Daily Israel Report

NY Home of Singer Mordechai Ben-David Destroyed by Sandy

Orthodox neighborhood of Seagate was hit hard by Sandy, destroying a lifetime's worth of records belonging to the famed hassidic singer.
By Annie Lubin
First Publish: 11/1/2012, 4:21 PM

The coastal neighborhood of Seagate was hit hard by Sandy
The coastal neighborhood of Seagate was hit hard by Sandy
Caryn Lubin

Hurricane Sandy has claimed at least 72 victims and has caused tens of billions of dollars in damage all along the east coast of the United States, the brunt of which was experienced in coastal cities and neighborhoods closest to the Atlantic Ocean.

The Seagate neighborhood in New York City, where many Orthodox Jewish families live, is one of those neighborhoods, where damage and debris could be seen all around.

One well known resident whose home was completely destroyed is hassidic singer Mordechai Ben-David Werdyger, whose basement, where many of his records were stored, was completely flooded, the water washing away decades of recorded material. According to reports the singer's yard was also flooded and his home torn apart by the destructive winds and rushing water.

Residents of Seagate were told to to evacuate their homes Sunday as it was forecasted that the neighborhood, which is in Zone A, would bear the brunt of the storm and was most likely to be hit hard. Most of the residents left, but a small group stayed behind. No one who stayed was injured, which many have deemed miraculous considering the devastation to the neighborhood was mind-boggling. Those who evacuated made their way back they were shocked at what they found.

"We're talking about a scene you can't even comprehend, whole sections of the houses just disappeared, terrible destruction is evident in every corner. People returned to their homes and stood there, stunned and at a loss for words…In my estimate at least 100 homes of ultra-Orthodox families were partially destroyed and will have to be rebuilt completely. Even in the inner streets (further from the sea) where homes were less damaged, the basements and the first floors of the houses were flooded with water and the damage is hard to articulate," said one resident of the neighborhood.

"It will take a long time to rebuild after this grave destruction. A majority of the homes are insured by insurance companies, so at least this detail will not be a problem, but there is no insurance on personal belongings and valuables washed away by the sea's waves. I know of at least two cases of people who had in their libraries ancient, rare and sacred religious books that are very valuable that disappeared along with the bookcase which just flew out from the stormy winds," said the resident.