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Alephs and BBGs Respond to Houston Flooding

By: Rylie Cohen, Wise BBG #2040, BBYO Lonestar Region and
Gabriella Klein, Malev BBG #1866, BBYO Lonestar Region

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Last month, a sudden flood devastated parts of south Texas, including a few Houston neighborhoods. The Jewish community, in particular, was strongly hurt, as the Braes Bayou that runs through our neighborhood overflowed in the early morning hours of May 26. The Jewish community has been here for over 50 years and the flood ruined hundreds of homes, businesses and synagogues while taking the lives of eight Houstonians. Buildings, including many home of Alephs and BBGs, received between 2 and 24 inches of water, resulting in millions of dollars of damage.

As Alephs and BBGs, we knew it was our responsibility to support our community. As we found out that our friends’ homes were damaged, many of our BBYO chapters went out to help their friends salvage what was left of their belongings. As a region, we started a gift card donation drive for grocery stores, big box stores and pharmacies. To date, we collected almost $1000 from our members. We also started working with Nechama, which is a Jewish volunteer organization that provides immediate help after natural disasters. With Nechama, we have helped at many homes, either boxing up what is left of their memories or taking down walls, shelves and sinks with sledgehammers and crowbars. Lonestar teens have helped each day since the flood, resulting in hundreds of hours of work.

Going from home to home, Lonestar has made a huge difference, including helping many of our now homeless BBYO friends. Different chapters are working together to support our friends. We may not be able to fix it entirely, but we are trying our hardest to help as much as possible. There are some synagogues that have had over a million dollars of damage, and BBYO teens have spent every day helping them refurbish. It is beautiful to see the Jewish community working together, and it is incredible to see Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox synagogues helping side by side. The ongoing support and outpour of love from across the Order has made all the difference to us. Even though the flood demolished so much of our community, we are stronger together.

You can still help Lonestar and the Houston community by sending gift cards to Jewish Family Services of Greater Houston. Teens and families interested in supporting us can mail gift cards to the following stores: Target, CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, to Jewish Family Services of Houston at 4131 S. Braeswood Blvd, Houston, TX 77025.

Lonestar teens will continue to help by volunteering throughout the summer, and we thank everyone in our huge BBYO community for helping us through this challenging time

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