Yom Kippur begins as cleanup continues

- The effects of the flooding in the Meyerland district continue to be felt, with one group in particular still dealing with cleanup as an important holiday nears.

Yom Kippur is the holiest holiday in the Jewish calendar. It begins at sundown on Friday, Sept. 29.

Beth Yeshurun, a Meyerland synagogue, was heavily damaged by the floods and while leaders say it will take months before their congregation can return, the community is pulling together.

"Yom Kippur is also about resiliency," says Rabbi Jill Leevy of the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center. "As I mentioned it's about recognizing the fragility of life. We don't have control. We don't know if we're going to live or going to die, if we're going to get flooded, if we're going to stay dry. All of these things." The center was also damaged in the Harvey flooding.

In a city where few seemingly stayed dry, the new year for the Jewish community in the Meyerland district is marked with so much destruction.

"Unfortunately, we received about 8-to-10 foot of water in the lower level of the building, basically destroying our entire first floor," says Rabbi Leevy.

In the midst of so much tragedy, Yom Kippur gives those in the Jewish faith an opportunity to reflect.

"We see the face of God in the people around us," says Cantor Mark Levine of Brith Shalom in the Meyerland district. "You have an opportunity to go out and improve their lives and in a sense, we're cleansing our own souls in the process."

Cantor Levine is opening the synagogue for not only those who use the Jewish Community Center, but also worshippers at Beth Yeshurun.

"We are doing as much as we can without our building, and once our building is open we can really plan to be operating at almost full capacity," says Rabbi Leevy regarding use of the Jewish Community Center.

"It's been wonderful watching the Houston community in general come together and through tragedy, you find triumph. It's wonderful," says Cantor Levine.

Leaders at Beth Yeshurun hope to open the school in October and then the synagogue some time in early December.

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