Home of  World Bnei Akiva shlichim to Houston ahead of Hurricane Harvey
Home of World Bnei Akiva shlichim to Houston ahead of Hurricane HarveyWorld Bnei Akiva movement

Rafi and Shifra Engelhart, World Bnei Akiva’s shlichim to Houston, Texas, said on Friday that the Jewish community is prepping for Hurricane Harvey, which is set to hit Texas over the weekend.

As part of the preparations for the storm, which is expected to bring with it heavy rains and strong winds, community events for the next several days have been cancelled.

"The biggest fear is from the flooding. The storm is supposed to continue for a few days. They expect 2 to 3 feet of rain, which is problematic in this area. The entire area is marshland, so the soil does not absorb the water,” explained Rafi.

The shlichim said they do not plan to leave the area given the fact that there are members of the Jewish community who choose to remain in their homes.

"The Torah teaches us that we should not abandon the public in times of trouble, so we are staying here in the meantime," stressed Rafi. However, the shlichim noted that the activities at the Bnei Akiva branch will not take place this Shabbat, and all the events of the World Bnei Akiva movement (WBA) scheduled for Sunday have been cancelled.

As for Shabbat prayers, the shlichim say that the community would update its members about two hours before the start of Shabbat whether the prayers will take place in the synagogue or if everyone should pray at home because of the threat of the storm. The synagogue itself removed some furniture and books due to fear of flooding.

Regarding the preparations in the community, Rafi said that "in the community there are people with ordinary homes and people who live in hurricane-proof homes which were built in advance for such a situation."

“Those whose homes are not hurricane-proof place all their valuables on chairs and chests and make sure that everything is stable and could withstand the water in case of flooding. They also ensure that there is enough water for drinking, because when there is flooding, the water becomes contaminated. They also make sure to stock up on food, because there is a fear of flooding on the roads, which will not make it possible to reach the supermarket," he added.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)