After the Hurricane: A Sukkah BBQ


by B. Olidort - SATELLITE BEACH, FL

October 4, 2004

The sight of the sukkah--the humble hovel assembled in the aftermath of two devastating hurricanes--that stands surrounded by debris of solidly constructed structures, seems layered with irony. A lesson in contrasts? A message about misplaced trust in appearances? To be sure, there’ll be plenty of food for thought here.

And for those just plain hungry for a cooked meal.

Chabad of the Space & Treasure Coasts had barely begun recovering from Hurricane Frances when Hurricane Jeanne made landfall in the same location. With power outages and very little time, Chabad built a sukkah larger than its usual one so that many who do not have power to cook their own meals or who have lost their homes altogether, will find some respite during the holiday.

And yesterday, Chabad held a “come one come all” free BBQ in its sukkah. With a steady supply of hamburgers and hotdogs, people from around the community were streaming into the sukkah all day.

As a barrier island, Satellite Beach was under mandatory evacuation. But, says Rabbi Tzvi Konikov, director of Chabad of Sattelite Beach, with the cooperation and kind help of Chief of Police of Satellite Beach, Chief Cote, the Chabad Center remained open on Yom Kippur, with worshipers braving the serious winds and tropical gusts of Hurricane Jeanne to attend services.

“We’ve been hit hard by the hurricanes,” says Rabbi Konikov. And like thousands of residents and businesses in Brevard and Indian River Counties, Chabad sustained major damage to its building. A fund to help restore its building and property has been established (www.jewishbrevard.com/donatenow). “But in the meantime,” says Konikov, “we have a community that depends on us, and closing shop just isn’t an alternative.”

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