(lubavitch.com) In the week since a massive flood devastated the Wellesley-Weston Chabad House, community members have rallied together to help clean up and rebuild. Dozens of community members donated their time to gut what was once the Chabad House's finished basement, including several guest rooms, storage rooms, and the Rabbi and Rebbetzin's offices.
"We've been touched by the great outpouring of support," said Rabbi Moshe Bleich. "Unfortunately, we were forced to cross the sea a week early. We're determined to part those waters and resume our mission of spreading the wellsprings of Chasidus."
Volunteers filled several dumpsters with damaged items and debris and covered the front lawn and backyard with objects they hoped to dry and salvage. "You might mistake it for a garage sale if not for the fact that everything is soaking wet," said Yehoshua Bedrick, a long-time member of the Chabad congregation. The floodwaters damaged electronics, sofas, beds, desks, chairs, mattresses, prayerbooks and Jewish books, children’s clothing, tools, Shabbos and holiday supplies, two freezers full of food for Pesach, and much more.
"It was like Noah, without the ark," said Ishay Grinberg, President of the Wellesley-Weston Chabad congregation. In addition to all the furnishings and supplies, the flood caused major structural damage. Because of the mold, the water-damaged walls and floors had to be completely removed.
Rabbi Joel Sissenwine of Temple Beth Elokim, who leads Newsweek's most vibrant synagogue in the United States, personally came to help with the reconstruction effort. Sissenwine, who studies weekly with Rabbi Bleich, brought several members of the Beth Elokim softball team--the primary rival to the Wellesley-Weston Chabad Shluggers. After wrapping tefillin, the community members spent hours removing debris, salvaging whatever they could. As a token of appreciation for their efforts, Rabbi Bleich distributed some of the rescued shmurah matzah to all of the volunteers.
Notwithstanding this setback, Rabbi Bleich confirmed that Chabad would still be hosting the Pesach Seders, which typically draw over 100 people.
Though the Chabad House was insured, they are unfortunately not covered in the event of "excess rain." Despite the incredible generosity of the community and Jews around the world, the Chabad House is far from raising the $50,000 necessary to complete the reconstruction effort.
Readers may donate at http://www.wellesleywestonchabad.org/funds.html or send a check to:
793 Worcester Street
Wellesley Hills, MA 02481