A Message From R. Yaakov Bender, RY Darchei Torah, Far Rockaway

Sifrei Torah drying in Brighton Beach

We have just gone through a difficult few days and I would like to go over two important points:

1. Many people , young and old, are hurting now. They need help in cleaning their homes from all the water and the debris. Please encourage your children to stop whatever it is they are doing and offer to help. Whatever is required, please roll up your sleeves and get to work.

2. There are many families in town that have literally been wiped out. We must get them back on their feet. I personally know of many families who have lost everything including every bit of clothing, furniture, etc. They are literally left with the proverbial clothing on their backs. When the campaign begins shortly, chaired by distinguished baalei batim in our community, we ask you to respond generously. This is literally a once in a lifetime opportunity.

We look forward to see only happy endings and beginnings.

Thank you very much,

Rabbi Yaakov Bender

Rosh HaYeshiva

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16 Responses

  1. lacosta says:

    i assume the ‘stop whatever they are doing ‘ doesn’t mean leave the beis medrash and do acts of chessed…..or am i wrong?

  2. Bob Miller says:

    Is there an organized online way to get $ to our storm-impacted communities?

  3. Mr. Cohen says:

    Rabbi Yaakov Bender said:
    “This is literally a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

    I hope you are right about that; I certainly would not want this to happen more than once in a lifetime,
    especially coming only 11 years after the World Trade Center disaster and only a year or two after
    experiencing a tornado and a hurricane within one week of each other in New York City.

  4. Shades of Gray says:

    The caption underneath the photo should read “…Brighton Beach”. This is Chabad’s FREE of Brighton Beach Shul/Mazel Day School for Russians(R. David B. Hollander was Rabbi here as well). VIN has an article with the photo shown here, as well as links for donations (“Brooklyn, NY – Hurricane Devastates Sefer Torah And Yeshiva In Brighton Beach”).

  5. Shalom says:

    Agudah sent me this link to donate – https://www.achiezer.org/donate.php

  6. Nathan says:

    Considering that the Jews of Far Rockaway lost everything they had in Far Rockaway,
    maybe now would be a logical time for them to make aliyah to Israel;
    instead of rebuilding Jewish Far Rockaway, they could instead rebuild Jewish Israel.

  7. Mordechai says:

    The photo is from the Hebrew Alliance of Brighton Beach Shul in Brooklyn, NY. As stated above, Rabbi David B. Hollander z”l was Rav there after having to leave his Bronx, NY pulpit due to neighborhood change. Lubavitch took it over after Rabbi Hollander passed away close to four years ago.

    I was telling someone about it and he wondered how a sefer Torah got damaged in that way. There is a reason why there are not more photos like that, namely because people in vulnerable areas tended to move sifrei Torah to safer locations, higher ground, in the face of the storm. And they are anyway not usually kept near ground level.

  8. Steve Brizel says:

    Nathan-I don’t think that now is the time to engage in comments that draw conclusions from terrible events in the absence of nevuah, which the Talmud has told us has ceased to exist .Instead, we should be focusing on dealing with the Es Tzara that the communities in issue are confronting-destroyed homes, water soaked and damaged yeshivos and shuls,loss of clothing, etc. I don’t think that analysis that blames a particular calamity on not adhering to one mitzvah or another ( either blaming Charedim or secular Zionists for the Holocaust-which your post is rooted in a similar reductionist like logic) adds to the discussion of how to enable people to rebuild their lives, homes and communities.

  9. SZiskind says:

    Please have rachmanus on your fellow Jews. Making aliyah to Israel is not a simple matter it’s a decision that involves a lot of complexity and thought. As much of a zchus it is for people to live in Eretz Yisroel, that comment is irrelevant when people have lost their homes. How is this constructive and how does this help your fellow Jews?

  10. Raymond says:

    Just one short thought on all those natural disasters that happened recently on the East Coast: With our nation so tightly involved in the upcoming Presidential race, with half the nation insisting that their candidate is the only one worthy of being President, and the other half insisting the same about their candidate, it seems like quite a coincidence that now, of all times, do these terrible storms hit our nation. It is as if G-d is reminding us of Who is really in charge of things.

  11. Steve says:

    Please don’t see this comment as insensitive. I only want to ask what I think many are wondering and if you answer this it will hopefully motivate some hesitant people to give:

    Many of the affected communities that are collecting appear to be wealthy communities. While I’m sure the cost is devastating even to people who can afford such expensive homes, aren’t there others with stronger needs at this time? Will the money donated to rebuild be funding the construction of the same expensive homes? Do many of these families have enough funds of their own in the bank to recover without much financial stress?

    Please understand – I don’t mean to diminish the level of the devastation. I just want to understand. Any help with this issue will be greatly appreciated.

  12. Mordechai says:

    Update: I found an article which gives more information on the background behind the photo. It says that the Torahs were in a locked safe five feet above ground when the storm came.

    Google: daily news okonov torah

  13. Whoa nelly says:


    Your comment is uninformed. Whole there are wealthy people who love in the 5 towns as well as other shore communities, there are many others who are fare from being wealthy and have nothing left at this point. I personally know several.

    Besides, being wealthy does not mean you do not need services. On top of that, those same wealthy individuals have themselves been contributing huge amounts of support to these organizations. All the more because they are in similar situations.

    What is more than a bit surprising is why you even asked such a question, the answer being obvious even without knowing specific cases.

    I got an email from a friend who lives in the Rockaways and was flooded out the apartment and lostost everything other than what she evacuated with. Including her source of parnassa. Since she couldn’t work, she spent the interim time volunteering a some of sites.

    Such is our people. Wealthy or not.

  14. Steve says:

    Whoa nelly,

    Thanks for clarification. I asked so I could get the answer you wrote. I don’t live in the area and I have to view from afar based on the pictures. There’s a tour of the Sea Gate devastation I watched and it made me ask why people with million dollar homes are asking for help to rebuild. Do I want my money going to rebuild waterfront mansions? But you answered that the money is not going to rebuild the mansions. The owners of the mansions are contributing to these funds and helping others. Whether they rebuild their mansions is up to them, but I’m happy to know the money is really going to those who are in dire need. Thank you for helping me understand this! Trust me, I’m not the only one asking this question!

  15. Bob Miller says:

    The object is to get Jewish families back on their feet and safe. The size of their previous homes, or the lack of it, is irrelevant.

  16. Susan Leigh says:

    Rabbi Bender,

    Please tell me where I can send things. Our Jewish community sent a tractor trailer to Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, etc. and I’m shipping five cartons of school supplies to the Long Beach Public Schools tomorrow.

    I want to help Darchei families.


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