Burial set for elderly Jewish couple who died in Houston flooding


(JTA) — Funeral services were set for an elderly Jewish couple who drowned in the floods that swept through Houston last week.

Shirley and Jack Alter, who died when their rescue boat capsized in the rushing floodwaters, were scheduled to be buried Sunday at the Congregation Beth Yeshurun Cemetery in Houston. The boat suffered engine failure before capsizing on May 26, the Houston-based Jewish Herald-Voice reported.

The couple — Shirley Alter was 85 and Jack Alter was 87 — were wearing life jackets but were not strong enough to withstand the strong current. The couple’s 55-year-old daughter was able to float to safety, the Jewish Herald-Voice reported.

Shirley Alter’s body was recovered on the same day as the accident. Jack Alter’s body was recovered on Thursday in the Port of Houston and positively identified on Friday.

The Alters were among at least nine people killed in last week’s flooding.

Three Houston synagogues were flooded and damaged during the storm: United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston; Congregation Beth Israel’s Reform Temple; and the Meyerland Minyan, an Orthodox synagogue.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston is collecting money for a flood relief fund. The Jewish Federations of North America is sending Houston’s Jews $25,000 for urgent assistance.

Over the weekend, volunteers and federation staff handed out recovery supplies at the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC, including boxes, bins, tape, packing materials, cleaning supplies, protective equipment, trash bags, bottled water and replacement cellphone chargers. The volunteers also accepted donations of such items, according to the Herald-Voice.

Federation staff also went door to door in flood-struck areas delivering packaged meals.

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