Houston is just past two weeks since the most devastating flooding in the history of the Jewish community...
The most affected areas of the flooding were those neighborhoods with a high density of Jewish families and institutions. Early estimates reflect 500 Jewish households that have experienced some level of damage from the most modest to total devastation requiring stripping walls and floors down to the studs and requiring families to relocate for 3-4 months. Two Orthodox synagogues experienced almost total destruction which will require major repairs over a significant time period or building anew. The neighborhoods surrounding those synagogues faced similar damage. In the days after the storm, a walk through these neighborhoods would reflect a literal war zone with mountains of debris piled on the streets for city pickup and homes that were quickly becoming vacant shells.
Very early assessments indicate that the families and institutions could require a minimum of $1,000,000 of community support. That doesn’t include reimbursements from insurance, FEMA and other government and non-profit entities. Despite Houston being the epicenter of many hurricanes and tropical weather events over many decades, this event (it is an un-named event as it occurred before hurricane season and was technically not classified as a tropical storm) is not only the most devastating but also the costliest.
In addition to the immediate physical recovery required, there could be a complete profile change of the neighborhoods, effecting participation in Jewish communal activities and the locations of many Jewish communal institutions. The effected neighborhoods were not only ground zero for the floods but the geographic center of Houston’s Jewish community.
Houston will rebuild! The donations from all over our Portland Jewish community to the Houston Relief Fund embody the core value of Jewish Federations: all Jews are responsible, one for the other. Thank you for your generous donations to help Houston's residents rebuild.