She survived Hitler, but not the hurricane

September 1, 2011
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A lone Chasid walks through evacuated Brooklyn

A lone Chasid walks through evacuated Brooklyn

Three Jews were among the 40 deaths in 10 American states hit by Hurricane Irene, reports said this week. Among them was a rabbi, a first aid worker and a Holocaust survivor.

On Sunday, Rabbi David Reichenberg, 50, who lived in Spring Valley, New York, was trying to save a father and his six-year-old son, Reuven Herbst, from power lines which had been downed during the storm. Tragically, the father of four was electrocuted during his rescue attempt. Both Mr Herbst and his son survived.

In Princeton, New Jersey, Michael Kenwood, 39, an emergency medical worker, was dispatched to check on whether an apparently abandoned car, submerged in flood water, was actually occupied. Mr Kenwood slipped from his safety harness and was swept away by the strong current.

In upstate New York, in the Catskills, an 82-year-old Holocaust survivor, originally from Russia, Rozalia Gluck, had been visiting friends in the Chasidic community when the motel she was staying in, Fleischmann's, was detached from its moorings and floated away.

Mrs Gluck's husband had been evacuated earlier with other guests, but his wife did not survive. Isaac Abraham, a leader in the Brooklyn Chasidic community, told the New York Daily News: "She survived Hitler, but she couldn't survive Irene."

In advance of Hurricane Irene, many synagogues moved sifrei Torah to higher ground, above where congregations thought flood waters would hit.

In New York itself, reports said that a number of Jewish communities were subject to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's evacuation order, which mainly affected Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and the borough of Queens.

In Monroe, Orange County, the Satmar Chasidic town of Kiryas Joel ignored federal, state and county government warnings and opened its schools on Sunday during the hurricane. As a result, a Satmar school bus stalled in the floods and the children had to be rescued - much to the irritation of local officials.

    Last updated: 1:05pm, September 1 2011