Sandy Aftermath

Flood can’t stop temple’s relief efforts


While most of Valley Stream and its immediate surrounding communities did not suffer much flood damage during Hurricane Sandy in late October, not all homes and buildings made out unscathed.

Temple Hillel on Rosedale Road in southern end of Valley Stream had its entire first floor flooded during the storm. Certain walls and floors needed to be replaced and, according to Rabbi Steven Graber, most of the work is already completed. He hopes Temple Hillel will be fully operational by the end of the year.

The temple was able to hold services on Nov. 2, four days after the storm, and when power was restored to the building on Nov. 4, it became a warming center for people in need.

“We provided warmth, we provided food, we provided electrical outlets, we provided televisions for people to watch, computers for them to use, places for them to take naps, and we kept the building open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.,” Graber said. He added that people were invited to stay overnight, although no one took them up on the offer.

Graber, who has been with Temple Hillel for 10 years, said there was a constant flow of people when the temple served as a warming center and they were very grateful to have a place to go. “People worked together very well,” he said, “everyone was concerned for each other.”

There was a strong sense of community, Graber said, a list was created of members who were potentially flooded or without power from the storm and were then reached out to immediately.

Now six weeks later, Graber said it’s important for people to continue to help one another. “Stop looking inward, and start looking outward and help somebody else,” he said. “If you can do one little thing to help the next guy it will do so much to help improve your own emotional situation.”