Live Blogging: Sandy aftermath
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Live Blogging: Sandy aftermath

JTA Is live-blogging the effects of Superstorm Sandy on the Jewish community and beyond.  If you have a tip, photo or other storm-related information to share/request, email

Tuesday , Nov. 6, 2012

11:25 a.m. And with that last story, we break from live blogging to shift into election mode (and to vote). Thank you for reading our ongoing coverage of Hurricane Sandy’s impact and the response of the the Jewish community. The recovery effort is not yet over. Please continue to email your photos and stories to


11:12 a.m.
Today is Election Day — but not for Richard Bernstein, a Jewish attorney who narrowly lost out on his 2010 campaign bid for Michigan attorney general and whose bad luck streak was extended by Sandy:

Pummeled first by a bicycle on a New York City sidewalk in August and then by Sandy, blind Oakland County attorney Richard Bernstein, 38, said Monday he’s afraid he won’t get to vote today for the first time since he turned 18.

Michigan Secretary of State officials said Bernstein is out of luck after the storm delayed delivery of his absentee ballot to a New York hotel, where he is recuperating from the smashed pelvis he suffered when a fast-moving cyclist struck him from behind in Central Park.

Bernstein spent nearly 10 weeks in Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan as a result of his injuries before moving to the hotel Oct. 26 to continue his rehabilitation as an outpatient.

10:48 a.m. If The Forward is homeless, you wouldn’t know it from their on-site reporting post-Sandy. Video below accompanies an article about how elderly have been impacted by Sandy:

10:23 a.m. Meet Morris Sorid, the 101-year-old Holocaust survivor who survived Sandy.

“I was nearly destroyed six or seven times in my life,” said Sorid, wheelchair-bound, as he rested in his temporary quarters – the basement library of the New Hempstead retirement home in Kew Gardens, Queens.

“To tell you the truth,” he said with Borscht Belt comedic timing, “the hurricane doesn’t excite me too much.”


Monday, Nov. 5, 2012

10:35 p.m. Jewish celebrities of all stripes have been documenting their whereabouts in the aftermath of Sandy.

JTA’s celebrity blog 6 Degrees No Bacon noted that Jason Segel and Michelle Williams were safe, but their new home sustained serious damage. Actor Ben Stiller was spotted at a shelter last week, which 

Co-star of reality TV show ‘Russian Dolls’ Marina Levitis brought her local Jewish center for reprieve:

And Orthodox Jewish musician Mordechai Ben David was filmed giving a walking tour of the damage to his recording studio and neighborhood in the ravaged Sea Gate neighborhood.

4:05 p.m.
Pizza, anyone? (h/t Teaneck Patch)

Congregation Keter Torah is inviting all Teaneck-area residents to stop by for free pizza, drinks and a place to charge electronics Monday night. 

The congregation will be open from 5 to 9 p.m. for pizza, and is also open anytime for the community to charge phones. 

Residents are asked not to bring any outside food. 

More information is available by calling 201-907-0180. Congregation Keter Torah is located at 600 Roemer Avenue in Teaneck. 

3:36 p.m. Rabbi Debbie Bravo, whose North Shore Synagogue in Syosset was mentioned in JTA’s early coverage of Sandy, writes that her congregation is making the most of the situation now that power has been restored there:

I wanted to update you that we have been running a shelter all day every day at our synagogue, providing food at all meals, shelter, charging stations, children’s activities and more since we regained power on Thursday evening.  

For more information, call the temple office 516.921.2282 or Rabbi Bravo 347.351.4272.

2:38 p.m. If Rabbi Noson Leiter wanted attention for implying a cause-and-effect link between New York’s enacting gay marriage and the severity of Hurricane Sandy, he’s got it now. Governor Andrew Cuomo has weighed in with the following statement

The comments made by Rabbi Noson Leiter that sought to link the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy to our state’s embrace of marriage equality are as offensive as they are ignorant. This catastrophic storm claimed the lives of more than forty New Yorkers. This kind of hateful rhetoric has no place in our public discourse, and is particularly distasteful in times of tragedy. Our state is proud to offer equal rights to all our citizens, and we will never tolerate the use of a tragedy like Hurricane Sandy to promote a divisive and bigoted agenda. I call on Rabbi Leiter to apologize immediately for his hurtful comments.

