September 29, 2017
9 Tishrei, 5778
Dear members of the WRT community,
In the weeks since Hurricane Harvey, a team of WRT volunteers has been meeting to plan a congregational response. Our group has decided to adopt Congregation Emanu-El, the largest reform congregation in Houston, to help support their rebuilding efforts. Founded in 1944, the congregation has grown from 190 to approximately 1,800 families under the leadership of Rabbi Oren Hayon.
Congregation Emanu-El sustained over a half a million dollars in damage during the hurricane. Unfortunately, the financial strain being put upon their congregants for their personal losses will not allow them to fully fund their own recovery efforts. Flood waters seeped into their building and now many of their religious school classrooms, offices, and other public spaces will need to have the drywall removed, undergo water mitigation, and be treated for mold removal and prevention. In the meantime, these spaces will be out of commission and students and staff will have to cram together into doubled-up spaces.
To assist in their recovery effort, we would like sponsor this sister congregation by helping them restore their teen lounge. The teen lounge accommodates 45 teen madrichim (counselors) weekly in their religious school and youth groups for meetings and informal gatherings.
We call upon the entire community of Westchester Reform Temple to consider making a donation to this worthwhile cause. You can give to the Rabbis’ Discretionary Fund, and note in the memo line or on the online form that this contribution is for hurricane relief.
As we begin the New Year, we hope that our effort to help Congregation Emanu-El can bring some comfort to those in need and to send the message that WRT is here to help and support them through this difficult time.
With prayers of healing,
WRT’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Team
Jenny Glucksman and Meg Lazarus (fundraising co-chairs), Karen Fisch, Ellen Freiman, Gary Kasher,
Karen Levin, Suzanne Reiffel, Fran Scheffler-Siegel, Ronee and Eugene Weissman