Community under water

February 8, 2011 by Ashley Shenker
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In the wake of one of the worst cyclones to hit Australia, the after-effects of Yasi,the terrifying category 5 storm that hit Queensland last week, has led to mass flooding across Melbourne over the weekend…including suburbs with a high Jewish population

 

 

Inside the Sephardi Synagogue

 

The Jewish Community experienced a large number of homes in Caulfield hit with gushing water, whilst Glenhuntly Rd and surrounding streets were turned into streaming rivers, creating a massive headache for many business owners in the area, including the offices of the Australian Jewish News.

Caulfield resident, Romi Winston witnessed the damage first-hand, telling J-Wire, “It was frightening, life-changing, and damaging not only the streets and houses, but families and communities.”

The Sephardi Synagogue in East St Kilda was forced to shut down over Shabbat as according to President Paul Berman, “the entire men’s section was covered in one to two inches of water,” leaving terrible damage to carpets and floorboards. Adding to their woes is possible damage to the roof, doors and windows, but hopefully insurance will ensure the Synagogue will be back and running as soon as possible.

Amanda Miller, spokesperson for Bialek College told J-Wire: “The flooding has forced us to close down the kindergarten for two days this week…but we expect to be open tomorrow.” Miller added that facilities has been offered to the parents of the 150 children who attend the kindergarten by establishing a creche at the school. “We realise that many working parents depend on the kindergarten to look after their children while they are at work.”

Also hit, was one of Melbourne’s biggest Jewish Schools, Mount Scopus Memorial College, whose Gandel Besen House Campus in East St Kilda bore most of the damage. Carpets in numerous classrooms were soaked, and various pieces of equipment and files also took a hit. Principal, Rabbi James Kennard told J-Wire, “One of our campuses had some significant flooding but fortunately our maintenance team was able to have the school dried out in time for it to open as normal on Monday.” Other campuses suffered only minor leaks and required little assistance to return to normal.

Jewish Community Council of Victoria spokesperson Ginette Searle added: “Whilst we are very sympathetic to those who have suffered damage to their homes, we have to keep things in perspective. It was lightweight compared to what many community members in Queensland experienced.”

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