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News Brief

September 26, 1926
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Isadore Schechter, aged 28, of Atlanta, Ga., and Julius Shonbeck, forty-two, of this city, two of the victims of the Miami disaster, were buried today in the Jewish cemetery.

Jewish property owners have suffered heavy losses in real estate. The city looks like a battlefield.

The Beth David Synagogue, the only Orthodox synagogue in Miami was damaged by the storm. The roof of the synagogue was torn off and the windows were smashed. The Holy Scrolls were saved by Louis Slutsky, the sexton of the synagogue, who, with his ten year old son, carried all the Torahs into the neighboring high school building.

The damaged synagogue has been converted into an emergency hospital, housing fifty beds. Relief for the Jewish victims is being organized by the official charity organizations which have formed the United Jewish Aid Committee, with P. Sheinberg as president.

A special meeting of the committee will be held tomorrow to provide employment and to grant relief loans for the several hundred Jewish families now in distress. The committee will also issue an appeal to the Jews of America for help.

A survey committee to investigate the Jewish situation and to locate the Jewish injured scattered in the various hospitals is being organized under the supervision of Rabbi Murray Alsted of Beth David Synagogue. A conference of prominent Jewish citizens throughout the state will be held during the next few days to coordinate Jewish relief work all over the state.

No deaths of Jewish residents of Hollywood and Ft. Lauderdale have been reported. These two cities are completely ruined with not a single house left.

A story of heroic courage inspired by religious devotion, amidst the scenes of desolation and destruction, was related to the representative of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency by Louis Slutsky, the sexton of the Beth David Synagogue, who rescued the Holy Scrolls from the synagogue, when it became endangered by the rising storm and hurricane.

“At the beginning we paid little attention to the storm,” Slutsky said, “but later, when we saw roofs flying in the street and when the flood began, it became clear to me that something must be done to save the Torahs at the synagogue.

“It was already dangerous to venture into the street because of flying pieces from the buildings and the flood. I thought that a repetition of Noah’s deluge was coming, when everything would be washed off the earth.

” ‘Let’s go to the synagogue and see about the Torahs,’ I said to my ten year old son. ‘If we die, then, at least it will be with a clear conscience that everything was done to save the Torahs.’ My son agreed and we left our house for the synagogue. Every second of our way was a terrible experience, but we reached the synagogue safely because ‘Shluchei mitzwa Einon Nizukin’ (a messenger on a good errand will not be harmed).

“Arriving at the synagogue, we found the building damaged and water flooding it. The water was over the Oren Kodesh (the Ark) when we reached the Torahs. Not thinking of our lives, we saved them and took them up to the women’s section in the gallery. We were prepared to carry them higher if the flood reached the gallery. But the water did not reach the gallery. We remained in the synagogue until the storm had quieted down,” Mr. Slutsky concluded.

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