Congregation Beth Israel in Jackson, Miss., is back up and functioning, according to office manager Ellen Alexander.
Jackson had 90-mph sustained winds during the hurricane, but was to the west of the eye. There were widespread power outages, and the congregation just this morning had power and phone service restored. While there is a great deal of tree damage in the Jackson area, Alexander said “our main concern is the people on the coast.”
Many congregants have relatives from harder-hit areas staying with them; homes with 12 to 18 people is not unusual. Plans will be made for a much larger crowd at High Holy Day services, just like last year when Hurricane Ivan threatened the coast on Rosh Hashanah. There have been no reports yet of major property damage among congregants.
The congregation will also work on local hurricane relief efforts. Normal life is a challenge, she said, noting that stores do not have any perishable foods, such as dairy items, and lines at the gas station can be two hours long.
A Bar Mitzvah scheduled for this weekend in Jackson will go on as scheduled. ‘We’re going to celebrate and do what we can do,” she said.