2:09 p.m. In case you’ve been preoccupied with Sandy, tomorrow (Tuesday Nov. 6) is Election Day. New Yorkers should look up where to vote, since polling sites have been moved. A group of Orthodox Jews from battered Far Rockaway are calling foul play, alleging that a new polling site a mile away is intended to disenfranchise conservative voters in their community. (h/t Gothamist, New York Observer)

1:46 p.m. Per the New York Times report, the Manhattan offices of the Jewish Daily Forward — whose Sandy coverage deserves a shout out — are expected to be closed ‘for months’ due to flood damage in the office building. Also affected are several organizations that share space in the Forward’s office through Hazon’s Makom Hadash initiative, which includes Limmud NY, Jewish LGBT group Nehirim and the Jewish Greening Fellowship, a project of the already-hit Isabella Freedman. JTA has been working remotely since before Labor Day as we prepare to move into a new office one block north and a couple avenues east. While the move to JTA’s new office is expected to be delayed a bit further due to Sandy, it isn’t expected to be on the scale that the Forward faces. (Hat tip to Occupy Judaism, which has been doing a great job of tracking volunteer opportunities and updates. More on the repurposing of the broader Occupy movement in the wake of Sandy from Buzzfeed.) 

10:48 a.m. The UJA Federation of New York has announced that it is making $10 million available for its network agencies’ and synagogues’ relief efforts starting this morning.

10:18 a.m.
A number of Jewish day schools in the areas hit by Sandy have sustained damage. A Google Docs spreadsheet is being maintained by the Jewish Education Project keeping track of schools that have been affected as well as schools that are able to help.


Friday, Nov. 2, 2012


Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst (Marks JCH) of Bensonhurst needs 35 volunteers to sign up for Sunday activities with youth and Holocaust Survivors:

Email by 5pm Friday. Details here. (h/t JDC Entwine)

9:53 a.m. Live-blogging will resume in a few short hours. For updates related to Sandy, check out Adam Soclof’s personal Twitter feed for updates.

Thursday, Nov. 3, 2012
8:06 p.m.
Taking a break from live-blogging for the evening. Thanks for reading. We want to hear from you about how you or your communities have been affected. Email with your photos and stories.

7:29 p.m.  A Lakewood resident has created, a website that matches people affected by Sandy with host families. Someone’s getting a lump of coal in their crock pot from the asifa fairy …
5:37 p.m. 
For some, the effects of hurricane sandy are being felt into Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath. Here are some calls for help and offers for help posted to Twitter:

3:40 p.m. The Kemp Mill (Silver Spring, Maryland) Jewish community is hosting a Hurricane Sandy "relief Shabbos" for "those affected" by the storm. There are a limited number of seats on a bus from Far Rockaway, but the registration site has more details.

2:48 p.m. VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: There’s an immediate need for volunteers at 310 Greenwich St. in NYC coordinated by Chabad and JCORPS. Bring nonperishable food items and batteries.

2:19 p.m. VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: COJECO (Council of Jewish Emigre Community Organizations)needs Russian-speaking volunteers to communicate with elderly folks who have been stuck in their apartments since Monday. (See Facebook event and email blast):

We are looking for volunteers. If you are in a position to go out TODAY to visit senior citizens trapped in their homes, please call Lisa Klig at (347) 875-0676. Likewise, please call if you have information about people who require assistance.

2:03 p.m. National Guard food distribution centers in New York City opening at 3:00 p.m., according to the NY Times "The Local." A group of folks organized by Uri L’Tzedek has been going to the Lower East Side for the last couple of days to distribute food, flashlights and water to elderly who have been stranded in powerless high rise apartments. 

12:45 p.m. DNAinfo has a list of the victims in New York City. The New York Daily News has the total death toll from Sandy at 74.

12:04 p.m.
In my limited interactions with Steven I. Weiss, I (Adam Soclof) have known him to be a eager journalist for The Jewish Channel and an early Jewish blogger who’s previously written for JTA. While I can’t vouch for him as an electrical engineer, here’s hoping his do-it-yourself instructions for a phone charger are accurate (kids–adult supervision, please):

11:53 a.m. The Conservative movement posted a Sandy-inspired prayer written by Rabbi Menachem Creditor, a Conservative rabbi in Berkeley, Ca. It begins with, "Elohei ha-ruchot, God of the Winds."

