Missouri horror tornado leaves shul intact

May 26, 2011
Survivors emerging from the rubble

Survivors emerging from the rubble

The Jewish community of Joplin, Missouri, is struggling to come to terms with the effects of the huge tornado which hit the town this week, killing 125 people and turning houses into rubble.

Although not one member of the 50 Jewish families that live in the town were killed, many lost their homes.

"All Jewish people in Joplin are now accounted for," said Rabbi Yehuda Weg of Chabad-Lubavitch of Tulsa-Oklahoma, "but some have lost houses."

Rabbi Weg is a regular visitor to Joplin to serve its community and provide kosher supervision there.

Joplin, a city of 50,000, is prone to tornados, but has not experienced anything of the magnitude that it saw last Sunday.

"The destruction in the city is impossible to describe. Miles and miles of rubble," said Rabbi Weg on returning from the city.

The Jews of Joplin are mostly members of the reform United Hebrew Congregation. The synagogue, which was not damaged, will function as a distribution centre for the town.

Israeli Omri Mani, 25, was at a shopping mall as the tornado swept through the town.

Mr Mani was forced to spend the first night after the storm in his car after he discovered that he had lost all of his belongings. "The block I live in was knocked down. I lost everything," he said. In the rubble, however, he located his tefillin and put them on, saying that he put his trust in God.

Last updated: 2:09pm, May 26 2011