After experiencing severe damages and flooding caused by Hurricane Ida in September, New Hyde Park’s Temple Tikvah will receive $335,000 in relief payments from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, officials announced Friday.
FEMA officials, in a press release, said the Temple, which serves parts of western Nassau County and eastern Queens, represents a “tight-knight community.” Through the organization’s Public Assistance Program, the Temple will be able to jumpstart efforts to rectify the near $1 million in estimated damages.
“Funding plays a critical role for private non-profits and houses of worship,” FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer Lai Sun Yee said. “The need for additional funding to support cleanup and repairs after a disaster can be overwhelming for these groups in particular, as insurance may not cover some of these costs.”
According to temple leaders, the furniture was damaged and schoolbooks were floating in the water, but the Torahs were in good condition. Flooding was caused by rising levels in nearby Herricks Pond that overflowed downhill onto Herricks Road.
The water damage was mostly in the lower part of the building and courtyard, the location of the religious school. Carpeting throughout the building, such as the common area and ballroom, and the wood paneling for most of the school have been removed as recovery efforts go on.
Classes were set to begin on Sunday, but the temple was able to adjust and hold orientation for the approximately 40 students in the parking lot.
Aside from religious services and education, multiple organizations usually meet throughout the week at the temple, which have since been displaced due to the damage, Temple President Andrea Comerchero said.
“We had a feeling of what to expect, but it was heartbreaking coming in at 7 a.m.; you just wanted to cry,” said Rabbi Randy E. Sheinberg, who has been with the temple since its inception in 2008.
In late November, Temple officials said their goal was to raise $500,000 by the end of 2021 to help repair the damages. Immediate efforts to reach a temple official for comment on the new federal funding and for an update on how much money was raised through the temple’s efforts were unavailing.
“We are … telling everyone ‘please come here, we are still with you’ and it’s been enlightening seeing the response from our community,” Comerchero previously told Blank Slate Media.
Anyone who wishes to help support Temple Tikvah as it recovers can do so at the website www.templetikvah.org by clicking on the “Donate” tab.