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Orthodox Volunteers Shake Off Prohibition To Help Harvey-Stricken Churches

Volunteers with ZAKA, a search and rescue operation run by Israeli Orthodox Jews, are helping repair Houston churches damaged by intense flooding during Hurricane Harvey, reported Breaking Israel News. The decision to help the churches breaks with a custom against entering Christian houses of worship that many Orthodox Jews adhere to.

ZAKA chairman Yehuda Zahav told BIN that there was a “religious imperative to help, since every man was created in God’s image.”

The volunteers are helping with the restoration of Gulf Meadows Church, which is in an area of Houston that reported several dozen rescue requests during the storm and subsequent flooding.

“Throughout history we stayed far away since the church presented both spiritual and physical threats to our people,” said Rabbi Weisz, the publisher of Breaking Israel News. “Nevertheless, Yehuda Meshi Zahav didn’t hesitate to send the Ultra-Orthodox ZAKA volunteers to assist the Gulf Meadow Church suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.”

“We are blessed and privileged to number one have anybody come from Israel, but secondarily to have religious people come with shoulder to shoulder help, we are honored beyond belief,” the church’s pastor, Becky Keenan, said.

Contact Ari Feldman at feldman@forward.com or on Twitter @aefeldman.

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