Jewish organizations are raising disaster-relief funds following the devastating flooding in Texas earlier this week, during which Houston’s Jewish community sat at the center of the damage experienced by that city.
Countless Jewish homes and multiple synagogues were among the structures damaged following rain that exceeded 11 inches in some areas from May 25-26.
The Orthodox Union, which is raising flood-relief funds here, sent its senior managing director, Rabbi Steven Weil, to help assess the damage onsite in Houston.
B’nai B’rith International opened its Flood, Tornado and Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund—hosted here—following the Houston flood.
“Whether it’s on the other side of the planet or in our own backyard, we’re both quick to respond and always eyeing how to help the long-term recovery effort,” Daniel S. Mariaschin, executive vice president of B’nai B’rith, said in a statement. “It’s no different with the flooding in Texas. I’m eager to learn from agencies on the ground and from our local members on how we can be involved in assisting these people.”
The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston is raising flood-relief fundshere, noting that the hardest-hit neighborhoods in the flood were Meyerland, Bellaire, and Willow Meadows, “where so many in our community have lost everything.” Other Jewish Federations around the country are raising relief funds for Houston, and the Jewish Federations of North America umbrella organization allocated $25,000 from its Emergency Committee to assist with relief efforts.
“It will take days to assess damages and many months to recover and rebuild,” the Houston Federation said.
At the same time, local Jewish community is trying to focus on the positive.
“Let us focus on repairing what was ruined and rededicating ourselves to what makes UOS (United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston) so special, the community,” Rabbi Barry Gelman, the leader of that heavily flood-damaged synagogue, wrote in an email to congregants. “After all, what is really special about us are the people that make up our community. That is what is indispensable—the building can always be fixed.