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L.I. Church Holds Rosh Hashanah Services After Pipe Breaks At Jewish Center

Members From Both Sides Work With Volunteers To Make A Bad Situation Good
Members of the Jewish Center of Island Park hold a Rosh Hashanah service at Sacred Heart Church on Sept. 17, 2012. (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

Members of the Jewish Center of Island Park hold a Rosh Hashanah service at Sacred Heart Church on Sept. 17, 2012. (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

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ISLAND PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A ruptured pipe threatened to dampen Rosh Hashanah services on Long Island, but instead it brought neighbors of two faiths closer together.

Synagogue leaders arrived at the Jewish Center of Island Park on Sunday to find the ground floor completely flooded.

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports

“The nipple of the pipe had burst, completely flooding about two-thirds of the way back through the building,” said Steve Gappelberg, a member of the center. “It was unusable.”

“I haven’t been in the building because it would break my heart,” added Lisa Arian of the Congregation Beth Shalom.

Organizers turned to their neighbors at the Sacred Heart Church a block away to help them start off the new year right.

However, the church wasn’t quite ready to receive company. The Parish Hall remained in disarray a week after celebrating the Feast of San Gennaro.

“We spent the entire day moving 250 chairs, bringing over our torah scrolls, portable arc, and we turned this auditorium into a synagogue,” Jewish Center of Island Park co-president Steve Diamond told CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang.

Firefighters and volunteers quickly pitched in and scrambled to get the Parish Hall in shape for the Rosh Hashanah services.

“We do work very closely together and there’s a wonderful respect,” Father John Tutone said. “This is just reflective of what always is here in our community.”

All involved agreed that this meeting of two faiths showed how people can work together and respect each other even if they have different beliefs.

“New year, new start, new beginning and we’re all here to be together,” Rabbi Mark Getman added.

“It means the world. Without it we were nothing, nowhere to turn,” Jewish Center of Island Park secretary and treasurer Steve Michelson said.

Services will be held at the church through Yom Kippur as repairs are made at the synagogue, 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported.

“This was really a godsend,” Diamond said.

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