Israel and World Jewish Relief rush to Philippines aid

By Sandy Rashty, November 14, 2013
Rabbi Yossi Levy with his wife, Tiferes

Rabbi Yossi Levy with his wife, Tiferes

An American Jewish man watched his wife go into labour as Typhoon Haiyan hit their home in the Philippines last Friday.

Dale Streisand, the cousin of Hollywood icon Barbra Streisand, lost his house in the southern province of Bohol — but saw the birth of his newborn baby on Saturday.

Mr Streisand, his Filipino wife and three children are now travelling north to the capital Manila, where they will be rehoused by Chabad.

Tiferes Levy, the wife of Rabbi Yossi Levy, the head of Chabad, said the family’s house is “broken, but they are healthy. We are working on getting them back on their feet.”

The Levys, who have three children, were also affected by the storm when it hit their home in Manila on Friday night. “It was unbelievable,” said Mrs Levy, who moved to the Philippines from New York five years ago. “I was cooking for Shabbat, then we felt strong winds and it went dark. The whole place was upside down. But people still came to us for a minyan. It’s amazing.”

Paul Rosenberg, the president of the Jewish Association of the Philippines, said the local synagogue was untouched, but added: “We have been told via a source from Israel that there are several missing Jews.”

UK charity World Jewish Relief has launched an emergency appeal. So far the relief organisation has raised £110,000 — with donations from the United Synagogue, Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council.

Jewish Care has offered its 74 Filipino employees, most of whom work as carers, up to £1000 each of emergency funds.

The Israel Defence Forces, IsraAID and Shaare Zedek sent delegations and medics to the Philippines this week to assist local NGOs and UN agencies.

The storm swept through the eastern seaboard of the country, killing at least 10,000 people. Around 600 Jews live in the former American colony.

Last updated: 12:53pm, November 14 2013