NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The doors to a once-thriving Queens synagogue that helped feed the hungry still remain closed, more than three years after Superstorm Sandy’s floodwaters poured through.
Now, the rabbi of the nearly century-old Shaare Zedek congregation is asking for the public’s help to raise money to repair the historic synagogue’s food bank and soup kitchen, CBS2’s Mark Morgan reported.READ MORE: Gas Eyed As Cause Of House Explosion That Killed 1 Woman, Injured 8 Others In The Bronx
Rabbi Yussie Beirack can barely walk through the crumbling wreckage filling the Far Rockaway synagogue he’s led for nearly a decade. Mold covers the floor and walls, from Superstorm Sandy’s six-foot floodwaters. The damage left the roof of the building shifted and leaky — with damage worsening every time it rains.
“FEMA did not give us a penny for it — we asked them for money,” Beirach said. “We’re a nonprofit organization, a synagogue, so we’re not covered under FEMA.”
Beirach said the congregation has also repeatedly tried getting grants from other charitable organizations, but have had no luck.
The congregation had no flood insurance and its private insurance company rejected their claim, ruling the damage was caused by wind.
The synagogue still delivers some food to neighbors, like Mary Fearnot, 86, who struggles with arthritis, WLNY TV 10/55’s Long Island Bureau Chief Richard Rose reported.READ MORE: NYPD Officer Released From Hospital After Being Shot In The Bronx
“It was convenient for me,” Fearnot said. “Otherwise, I have to go into Far Rockaway, into the village, and I’m not able to travel now.”
The Far Rockaway synagogue was first established in 1918, but moved to its current location on Beach 30th Street in 1973.
“It’s sad, this was a thriving congregation — a brand new floor was put in a few months before Sandy,” Beirach said.
Rabbi Beirach said he hopes to raise $200,000 to help repair the building and bring back the congregation’s spirits.
“Please help as much as you can, because we need a food bank in this neighborhood,” Fearnot said.
Beirach is asking anyone who wants to donate, or to get involved with fundraising efforts to contact him at:MORE NEWS: New York AG: Trump Organization Misled Banks And Tax Officials
Congregation Shaare Zedek
Rabbi Yussie Beirach