In Biloxi, we have not been able to confirm the condition of Beth Israel Congregation. However, the shul is located two blocks from the beach and video from area television stations show widespread devastation in that area. We were unable to determine from aerial footage whether the structure is still standing.

A nearby hotel was lifted off its foundation and deposited onto nearby homes.

According to Lori Beth Susman, past president of Beth Israel, another member took the Torah scrolls from the building for safekeeping, however that person was not among those who evacuated. Susman is in Florida and was unable to contact anyone regarding the building or more importantly, if there were any injuries or casualties among the congregants.

The regional office of United Synagogue is setting up a disaster relief fund and will coordinate High Holiday visits to other congregations in the region. The Conservative congregation in Orlando has already offered tickets for those displaced by the storm.

The DSJV will report from Biloxi in the next couple of days if possible, also bringing supplies. If any of our readers have family along the coast with specific needs, please contact us; email us at information@deepsouthjewishvoice.com or call 205.322.9002 ext. 3# and leave a message.

Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone affected by this terrible event.

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