BRONXVILLE, NY — The Jewish High Holy Days begin Monday night, but one Westchester County place of worship can’t open its doors because Ida destroyed everything inside.
Rabbi Sruli Deitsch welcomed PIX11 inside his community center Sunday evening. It’s a place that’s supposed to bring families together but instead, Ida, tore it apart.
“We saw the water going higher and higher and higher,” said Rabbi Deitsch. “I knew right away we were looking at great devastation.”
Freezers stocked with food for Shabbos and holidays, bookshelves, supplies and computers were destroyed. Even more devastating, the Chabad’s two sacred Torahs were destroyed beneath six feet of water.
“The most valuable item the Jewish people own today is the Torah scroll,” said Rabbi Deitsch. “Now that this Torah is ruined, it’s a moment of mourning for the entire community.”
Ida stormed through the Chabad house just days before the Jewish High Holy Days. During the holidays, Rabbi Deitsch would normally sound a musical instrument called the shofar in the sanctuary, but that room is a total loss.
Rosh Hashana begins Monday night.
It’s a time when Jewish people around the world wish one another a sweet and healthy New Year.
This year, the holiday at this Chabad House will take on an additional meaning.
“Yes, this is devastating, but now we have a new opportunity, new potentials. God’s going to give us a blessing that we’ll be able to stand up from this, stand tall and strong,” said Rabbi Deitsch.
The 120 families who pray here will observe the holidays at the Bronxville Women’s Club.
The Chabad House is also looking to rebuild and is turning to the larger community to help.