web analytics
March 5, 2015 / 14 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Yom Kippur Inspires Determination in Wake of Colorado Floods

Some 300 people came specifically because of the floods.
The Chabad Jewish Center in Longmont, Colo., was struck by flash floods.

The Chabad Jewish Center in Longmont, Colo., was struck by flash floods.
Photo Credit: Chabad.org

As heavy rains and flash-flooding continued to batter the Boulder, Colo., area straight through Yom Kippur, and with rains continuing to hamper rescue efforts throughout the region on Sunday, Chabad rabbis told of devastation and devotion, as well as a dedication to volunteerism in the tough and uncertain days ahead.

Despite severe flooding in the synagogue of the Chabad on Campus center in Boulder, Rabbi Yisroel Wilhem, co-director of Chabad of the University of Colorado, held Yom Kippur services upstairs in the lobby of the building, which is above the flood line.

“We had about 300 people in attendance. Many people were not able to leave their homes because of the devastation, but many, many others came specifically because of what has been going on,” Wilhelm said on Sunday morning.

He noted that while some who were expected to attend were not able to make it, there were many new faces as well. His sermon, he said, focused on galvanizing his community—comprised heavily of students at the University of Colorado—to get out and help others.

As soon as the holy day ended on Saturday evening, despite flooding in his own home, Wilhelm began to organize hundreds of volunteers to help locals who have been affected by the rains. He created a Facebook page and a web site where both volunteers, as well as people in need of help, can sign up. He had 25 students volunteering on Friday and expected upwards of 50 students to be on hand on Sunday, helping people salvage their personal effects and valuables from their waterlogged homes.

“I have my new hero,” said Wilhelm. “A student who lives up the canyon was told by the police that he could not make his way down to services because of the flooding since the road was not there anymore. He just came down with his bike. He was wet and dirty to his waist because he had to cross two ‘rivers’ while holding his bike in the air. He stayed with us for Yom Kippur.”

The student, Jefferey Schnissel, is a chemistry major at University of Colorado. Schnissel, who is still recovering from a wrist injury, said the roads between his residence Cold Creek Canyon and the Chabad center had been washed away, and the only way he was able to come was via a patchwork of bike trails and streets.

 ‘Especially Poignant’ Yom Kippur Services

“At times, it was scary, and I did not know where to turn next, but I knew that I needed to be at Chabad for Yom Kippur and that I was in G‑d’s hands,” he said.

“The services were awesome. It seemed like the whole community gravitated together. People felt a sense of refuge.”

Rabbi Yaakov Borenstein, co-director of the Chabad Jewish Center in nearby Longmont, serves as a chaplain with the Longmont Police department. Borenstein received an urgent phone call on Thursday evening asking for reliable people to distribute blankets, cash cards and other necessities to people in need. With less than 24 hours before the start Yom Kippur, he recruited 10 members of his community to get ready to work. They were there until 6 or 7 the next morning.

Meanwhile, the Borentsteins themselves were ordered to evacuate their home, which was subsequently damaged by the flooding.

“It was 3 a.m., and our electricity was out,” said Borenstein, “So there we were with flashlights fishing around for clothes for the kids, as well as everything we would need for our Yom Kippur services.” The Borensteins got the last room in the same hotel where they had previously booked the meeting room to host Yom Kippur services. “We also paid for rooms in a nearby hotel for a number of other families who had lost their homes.”

Borenstein says the services were especially poignant, as despair and gloom hovered in the atmosphere. “We have not had a flood in Colorado in 100 years. That means that no one has insurance.

“Looking forward, we are going to have to help everyone get back on their feet. Across the street from the Chabad center, houses are devastated. Thank G‑d our door faced away from the current, and we managed to sandbag the doorways in time, but others were not as fortunate. People were crying, knowing that it is going to be a very, very hard year.”

About the Author: Chabad.org is a division of the Chabad-Lubavitch Media Center, under the auspices of the Lubavitch World Headquarters


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Yom Kippur Inspires Determination in Wake of Colorado Floods”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
An Arab sheikh hands out flowers in a gesture of brotherhood and good will.
Haifa U Research Confirms, ‘Think Good & It Will Be Good!’
Latest News Stories
An Arab sheikh hands out flowers in a gesture of brotherhood and good will.

Researchers at the University of Haifa find that it is better for customer service employees to express positive emotions rather than show neutrality in their work.

PA/PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas addresses Central Committee convention in Ramallah.

Palestinian Authority and PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas says Israel will never be accepted as a Jewish State, but played coy about security issues.

The Department of Justice concluded Michael Brown did not have his hands up in surrender when Officer Wilson shot him in August, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri.

Ferguson police officer cleared by Justice Department of civil rights charges in shooting of Michael Brown.

Rocket Gazing - Watching an Iron Dome intercept in Tel Aviv.

When Hamas launches rockets at Tel Aviv, only 100,000 people will need to seek shelter, instead of 400,000.

Two Islamic holidays have officially been added to the New York City public school calendar, closing schools on those days starting next year.

It was probably the first time that the marble relief portrait of Moses hanging in the House Chamber ever received such public acknowledgement.

If President Obama isn’t going to listen to Netanyahu, at least he should listen to the concrete proposals by members of his own Democratic party.

Eli Yishai is starting to surge upward.

State Dept. press briefing reporter: ‘Netanyahu said Iran and ISIS are working together.’ No, he said the opposite.

Andrea Shea King singled out the Black Congressional Caucus in a racist rant.

One issue the anti-Netanyahu parties and their media boosters don’t talk about is daily terror.

The anti-Bibi barrage last week cost him a grand total of two seats, which went to other parties but not to Bujie and Tzipi.

Rav Ovadia Yosef’s hat and robes made an appearance at a Shas political rally on Tuesday.

Don’t listen just to Bibi, President Obama, but to your own experts, right there in Washington DC.

She was brought to tears and “saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States.”

Jordan’s King Abdullah II warns the battle against Daesh, known as ISIS, has launched World War III, although the U.S.-led coalition fighting the terror group may not yet know it.

More Articles from Chabad.org
A rocket fell near a Synagogue in the Ukraine during some of the worst of the fighting between pro-Russia separatists and government forces. (archive)

“This is yet another extraordinarily difficult day that we have endured, and sadly, we have recently known many especially difficult and terrible days.”

Gabriel Felder was selected for the prestigious honor of representing his graduating class at The George Washington University commencement, marking the second year in a row that a Jewish student leader has done so.

Felder said he and his fellow students learned well the teaching of the Rebbe.

Chabad Rabbi Michael Oishie had left the building just 20 minutes before the attack.

Canadian Chabad rabbis accompanied Harper on his trip.

“It was quite an institutionalized racism, and we didn’t come to get involved in politics.”

Gematria is more than random wordplay.

We are brought into this confusing, fascinating, infuriating world for such a short amount of time, and it’s our mission to accomplish what we can for the several decades we are allotted.

If one has only enough money to afford either a cup of wine for Shabbat kiddush or oil for his Hanukkah lamp, the mitzvah of Hanukkah takes precedence.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/yom-kippur-inspires-determination-in-wake-of-colorado-floods/2013/09/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: