The wife and five children of the Chabad emissary on the Caribbean island of St. Martin were evacuated to Puerto Rico to avoid the onslaught of Hurricane Irma last week, but Rabbi Moishe Chanowitz remained on the island to offer assistance to others as the unprecedented storm first hit early on Wednesday, Chabad officials said.
The Chabad House that was meant to shelter them in the storm was a building under construction that sustained even more damage in winds that reached 180 miles per hour.
As he sought to find ways to evacuate his young kids – all are under the age of 8 – Chanowitz was aided by fellow Chabad emissaries at the organization’s New York headquarters and in nearby Puerto Rico.
Wife Sara and the kids weathered the storm at a Chabad center in Puerto Rico.
Early Sunday morning the hurricane, measuring in at Category 4 with winds at nearly 130 miles per hour, made landfall on the Florida Keys.
— JTA contributed to this report
* Editor’s note: An earlier version of the article contained several inaccuracies which have now been corrected.