Subscribe to The Jewish Standard free weekly newsletter

 
font size: +
 

Weathering Irene

Two Jews among 33 deaths, but for most, storm was a costly annoyance

 
|| Tell-a-Friend || Print
 
 
image
The parking lot of Temple Israel and Jewish Community Center of Ridgewood was turned into a river, “with actual white rapids at some points,” said its rabbi, David Fine. Courtesy Rabbi David Fine

For some in the Jewish community, Hurricane Irene was a soggy inconvenience.

For others, it became a moment to extend a helping hand — in at least one case, tragically.

Throughout the tristate area, tragedies were at a minimum, but the few tragedies that there were nevertheless were major ones for the families involved.

David Reichenberg, a 50-year-old Orthodox Jewish father of four from Spring Valley, N.Y., died saving a father and his six-year-old son from a downed power line. Reichenberg came into contact with the live wire and was electrocuted. He was one of at least two Jews who were reported killed by the storm.

The other, Rozalia Gluck, 82, was trapped in a Catskills motel that was swept away by flood waters during the storm. Authorities recovered her body late Sunday.

By late Monday, 33 deaths in 10 states were attributed to Hurricane Irene, The Associated Press reported.

Reichenberg's death came after he stopped to help a Jewish boy and his father who had been viewing damage outside their home in Rockland County, N.Y. The boy had touched a metal fence electrified by a fallen wire. Reichenberg pulled the two from the fence, but could not escape himself, according to an eyewitness.

Reichenberg was buried Sunday night. The injured boy was reported to be in critical but stable condition as of Monday. His father suffered only minor injuries.

Even before the storm struck, the Jewish community attempted to prepare for the worst.

Officials offered both practical and religious counsel in preparation for the hurricane. The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) issued hurricane preparation guides. The Orthodox website Vos Iz Neias {Ed. Note: it means "What's New?") posted halachic guidelines issued years ago by the Orthodox Union, Agudath Israel of America and others for what to do on the Sabbath in the event of a hurricane.

Lindsay Goldman, the director of UJA-Federation of New York's J-11 Information Referral Center, reported that the philanthropy had advised its partner agencies to activate their emergency protocols, many of which were created only in recent years by federation grants, and were co-coordinating agencies to assist one another. As of Monday morning, she said, all agencies had reported that they were open.

The URJ and B'nai B'rith International both opened Hurricane relief funds to collect donations for hurricane aid. Rhonda Love, the director of B'nai B'rith's Center for Community Action, said that even though this disaster occurred in the densely Jewish East Coast, aid will remain consistent with past natural disaster relief efforts — based on need, not creed. "We'll work where there's any opportunity to help," Love said.

The committee that will allocate the URJ funds is currently reviewing damage reports from congregations but will give according to the needs of "congregations, Jewish communities, or larger communities," a spokesman said. Those decisions will be made in the next week or two, the spokesman added.

 
|| Tell-a-Friend || Print
 
 

Stay tuned for the return of comments

 

Walling off, reaching out

Teaneck shul offers discussion of Women of the Wall

It is not an understatement to say that the saga of Women of the Wall is a metaphor for much of the struggle between tradition and change in Israel.

Founded 25 years ago by a group of Israeli and non-Israeli women whose religious affiliations ran from Orthodox to Reform, it has been a flashpoint for the fight for pluralism in Israel, as one side would define it, or the obligation to hold onto God-given mandates on the other.

As its members and supporters fought for the right to hold services in the women’s section, raising their voices in prayer, and later to wear tallitot and read from sifrei Torah, and as their opponents grew increasingly violent in response, it came to define questions of synagogue versus state and showcase both the strengths and the flaws of Israel’s extraordinary parliamentary system. It also highlighted rifts between American and Israeli Jews.

 

Shabbat in the White City

Fair Lawn man aims for Guinness-record dinner in Tel Aviv

Jay Shultz is determined to set a new world record while promoting Tel Aviv — usually cited for its nightlife and startup culture — as a great place to spend Shabbat.

The 37-year-old Fair Lawn native, who has lived in Israel since 2006, has earned a reputation as the “International Mayor of Tel Aviv” after a series of grand-scale initiatives geared at positioning his adopted city as welcoming haven for young professional immigrants.

His latest exploit: Through his popular White City Shabbat program, which offers communal meals for young Israelis and immigrants at local synagogues, Mr. Shultz launched an Indiegogo crowd funding campaign to sponsor the world’s largest Shabbat dinner.

 

Lighting up Africa

Frisch raises money for solar technology with fashion show

What do the students at a New Jersey Jewish high school and 450,000 residents of rural African villages have in common?

Since 2008, the nonprofit agency called Innovation: Africa — iA — has brought Israeli solar technology to provide clean water, drip irrigation, and refrigeration to villagers in Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Ethiopia. And for the last three years, this UN-award winning program has been a focal point for the Frisch School in Paramus.

An African Encounter Night and Africa-themed fashion show held last month exposed students and parents to iA’s work and raised another $3,300 toward Frisch’s goal of contributing $10,000 to light up a sister school in East Africa using solar panels.

“The fact that Frisch has decided to educate children on wider global issues is remarkable and demonstrates a break from the norm,” said Emma Goldman, Innovation: Africa’s outreach coordinator.

 

RECENTLYADDED

Israel launching drive to void Goldstone Report

WASHINGTON – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would launch an international campaign to cancel the Goldstone Report after its author, ex-South African Judge Richard Goldstone, wrote in an Op-Ed in the Washington Post that Israel did not intentionally target civilians as a policy during the Gaza War, withdrawing a critical allegation in the report.

Netanyahu said he had asked his security adviser, Ya’akov Amidror, to establish a committee focused on “minimizing the damage caused” by the report.

 

Facebook and Zuckerberg does an about-face and deletes Palestinian page calling for a Third Intifada

Following widespread criticism, a Facebook page calling for a third Palestinian intifada against Israel was removed on March 29. On the Facebook page, Palestinians were urged to launch street protests following Friday May 15 and begin an uprising as modelled by similar uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, and Jordan. Killing Jews en masse was emphasized.

According to the Facebook page, “Judgment Day will be brought upon us only once the Muslims have killed all of the Jews.” The page had more than 340,000 fans. However, even while the page was removed, a new page now exists in its place with the same name,  “Third Palestinian Intifada.”

 

Did heated rhetoric play role in shooting of Giffords?

WASHINGTON – The 8th District in southern Arizona represented by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords comprises liberal Tucson and its rural hinterlands, which means moderation is a must. But it also means that spirits and tensions run high.

Giffords’ office in Tucson was ransacked in March following her vote for health care reform — a vote the Democrat told reporters that she would cast even if it meant her career. She refused to be cowed, but she also took aim at the hyped rhetoric. She cast the back-and-forth as part of the democratic process.

 
 
S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30