A telephone survey today of three areas hit or scraped by tropical storm Agnes found no special damage caused to Jewish communities. Only from Olean. N.Y., where there are 55 Jewish families in a population of 22,000, did a source single out Jews as having been noticeable affected.
Silas B. Steinhart, president of B’nai Israel in Olean, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Isadore Solomon, a meat marketer, and Oscar Zuckerman, owner of a hardware outfit, had had their stores flooded and were temporarily but of business. Steinhart said the damage was not major. There is no “Jewish section” in Olean, he noted, adding that reports of the town’s being “totally destroyed” were “Vastly exaggerated.”
In Richmond, Va., there was no special damage to Jewish facilities and institutions, reported Julius Mintzer, executive director of the Jewish Community Council. There are 10,000 Jews in a population of 350,000 there, he said, but all or virtually all live in the far west end, which was not hit by Agnes. There were “Very, very few casualties totally,” Mintzer said, because there were ample warnings. “We’re fortunate in that respect,” he concluded.
The secretary of the only synagogue in Wayne, N. J.–Bea Weisberg of Temple Beth Tikvah–said no special damage to the Jewish community was evident. “We haven’t heard anything, we weren’t called,” she said. “The temple would have been available for people to use, no matter who they were, but we weren’t asked.” The synagogue is away from the Mountain View section, which was the hardest hit. Calls to Harrisburg and Wilkes-Barre, Pa., could not be placed because lines were still down as a result of the storm.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.