No synagogue was hit harder by Superstorm Sandy than Congregation Ohab Zedek of Belle Harbor, a beautiful community surrounded by Jamaica Bay on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. The shul didn’t have a chance, was flooded, and became unusable to this day.
The Orthodox Union and UJA-Federation of New York provided the funding for a trailer to be used while the building is being repaired. In addition, the shul received a cash grant from the OU’s hurricane relief emergency fund to help with other expenses.
Rabbi Tsvi Selengut of Ohab Zedek says that things are working out. In a letter to Rabbi Judah Isaacs, director of the OU’s department of community engagement, he wrote, “I wanted to let you know that the situation here has really improved. Although we are not back in our building, the trailer has been a very good second best. Seeing 80 people each Shabbos filling up the trailer has been the greatest experience this community has had in a long time. I want to thank you and the OU for really being there for us and helping along the way.”
Rabbi Selengut noted that all of the activities of the synagogue now take place in the trailer. He expressed the hope that the congregation can return to its building by the summer.
Contributions to the OU Hurricane Fund may be made at www.ou.org. v