With the Jewish High Holy days fast approaching, check out Ruth Messinger’s JTA Op-Ed “Holidays Remind of What We Still Need To Do in Haiti,” which calls upon our individual and collective responsibilities to the Haitian people. Reflecting upon the ubiquitous liturgical refrain asking “Who shall live and who shall die?” that we recite in synagogue on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Ruth urges the U.S. government to follow five key strategies for aid in the months and years ahead. These strategies include procuring goods and services locally.
She writes: “an import-dependent economy worsened by the disaster has stifled the development of a domestic system that could generate jobs and revenue for the Haitian people—80 percent of whom lived on less than $2 per day even before the earthquake. The best way to break this cycle of poverty and dependency is by procuring materials, food and labor from Haitian businesses. Funding local procurement also benefits American taxpayers, sparing us the costs of shipping and eventually reducing the need for American aid altogether.”