Floods damage Ukrainian Jewish center

Major floods in Western Ukraine damaged a Jewish community center in the Transcarpathia region.

The Chabad center, the community’s kosher dining room and the rabbi’s house in the town of Uzhgorod suffered from the flooding that hit the area in late July.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Taichman, the chief rabbi of Uzhgorod and Transcarpathia, told JTA that rainwater rushed through a building that held his home and offices. He estimated the repairs would cost $15,000 to $20,000.

The dining room, which served as a restaurant for 70 diners, and a soup kitchen are now closed.

But houses and property of Jewish residents emerged from the floods unscathed.

“The majority of the local community lives here in town,” the rabbi said, “and their homes and property are sealed well.”

According to Ukraine’s Emergency Ministry, storms and floods in six western regions of Ukraine have killed at least 22 people, including six children.

Hundreds of towns and villages were flooded, damaging more than 40,000 houses and causing the evacuation of thousands of residents, officials said. The Ukrainian government called the flooding the worst the country has seen in years.

President Viktor Yushchenko declared a three-month state of emergency. The parliament has allocated some $1.2 billion for disaster relief operations.

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