10:01 a.m. Unconfirmed report from Twitter that a 63-year-old male patient who was transferred during Monday night’s power outage at NYU hospital has passed away. Not clear yet whether the death is being related to the transfer, but New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg noted in recent days that no one passed away during the patient transfers from hospitals that lost power:

9:49 a.m.
The UJA Federation – NY has set up its own separate donations site:

9:23 a.m. Video walk through of Long Beach Chabad rabbi’s house (see Wednesday 5:00 p.m.). Still standing but in lousy condition after the storm: 


8:34 p.m. The New York Daily News has more details on the victim of the mugging caught on tape Monday night as Sandy was bearing down. His name is Jeremy Furchtgott, a 21-year-old Princeton graduate.

6:25 p.m.
Live blog updates will be less frequent this evening than yesterday, but check in for updates. Share with us by emailing 

5:57 p.m.
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES: Repair The World has updated its list of volunteer opportunities.

5:00 p.m.
Chabad Lubavitch community news site reports that their emissaries, also called shluchim, in Long Beach, N.Y., were among those whose home was destroyed.

4:49 p.m. Swastika found on a Sheepshead Bay car wash, allegedly painted after the storm. No word on whether the perpetrators had anything better to do with their time.

3:42 p.m.
A rabbi by the name of Rabbi Noson Leiter claims to know why Sandy hit New York with such severity: it starts with "G" and ends with "A-Y marriage." Once again, natural disaster begets disasterous inferencing skills.

3:37 p.m.
The Canadian Jewish Federations are responding to Sandy.

3:19 p.m.
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES: Massachusetts-based Boston Cares invites those interested in volunteering for Sandy relief to register through their site and to sign-up for mandatory orientation.
To organize an on-site orientation for a group of 10 or more people, email (h/t

3:03 p.m. Mazel Day School in Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach neighborhood shared this photo via Facebook of Torah scrolls unfurled and drying post-Sandy:

2:53 p.m. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is giving a press conference. Watch live now:

2:43 p.m. Seeing reports on Twitter and Facebook that Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women is closing their dorms due to lack of power and water. JTA’s Chavie Lieber spoke with a YU administrator on Tuesday, who reported that the school gave out meals, flashlights and light stix to students in the Stern and Cardozo dormitories after the power went out Monday night. As of Tuesday, the school was trying to hook up generators for the lounges.

2:20 p.m. New York City subways will be restored with limited service on Thursday. Finally, the city’s capillaries can take commuters to work —  unless you’re a JTA employee, as our new office is still under construction. 
There’s also talk of a temporary ban on passenger cars entering Manhattan, The New York Post reports. The mayor’s office denies this.

1:39 p.m. Brattleboro, Vt., Saul Bellow’s final resting place, was walloped by Irene in 2011, but seems to have fared realtively better during Sandy. If you have updates about Jewish communities affected by Sandy — large or small — email us at

12:29 p.m. DONATING: Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) has enabled mobile phone donations via text message, William Daroff writes on Twitter. Also, Red Cross shared shelter statistics earlier today:1:3

12:21 p.m. VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Lunch break volunteer opportunity organized by Chabad in NYC (h/t Natan Fund). 

11:19 a.m. Leaders of the Jewish Federations of North America say the organization’s annual General Assembly, set to take place in Baltimore from Nov. 11-13, is proceeding as planned.

11:03 a.m. The JTA Archive Blog has recovery info for libraries, museums and other historical institutions whose collections may have been damaged by Sandy. (h/t Metropolitan New York Library Council)

10:50 a.m. From Commentary Magazine on Facebook: "Due to Hurricane Sandy, our website is currently offline. Our servers are located in Lower Manhattan and the backup generators are out of fuel. We hope to be back online soon, but do not have an estimate."

10:23 a.m. Across the pond, The Jewish Chronicle points out that filming of Darren Aronofsky’s Biblical flood film "Noah" was postponed by Sandy.

9:32 a.m.
Sandy was fatal, killing at least 45. But as the damage is being assessed, there have been glimmers of the lighter side as people on Twitter attempt to reclaim order from chaos. Rabbi Charlie Savenor of the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism (USCJ) announced a community-building BBQ, while Riverdale SAR High School’s associate principal Rabbi Jonathan Kroll spent the night rebutting students who argued that school should remain closed another day

9:22 a.m. 
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism has opened a relief fund through an online Razoo campaign.

9:18 a.m.
Amid his election campaign for Congress, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach weighs in on theological issues raised by Hurricane Sandy. Namely, "Where was G-d?"

