AJWS Bay Area: What’s Happening

August 2015

The monsoon is ending in Nepal. You probably won’t see this news making headlines, but it is of great interest to AJWS supporters and others moved to send aid in the wake of the tragic earthquakes earlier this year.

In the days following the disaster, major relief organizations and governments sent crucial aid that saved lives, providing food, medical supplies and shelter. But the ability for a society to rise from the rubble goes beyond this initial life-saving period and takes time and strategic planning. The end of the monsoon means Nepal can move into a new phase of disaster recovery. Houses and roads must be built, crops sown, and many everyday services resumed.

Many of us gave our first AJWS gift in response to such a disaster. We did it because we believe in giving “Jewishly,” or because AJWS has earned top ratings from industry watchdogs like Charity Navigator and Better Business Bureau, or because friends told us that they trust AJWS with their donations.

Many of us learned only later about the unique and effective model that governs AJWS grantmaking, and how AJWS invests in disaster recovery. Many of us were proud that, after the Haitian earthquake, AJWS committed to supporting community organizations for more than 10 years to help the country emerge from this crisis.

AJWS disaster recovery work goes well beyond the initial few weeks portrayed by our mass media. The impact of a disaster goes beyond a damaged house. It often causes severe distress, as many victims require long-term trauma healing. Our grantees work hard long after disasters to ensure that marginalized people receive help, that aid reaches rural areas, and that effective strategies are created and put into place by the people in affected areas in order to bring about long-term recovery.

At the beginning of September, we will host Samantha Wolthuis, our Director of Disaster Response & International Operations, for just 48 hours. She was on the ground in Nepal just days after the earthquake, seeking out natural partners we could support to accelerate aid to communities in rural areas. Sam has spoken and written frequently of her experience reaching out to marginalized groups that had been denied access to aid. She will speak at a number of venues here in San Francisco. Please e-mail me if you are interested in attending one of these events.

Thank you for your inspiring generosity, whether you donated to support our disaster recovery efforts or underwrite the work of the 530 transformational grassroots organizations that are helping to sustainably develop their societies.

Alon Shalev
Executive Director, San Francisco and Western Region

AJWS Bay Area Upcoming Events

AJWS-Bay Area Global Justice Book Club

AJWS’s Books Beyond Borders will feature In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel by Vaddey Ratner, a PEN/Hemingway Award finalist.

For seven-year-old Raami, the shattering end of childhood begins with the footsteps of her father returning home in the early dawn hours, bringing details of the civil war that has overwhelmed the streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital. Soon the family’s world of carefully guarded royal privilege is swept up in the chaos of revolution and forced exodus. Over the next four years, as the Khmer Rouge attempts to strip the population of every shred of individual identity, Raami clings to the only remaining vestige of her childhood—the mythical legends and poems told to her by her father. In a climate of systematic violence where memory is sickness and justification for execution, Raami fights for her improbable survival. Displaying the author’s extraordinary gift for language, In the Shadow of the Banyan is a brilliantly wrought tale of human resilience.

East Bay
August 24th at 7:00 p.m.
At Congregation Netivot Shalom

August 17th at 7:30 p.m.
At the home of Shirley Feldman

Sign up to receive details of a group near you.

Samantha Wolthuis, AJWS Director of Disaster Response & International Operations Visits the Bay Area

We are pleased to announce that Samantha Wolthuis, AJWS’s Director of Disaster Response and International Operations, will be in the Bay Area in September to speak with local supporters and funders about AJWS’s disaster relief and humanitarian aid work. Ms. Wolthuis was on the ground in Nepal within days of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake and powerful aftershocks that devastated large areas of the country in April 2015. She will discuss how AJWS’s emergency relief fund for Nepal focuses on local organizations working toward long-term recovery, and how our work in Nepal relates to AJWS’s unique model for disaster relief during our 30-year history. Very limited space is available at two upcoming events, which are open to interested AJWS supporters. Please contact Marina Javor at 415.593.3286 or e-mail mjavor@ajws.org for more details.

September 1
5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Happy Hour with Samantha Wolthuis
Sens Restaurant
4 Embarcadero Center, Promenade Level
San Francisco CA

September 2
7:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Private Event with Samantha Wolthuis
Hillsborough, CA

“This Kind of Love” Film Screening

Please join AJWS and Global Circle for a screening of the documentary film, This Kind of Love. This film is a portrait of Burmese activist and past AJWS grantee Aung Myo Min, now founder of Human Rights Education Institute of Burma. We will join Aung for a discussion of LGBT rights in Burma.

Monday, September 21
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Delancey Street Theater
600 Embarcadero Street
San Francisco, CA

Stay tuned for more details about this event, or e-mail Rachel Simon at rsimon@ajws.org.

Save the Date for our 30th Anniversary Gala Celebration

Please join AJWS President Ruth Messinger and Gala chairs Eric and Amy Sahn and Marc and Marci Dollingers for an evening celebrating three decades of global justice.

March 15, 2016
Terra Gallery
511 Harrison Street
San Francisco, CA

Want to get involved? E-mail Larissa for more details at lseigal@ajws.org.