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Retreating from Irma, Floridians Find Food, Shelter and Warmth in Atlanta

10.1.17

Rabbi Allan Houben ’98 arrived in Atlanta several weeks ago to take the position of instructional team leader, upper school Judaic studies, at Atlanta Jewish Academy. “We were invited out so much – the community has really been amazing and welcoming,” Allan said. He and his wife Lisa Bergman and their four daughters had no opportunities to welcome guests in their home.

That changed overnight – literally.

As Hurricane Irma blasted toward Florida near the beginning of September, thousands of residents traveled north to Georgia to escape the dangerous storm. Many found refuge in Atlanta, where Jews were welcomed by individuals and institutions alike.

 “There were a lot of different pieces to what was going on, between two shuls working on housing and feeding. Atlanta Jewish Academy also hosted a meal,” Allan said.

“We were involved as liaisons for a multitude of friends in Florida,” he continued, noting that he and his family lived in Boca Raton for nine years.  “We were organizing for them, finding places to stay, hosting big meals in our home and an open house on Shabbos.”

“Over the course of Shabbos, we hosted more than 70 people, including 22 Friday night, 34 for Shabbos lunch and others throughout the afternoon and for seudah shlishit. They were actually our first guests,” Allan said. “We housed and fed five families in our home and our neighbors’.”

“Allan, my new neighbor, set us up to host a family of six,” said Dr. Benji Flusberg ’95. “It was very nice to get to know a new family.”

 

Other alumni were involved as well. “We had a family from Boca Raton staying with us. It was a fantastic weekend, and yesterday went OK with the storm,” said Eli Geller ’96, who noted that his home lost power from the remnants of Irma.

“We had seven folks with us,” said Dr. Josh Winer ’94. “We had two great meals over Shabbos and they also were hanging out eating at the shul.” He noted the joint efforts of Congregations Beth Jacob and Young Israel. Douglas Stein ’89 said his family also hosted a family for Shabbat.

“Some families stayed here on their way up north -- we never knew how many people were coming,” Allan commented. “The Loberfelds (Josh ’98) were here and I didn’t know it until I met them in the supermarket.”

“We were invited out so much – the community has really been amazing and welcoming,” Allan said. He and his wife Lisa Bergman and their four daughters had no opportunities to welcome guests in their home.

That changed overnight – literally.

As Hurricane Irma blasted toward Florida near the beginning of September, thousands of residents traveled north to Georgia to escape the dangerous storm. Many found refuge in Atlanta, where Jews were welcomed by individuals and institutions alike.

 “There were a lot of different pieces to what was going on, between two shuls working on housing and feeding. Atlanta Jewish Academy also hosted a meal,” Allan said.

“We were involved as liaisons for a multitude of friends in Florida,” he continued, noting that he and his family lived in Boca Raton for nine years.  “We were organizing for them, finding places to stay, hosting big meals in our home and an open house on Shabbos.”

“Over the course of Shabbos, we hosted more than 70 people, including 22 Friday night, 34 for Shabbos lunch and others throughout the afternoon and for seudah shlishit. They were actually our first guests,” Allan said. “We housed and fed five families in our home and our neighbors’.”

“Allan, my new neighbor, set us up to host a family of six,” said Dr. Benji Flusberg ’95. “It was very nice to get to know a new family.”

 

Other alumni were involved as well. “We had a family from Boca Raton staying with us. It was a fantastic weekend, and yesterday went OK with the storm,” said Eli Geller ’96, who noted that his home lost power from the remnants of Irma.

“We had seven folks with us,” said Dr. Josh Winer ’94. “We had two great meals over Shabbos and they also were hanging out eating at the shul.” He noted the joint efforts of Congregations Beth Jacob and Young Israel. Douglas Stein ’89 said his family also hosted a family for Shabbat.

“Some families stayed here on their way up north -- we never knew how many people were coming,” Allan commented. “The Loberfelds (Josh ’98) were here and I didn’t know it until I met them in the supermarket.”

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