8:44 a.m.
Orthodox blog Yeshiva World News has posted a video of the Agudah of Bayswater in Far Rockaway. The footage is peppered with ‘yeshivish,’ a hybrid Jewish-Yiddish-English, but the damage is immense, as seen by those wading through the residual flood water, whose water level reached 6-feet during the storm. Poignant moment at 1:18: retrieving the Sh’ma prayer from a mezuzah. The YWN blog has information, including how to donate: 

8:36 a.m. 
Update on airport travel from travel website Airfare Watchdog on Twitter. Guess the ‘Jersey boys’ stuck in Dallas are free to come home:

8:33 a.m
. Footage of Chasidic Jews testing the waters of Coney Island during Hurricane Sandy on Monday afternoon was released by Angela Jimenez yesterday. Watch the wave retreat at the end; clearly the years of simcha tanzing paid off:

8:26 a.m. Steve Lipman compares the storm to a different natural disaster more than 35 years ago: the 1977 Buffalo blizzard. From JTA’s original coverage of that event:

The Jewish community in Buffalo along with everyone else in the city and area was beginning to recover today from the severe winter blizzard which dumped 170 inches of snow and drove temperatures down to below freezing for 35 consecutive days.

12:34 a.m.
Sharing an S.O.S. spotted by Archive blogger Adam Soclof, then cashing in and closing up shop until tomorrow. Thanks for following. More updates in the morning as our ongoing Sandy response coverage continues.

Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012

11:32 p.m. Crown Heights Info — the community blog that released closed circuit security camera footage of Ehud Halevi being roughed up by police on the Shemini Atzeret holiday — has uploaded the following video to YouTube, claiming that it  depicts the mugging of a Jewish man. A description of the alleged crime can be found on

11:17 p.m.
Photos from Rabbi Marjorie Slome of The West End Temple in Neponsit, N.Y., taken in the Rabbi Joseph I. Weiss Sanctuary:

8:56 p.m. Yavneh Academy boys basketball team is stuck in Dallas, per Dallas’ CBS 11. The good news is, they’re getting better than lone-star treatment:
The team has been given a nickname — the Jersey boys — and they’ve become the center of attention.

“It feels like we go to this school,” said Jordan Altman. “Its like they are freshman we don’t know. It’s been very welcoming.”

The Jersey boys have had a chance to check out North Texas treasures, like the Arboretum and Cowboys Stadium. But what they say they will remember most is the kindness they were shown when they needed it most.

“When people say stranded, they get the wrong idea. They think we have nowhere to stay or no food,” says Mordechai Weiss. “But the second we got here, Yavneh and Dallas community took us in like their family.”

8:40 p.m. VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: From social justice organization Uri L’Tzedek "David Bookinder, Uri L’Tzedek’s chair of college initiatives, will head to the corner of Jefferson and Rutgers on the Lower East Side Wednesday at noon." Volunteers are asked to bring bottled water, batteries, flashlights and candles to distribute. Email for details.

Uri L’Tzedek posted this account of their Tuesday Lower East Side visit to their Facebook page:

Today I spent my afternoon on the Lower East Side of Manhattan with many elderly residents who are stuck in their apartments without water, electricity or any way to get out of their buildings without a running elevator. I walked around three high rises handing out water bottles, batteries and flashlights. We were met in the hallways by residents who were anxious and alone and desperate for some drinking water and someone to talk to. At the end of a long day, Rabbi Ari Hart (Co-founder of Uri L’Tzedek), Rabbi Steven Exler and a group of committed rabbinical students and I went home feeling worried for the many who we had touched today that would continue to live without electricity for at least 3-10 days…

6:40 p.m. Lest you think this storm is only affecting New York, The Cleveland Jewish News reports that a residential apartment complex was evacuated due to damage.

6:22 p.m. As a reminder, New York City Parks are officially closed and potentially dangerous (or fatal). Please exercise caution and avoid until further notice.

E-mail Notice from the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, sent 3 p.m. Tuesday:

All NYC parks, playgrounds, beaches, and recreation centers remain closed until further notice due to hazardous conditions. The winds remain strong and the hurricane has compromised many of the trees inside parks and along sidewalks. To report a tree issue, please call 311 or text 311-692, or submit an online forestry service request. 911 is reserved for emergency calls ONLY.

