Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Hurricane Harvey Flooded This Synagogue. Now It’s Being Torn Down.

The United Orthodox Synagogues building in Houston, Texas, has been flooded three times in as many years. But Hurricane Harvey, which filled the space with seven feet of water in early September 2017, proved to be the final blow. The synagogue, in use since 1961, is set to be demolished, the Houston Chronicle reported.

On Sunday, congregants will pray in the space for the last time. No date has been scheduled for demolition; clergy and lay leaders are working to preserve historical and religious artifacts as they assemble a plan for a new home for their community.

“Buildings can be fixed, torn down or rebuilt,” said Amy Goldstein, a UOS congregant whose own home took on 13 feet of water during Harvey. “But this is our community and our congregation. When you share a sacred place, it’s hard to let it go.”

The synagogue is said to be considering both building a new synagogue in the same location or moving it to somewhere less prone to floods. Several of Houston’s Jewish communal centers, heavily concentrated in the southwestern Meyerland area, took on heavy flooding. One out of every 13 Jewish families sustained flooding in their homes — about 2,000 families total.

Along with UOS, two other major synagogues in Meyerland were damaged, affecting a total membership of 3,900 congregants.

Contact Ari Feldman at [email protected] or on Twitter @aefeldman

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.