Monday, March 14, 2011

Praying for the People of Japan: Jewish Resources on the Disaster

Click here for a prayer for the Tsunami victims by Rabbi Shai Held.

Here is a collection of resources for Jewish educational frameworks, presented by the Lookstein Center for Jewish Education of JESNA.

Jewish Response to the Japanese Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Crisis

On March 11, a 9.0 earthquake struck Japan, triggering a massive tsunami that further devastated a broad stretch of the Japanese coast. In the aftermath, several nuclear reactors exploded, leading to a wider humanitarian crisis.

This is a collection of resources for Jewish educational frameworks. If you have a resource that
should be included, write to us.

Discussion Questions

Jewish Texts and Classroom Resources

Articles and Sermons

Jewish Organizations Providing Relief

General Information and Images

Discussion Questions:

Natural disasters, especially those on a large scale, raise difficult questions.

1. If we "credit" God for the good things that happen in nature, should we "blame" God for the bad things? How about the reverse - if we "blame" God for disasters, should we "credit" God for the good things that happen?

2. Generally, mitzvot related to tzedakah suggest that we should take care of those closest to ourselves - our family, community, nation. How do we balance the preference to those closest to us with the sense of obligation to help victims of a natural disaster?

3. With all of our technological advances, we are reminded of how powerless we are in the face of the awesome powerful contained within simple, natural events - earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, forest fires. What is an appropriate Jewish response to this sense of powerlessness?
Written by Zvi Grumet. Click here for tips about leading a classroom discussion.
Jewish texts and Resources:Texts from Mishnah for Teaching about Disasters (sources by Martin S. Cohen)

Jewish Texts: Responses to Catastrophe (sources by Jewish World Watch)
Jewish Responses to Disaster (sources by American Jewish World Service)
Jewish Sources on Chesed, Hunger, Tikkun Olam, Tzedakah (sources by Areyvut)Jewish Texts about Responsibility following Disasters (sources by The Lookstein Center)
Asian Earthquake Disaster - A Religious Response (congregational school lesson plan by Joanne Doades)
Coping with Disaster (lesson plan by The Lookstein Center)Lessons to Be Learned from the Great Tsunami (webquest by Naphtali Hoff)
Islands of Resiliency (mini-site by The Lookstein Center)

Articles and Sermons

G-d, How Can you Do This? (essay by Chabad)
The Tsunami and God (essay by Benjamin Blech/Aish)
Torah Reflections on Tsunamis, New Years and the Human Condition (sermon by Yaakov Bieler)
Israel Sends Aid to Japan (article by Israel 21c)

Jewish Organizations Raising Money and Providing Relief

American Jewish World Service
American Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) HomepageBnai Brith International: Disaster Relief
Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid
Jewish Coalition for Disaster ReliefMAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger
Union of Reform Judaism: Disaster Relief

General Information and Images

Library of Congress on JapanWikipedia on JapanUSGS on Japan earthquake
New York Times Slide ShowWashington Post Photo Gallery

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