The items will be donated by the community on Saturday night, just before their departure.

They’re bringing spiritual support, too.

“The emotional support that we can give as Rabbis is something that is tremendously valued by them,” Goldschmiedt said.

As the war goes on, they do not want the community to lose sight of the intensity of what’s happening far away.

“It's a challenge to keep that intensity to our prayers,” Goldschmiedt said. “But that's what we see as our jobs — to make sure that we don't lose sight of the urgency of the situation.”

In Israel, more than 1700 have died and 4600 are injured. In Gaza, more than 7,300 have died, and 18,500 are injured.

Amina Barhumi, executive director of CAIR-Ohio’s Columbus and Cincinnati offices, said the killing has to stop.

“Humanitarian aid would not be needed if there was no killing to begin with,” she said.

Her organization is calling on the Biden administration to call for a cease-fire, something it has been unwilling to do.

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