Yossi Green—the Satmar-raised musician and composer profiled in today’s Tablet—lives in the Seagate neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, along with many other prominent Jews. As its names suggests, the area is a gated private community on the sea and, consequently, was one of the hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy. As residents have described to local media, many houses were ruined, flooded, their roofs caved in, their facades torn off. Thankfully, most Seagate residents evacuated before the storm hit, but people there, like in other parts of the city, face a long recovery.
Green spent the week in New York City, away from the home depicted in the piece. When I spoke to Green on the phone at the end of last week, he sounded pensive. “This is obviously a very troubling experience on numerous levels,” he said. “To see my beloved community, my family, my people hurting is always a painful experience.” Friends who had just rebuilt or built a home nearby had seen them destroyed. “Trying to rebuild is hard because of the lack of power and gas,” he added. “We are all exiles of our community.” But Green also sees some of the beauty in how people react to the disaster. “I see the love, warmth, and care that people give to each other,” he said. “Everyone helps everyone else, no one closes their door or their wallets in this dire time.”
Though Green hesitated to speak about his personal situation, he explained that his basement was flooded by over 8 feet of water. Personal objects and much of his family’s clothing is ruined. The piano, though, the one pictured in Tracy Levy’s video accompanying the profile, is intact. “I think to myself that this piano, given to me out of love and caring,” he said, “lasts because of that love and caring.”
Joseph Winkler, a freelance writer living in New York, is a contributor to vol1brooklyn and The Rumpus.