Congregations mostly escape Rita damage

Louisiana’s synagogues mostly escaped significant damage from Hurricane Rita on Sept. 24, with the congregation suffering the most damage being further away from the center of the storm than many others.

Temple Sinai in Lake Charles, near where the eye came ashore, was not in the area of town that flooded. Many members’ homes had “significant” damage, and High Holy Day services were cancelled.

Temple Emanuel in Beaumont, Tex., did not have serious damage, but many members had damage, and had evacuated elsewhere to ride out the storm. High Holy Day services were also cancelled there.

In Lafayette, further to the east, Temple Shalom was not damaged significantly, nor were there reports of damage to members’ homes. The same is true for Gates of Prayer in New Iberia, just to the south of Lafayette.

Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge, as previously reported, suffered major damage as a drainage system backed up and water streamed into the sanctuary and social hall. The rooms have been completely gutted to the brick walls and the congregation will have a major renovation project this year. High Holy Day services were to be held in neighboring Jefferson Baptist Church, with a reception following in the cleaned-out social hall at Beth Shalom.