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Houston Shluchim Reach out toAssist Flood Victims

When a community member didn’t show for morning prayers, everyone started getting concerned.

Thursday, April 21st, 2016 at 3:41 am
Chabad.org/News Chabad.org/News

Many Jewish residents in Houston were forced to put Passover preparations on the backburner as they focused on clearing water from their homes this week after record flooding closed schools, shut down the city’s mass-transit system and led to hundreds of emergency rescues throughout the city.

Seven people were killed, more than 1,000 homes were destroyed, and there was $5-billion in damage thusfar in the flooding, which came 11 months after another historic storm caused the deaths of eight people, and destroyed area homes and property. More than 10 inches of rain fell in a matter of hours earlier this week, overwhelming waterways and streets, and causing severe flooding in the city.

And there may be more to come as Houston remains under a flash flood watch, with some rain is forecast for the next few days.

At least two synagogues, the United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston and Meyerland Minyan, sustained some water damage during Monday’s flood. But it was housing that got the worst of it—yet again.

“People just finally got back in their homes in last couple of weeks, and now their houses are flooded again,” reports Rabbi Chaim Lazaroff, program director of Chabad Lubavitch Center Regional Headquarters in Houston, who was in New York when the storm hit, and initially coordinated efforts through emails, texts and WhatsApp messaging. He returned to Houston on Tuesday. “I know some of the people who are flooded, and we’ve reached out to extend our help and let them know they have a place to stay if they need it.”

Rabbi Mendel and Leah Blecher, who run Chabad of The Woodlands, have been dealing with a loss of power, while co-director of The Shul of Bellaire, Rabbi Yossi Zaklikofsky, posted a public “thank you” on Facebook to the local police officers and concerned neighbors who came to his aid when he was trapped in his car by rising water.

Rabbi Moishe Traxler, director of Chabad Outreach of Houston, recounts that when a community member who was slated to join them at synagogue for morning prayers didn’t show, everyone started getting concerned.

Noting that the young man was new to the area and unprepared for such circumstances, a group of community members went out to look for him. They found him a bit later physically fine, though he had lost his car, cell phone and laptop to the floodwaters.

Nevertheless, all were very much relieved. Says Traxler: “Thank G‑d, he was OK.”

Read the complete article here

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