Jews Fume at Inaction on Sandy Aid

As Congress Dithers, Storm Victims Struggle To Make Ends Meet

Storming: Rabbi Marjorie Slome of West End Temple in the Rockaways wonders if the synagogue will ever get help to repair damage caused by superstorm Sandy.
shulamit seidler-feller
Storming: Rabbi Marjorie Slome of West End Temple in the Rockaways wonders if the synagogue will ever get help to repair damage caused by superstorm Sandy.

By Seth Berkman

Published January 15, 2013, issue of January 18, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 3)

Richard Bethea, Ship Bottom’s administrator and finance officer, took exception to “pork” that he said was being tacked on to the aid bill — a charge also made by some GOP opponents of the bill. “There are things being spent that don’t belong there,” Bethea said. “It has to happen quickly. It’s important to everybody at all levels. If businesses are up and running, the government collects taxes.”

Brecher, who founded the Long Beach Island Business Alliance, said his discussions with mayors, city council members and other local businesses indicated “a real, real concern” that costs were becoming too large for the townships. Businesses, he said, were “spending with the assumption that FEMA’s going to reimburse them.” “All types of things haven’t occurred yet, and if they don’t have money for things like fixing storm sewers, if beaches aren’t cleaned up, people aren’t going to come down. They’ll think it’s unsafe, ugly, that utilities are not working right.”

The threat of new storms further complicates the cleanup efforts. Before the New Year, a winter storm hit Long Beach Island, causing areas that had just been cleaned to flood again. “Storm sewers were filled with debris and sand and are not draining right,” Brecher said. “We had 14 inches of water under our house.”

Instead of waiting months for the possibility of federal aid, local leaders elsewhere have taken a proactive approach to helping community businesses. Thirty-five miles north, in Lakewood, N.J., the Lakewood Development Corporation set aside $1.5 million for an emergency disaster recovery program for the downtown area’s mostly Jewish- and Latino-owned stores. Volunteers went door to door to survey the damage to local businesses and encouraged storeowners to apply.

“From our perspective, the point was to get the funds to those who were affected most so that they can get back on their feet quickly,” Rabbi Moshe Zev Weisberg, the development corporation’s chairman, wrote in an email to the Forward. “The small businesses we assisted were our friend[s] and neighbors, as well as our partners in a healthy local economy.”

Contact Seth Berkman at

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!
  • 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?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • 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.