Sandy Wreaks Untold Havoc on Jewish Communities

From Coney to Manhattan, Damage Is Ferocious But Fickle

Dead Aim: New photo shows Sandy’s storm surge racing toward homes in Brooklyn’s Sea Gate.
Raizy Lefkowitz
Dead Aim: New photo shows Sandy’s storm surge racing toward homes in Brooklyn’s Sea Gate.

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published October 31, 2012, issue of November 02, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 4)

A huge chunk of the first floor had been torn out of one home facing the ocean. Three blocks from the sea, a broken dinghy sat incongruously on a sidewalk. The beach itself looked smooth, as though it had been scrubbed clean.

On Beach 47th Street, at the western end of Sea Gate, a handful of members of the Satmar Hasidic community gathered around a devastated building, removing boxes of belongings. A seaward-facing window was gone, leaving a gaping hole.

“Everybody’s okay,” said a man who would give his name only as Mayer. He said the home belonged to his uncle, who owns a bakery in Boro Park. Mayer said he was shocked that the media and broader community seemed to be ignoring the devastation in Sea Gate.

“There’s no news crews in here. No one knows about us,” he said.

In nearby Manhattan Beach, home to a large Russian Jewish community, massive flooding damaged homes and sidewalks. Images posted online suggested that parked cars had been entirely submerged by floodwaters.

The Rockaway Peninsula also experienced serious damage. West End Temple in Neponsit, Queens, was entirely inundated with floodwater. “The sanctuary was completely upended,” said Rabbi Margie Slome, the synagogue’s spiritual leader. “Prayer books are all over the place, the pew was upended, the cushions are soaked through, the rug is completely wet.” The synagogue’s Torah scrolls are safe, Slome said, but a lower level in the synagogue’s building remains full of water.

Two Jews living in Brooklyn were killed by a falling tree on the night of October 29 while walking their dog in their Ditmas Park neighborhood. Jacob Vogelman and Jessie Streich-Kest, both in their early 20s, grew up at Park Slope synagogues, according to a source who knows the pair. Steich-Kest, a high school teacher in Bushwick, was the daughter of Jon Kest, executive director of New York Communities for Change and former director of New York ACORN.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.