Snippets of personal stories continued to come out of the East Coast on Thursday in the wake of the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Sandy across New Jersey and New York. As Jewish communities tried to adjust and regain normalcy, some offered help; others offered explanations.
Rabbi Noson Leiter of Torah Jews for Decency, for example, called the superstorm “divine justice” for New York’s same-sex marriage legislation, alluding to lower Manhattan as one of the nation’s “centers of homosexuality.”
He appeared on a Voice of Christian Youth America program to discuss the state’s legalization of gay unions, and compared the storm to the biblical flood of which Noah and his family were the sole survivors.
“The Lord will not bring another flood to destroy the entire world, but he could punish particular areas with a flood, and if we look at the same-gender marriage recognition movement that’s occurring, that certainly is a message for us to learn,” the rabbi said.
One of the families that lost their homes in the storm was the Goodmans — Rabbi Eli Goodman, his wife Beila, and their four children — in Long Beach, a neighborhood of Long Island, New York. Their home was located right on the boardwalk, some 20 feet from the water’s edge. The Goodmans were working in the area as Chabad emissaries.
The Jewish-American site Repair the World updated its list of volunteer opportunities in the tri-state area to help with post-storm disasters. Some of the options the organization recommends are Lower East Side Recovers, which allows New York City residents to help others devastated by the storm; Red Hook Recovers; Staten Island Recovers, and Clean Up Sheepshead Brooklyn, which highlight programs in the city’s waterfront areas.