How did Irma affect the Messianic Jewish community of South Florida?
Thank you for your prayers in support of the Messianic Jewish community of south Florida. We have been in touch with our member congregations in the aftermath of the storm, and are grateful for God's protection.
Our God, who has power to calm the wind and the waves with a single word, turned the storm at the last minute. Although there was devastating damage to the Florida Keys and Marco Island, the mainland was spared from the nightmare scenarios projected by meteorologists.
We have been in touch with our member congregations in the area. Communication has been spotty due to sustained power outages and limited internet and cell coverage.
Here's what we know so far:
Beth T'filah, in the Hollywood area, reports that several families in the congregation sustained minor damage to their homes. Since the storm, congregational leader Matt Absolon has been busy assisting neighbors and congregants with tree removal and home repairs.
Aydat HaDerekh, in Fort Myers, reports that their congregation sustained some water damage to their synagogue building. There is still extremely limited cell coverage, internet, electricity, and phone service in the area.
Ayts Chayim, in Boca Raton, came through the storm very well, but strong winds felled thousands of trees, leading to city-wide power outages. Congregational leader (and UMJC President) Jesse H. has dedicated countless hours this week to checking in on elderly Jewish residents of Boca. Many are without power and air conditioning, and dealing with food spoilage due to the lack of refrigeration for several days. Jesse is also gathering resources through the local Fire Department to support recovery in the Florida Keys.
Ohr Chadash, in Clearwater, reports some minimal flooding in the synagogue building, which rests at a low elevation near the water. The congregation is rejoicing that the huge storm surge that threatened to inundate the west coast of Florida never materialized. Instead, Tampa Bay was sucked dry! Hundreds of Bay area residents actually walked on the floor of the bay, in scenes reminiscent of the Jewish exodus from Egypt across the dry bed of the sea.
The leaders of Chavurah Tikvat Shalom in Cape Coral evacuated to Virginia and have not yet returned to assess the damage there. Please keep them in your prayers.
What you can do:
The Union is collecting funds to support first responders and our member congregations with hurricane recovery, both on the mainland and in the Florida Keys. Your gifts will go directly to support the purchase of fuel for generators, gift cards for groceries, tarps for roofs, batteries for lanterns and flashlights, clean water, and temporary lodging.
To support this effort, just click the donate button below and write "Hurricane" in the memo line.
Wait, what's going on in Houston?
We continue supporting our friends and mishpocha who were affected by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area. Thanks to your generous gifts, we sent $4,241.64 to Houston this week to assist with hurricane recovery.
There is an ongoing need for volunteer attorneys to assist hurricane survivors with contested insurance claims. So far, 9 Messianic Jewish families in the Houston area have received rejections from their private flood insurance companies, all for various reasons. If you are a licensed attorney, please sign up to provide pro bono legal assistance to these Harvey victims who have sustained serious damage to their homes. (Due to a recent court order, out of state attorneys are authorized to practice on a pro bono basis for 6 months after the storm.)