6:09 p.m. The Forward and the New York Observer report that a young Jewish couple was killed in Brooklyn’s Ditmas Park by a falling tree while walking their dog. Jacob Vogelman and Jessie Streich-Kest, both 23 years old, were raised in progressive Park Slope synagogues.

5:30 p.m. The Forward has a beautifully dystopian narrated slideshow of photos from the Sea Gate community in Coney Island. Sidewalks and roads are completely obscured by sand.

Hurricane Sandy Hits Sea Gate, Coney Island from Jewish Daily Forward on Vimeo.

5:27 p.m. Two JTA features related to Sandy, one general and one specifically addressing social media’s role in sharing information:

5:01 p.m. How to help if you’re in Chicago, Southern California and Miami:

3:55 p.m. Relieving news from the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan:

3:45 p.m. Photo: As the worst of the weather brought on by superstorm Sandy began to subside, a double rainbow appeared in the skies over Manhattan –  one week after we read about Noah and the flood in synagogues on Shabbat. (Kurt Wilberding)

3:30 p.m. Photo of a haredi couple waiting for the storm to start yesterday (via @azipaybarah on Twitter)

3:04 p.m. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says too windy to secure hanging, collapsed crane on 57th St. “The procedure," Bloomberg said, "will be to get the boom and strap it to the building." Here is a live video feed of the situation:


2:46 p.m. The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) has also set up a relief fund.

2:30 p.m.
Photo of a boat on the Metro North Railroad tracks near the Ossining, N.Y. (Courtesy of the MTA)

2:03 p.m. The Jewish Federations of North America has set up a relief fund (h/t @Daroff via Twitter):

1:06 p.m. Isabella Freedman Jewish retreat center in Connecticut just shared this photo, announcing that a tree literally tore through the roof of the main hall. Thankfully, no one was injured, according to director David Weissberg.

12:54 p.m.
NYC Aviation predicts that JFK airport may reopen as early as Wednesday, but that Laguardia (LGA) may remain closed for longer. One tipster flew back to Detroit for the World Series is still stuck there following the Giants’ sweep of the Tigers on their home turf.

12:35 LaGuardia airport’s jet way under water (via Brian Van de Graaff)

12:03 p.m.
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: NYC Services has put out a call for help via Facebook. Email with your name, email address and borough.

11:46 a.m. Photo from JTA web production coordinator Uri Fintzy of the crane looming over 57th St:

11:42 a.m. Haredi online news outlet Vos iz Neias reports that B&H Photo, the New York City-based photo equipment retailer, will open at 12:30. Impressive, considering they’re not even open on chol hamoed Sukkot.

11:42 a.m.
 VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES: Repair the World has info on how to volunteer and report damage in the Lower East Side. Additional info on how to volunteer for Red Cross and/or donate.

11:33 a.m. One storm, two opinions: Rabbi Harold Kushner ("When Bad Things Happen To Good People") tells The HuffingtonPost that "Nature is value-free." Meanwhile, Rabbi Simon Jacobson ("Toward a Meaningful Life") offers the opposite view on the Algemeiner website.

11:08 a.m. In case you missed these earlier reports:

  • Jewish institutions stay closed. (JTA)
  • Israel-U.S. flights still delayed. (JTA)
  • Jewish communities pounded. (Forward)
  • Long Island man finds kosher food in shelter, but no minyan. (BusinessWeek)
  • The CEO of the International Association of Jewish Vocational Services gets stuck… in Naples, Fla. (NaplesNews)
  • Jewish senator tells constituents to stay home… he doesn’t need their early votes that badly. (Baltimore Jewish Times)

11:01 a.m. The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago opens fund for storm relief.

10:56 a.m. The HuffingtonPost, BuzzFeed and Gawker are down (Poynter). JTA, The New York Jewish Week, the Forward, Tablet and Jewish Press are up. Hmmmm.

10:53 a.m. Sandi Dubowski says it looks like things are good with his parents.

10:51 a.m. No one knows when N.Y. subways will be running again. (Atlantic)

10:37 a.m.  A Jewish man might miss his wedding because of Sandy. (Ynet)

10:23 a.m. Photo from Teaneck, N.J. What’s the opposite of Tree of Life? (Anonymous tipster) :

Teaneck tree

10:08 a.m. Photo from Staten Island, N.Y. via YiddishNews :

Staten Island car

9:52 a.m. Filmmaker Sandi Dubowski ("Trembling Before G-d") is frantically looking for info about his parents via Twitter: