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Sandy’s Toll on Jewish Organizations

Offices of non-profit groups and the Forward to be closed for months

Adam Chandler
November 05, 2012
South Street in Lower Manhattan After Hurricane Sandy(AP)
South Street in Lower Manhattan After Hurricane Sandy(AP)

Even as the efforts of countless Jewish organizations have helped to blunt to the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, word has spread about the destruction–including the flooding of offices in Lower Manhattan–which will impact many Jewish groups in addition to the beleaguered synagogues and communities in the region. A number of people in New York and New Jersey returned to work today, despite long commutes, limited public transportation, and buildings without heating that awaited them.

But for others, it may take months to get back to normal. Among those hard hit by the damage in Manhattan are organizations like Limmud NY and our friends at the Jewish Daily Forward, which has its offices in the Financial District:

At 125 Maiden Lane in Lower Manhattan, a 17-story building not far from the East River, a disaster recovery company official involved with work on the building said that it would be months before it could reopen. Like many other buildings in the vicinity, he said, it was flooded and would need new transformers, boilers and other equipment.

Tenants include the United States Fund for UNICEF and the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

The offices of The Jewish Daily Forward occupy the eighth floor. Samuel Norich, the publisher, said he was allowed into the building for about a half-hour on Friday to retrieve servers and hard drives. He said that there were water marks on the lobby’s white marble walls that reached two to three feet above the floor line. Building management, he said, told him that some eight million gallons had been pumped out of the basement.

“We had prepared for an emergency,” Mr. Norich said. “The emergency we had prepared for was an act of terrorism, not this.”

At a time when there is a lot of suffering, we’re confident that these groups as well as our colleagues at the Forward will continue to do their great and important work.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.