Category Archive: Hurricane

Sukkahs in the wind

Please distribute on blogs and synagogue/community listserves.

NYC Emergency Management (NYCEM) is now advising New Yorkers to prepare for ongoing sustained winds upwards of 30mph with wind gusts in excess of 70mph. Most Succoth, especially in open areas or experiencing sustained gusts, are not built for such conditions.

The Rabbinical Council of America is distributing this document, developed by Rabbi Kenneth Brander with profound thanks to Rav Hershel Schachter, shlita for his guidance. The relevant portion of the document follows:

Sukkot, Shemeni Atzeret & Simchat HaTorah

  •  If the weather forecast is for winds of over 40 mph there is a serious danger that the sukkah will become flying debris which can create dangerous projectiles and should be dismantled before Shabbat/Yom Tov.
  • If there is a concern of schach flying around (in winds that are less than 40 mph winds) then the schach can be tied down even with plastic cable ties.
  • If schach needs to be replaced or tied down on the sukkah on Shabbat or Yom Tov in can be done by a Gentile.
  • If there is concern about going to shul on Simchat Torah morning – Vezot ha’Berakha can be read on the night of Simchat Torah in five aliyot. Alternatively should the storm pass by Simchat Torah afternoon then hakafot and torah reading can be read at an early mincha on Simchat Torah.

Of course, individuals and organizations should consult with their appropriate halachic authorities. Some additional tips:

  • Secure your Sukkah to fixed objects such as posts or fencing. Unsecured bamboo mats can become airborne, leading to injuries and property damage. Unsecured walls (either canvas or plywood) are essentially sails and could collapse and/or blow away. This is already happening in the Washington, DC area.
  • Balconies. Succoth built on balconies on higher floors are subject to higher winds.
  • There is a likelihood of blackouts during the storm. See the RCA document here for additional guidance. The source document with citations can be found here.
  • Drying. If you do take down and secure your Sukkah over the next few days, the materials and skhakh are likely to be wet. To avoid mold, be sure to thoroughly dry everything after Sukkoth before you store it. (HT Dori Zofan).

Thanks to NYCEM Commissioner Joseph Esposito and Assistant Commissioner Ira Tannenbaum for their ongoing leadership and concern. Here is the NYCEM guidance:

The National Weather Service forecast for the next several days includes wind speeds that are predicted to be between 15 and 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 40 mph at times. High winds can down trees and power lines, blow out windows, blow down signs, cause flying debris, and structural collapse. Individuals who have constructed a Succah for the holiday should take appropriate actions to secure the structure and roofing to prevent damage or injury from flying debris.

Ira Tannenbaum
Assistant Commissioner, Public/Private Initiatives
New York City Emergency Management
165 Cadman Plaza East
Brooklyn, NY 11201

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Focus on resources: DHS Protective Security Advisors

Posted on August 03, 2015

PSA imageRecently, we received an inquiry from an out-of-state colleague. Some of his questions could be answered over the phone, but it was clear that an on-site consultation was in order.

I asked my colleague, “Do you know your Protective Security Advisor (PSA)?” He replied, “What?”

DHS employs PSA’s in all 50 states and many states have multiple regions. Our experience here in NY is that our PSA’s are a wonderful resource. They are hard-working, knowledgeable and professional.

  • Security surveys. Subject to time constraints you can ask your PSA to conduct security surveys and assessments of your facilities. We’ve joined our PSA’s during some of these sessions and their suggestions are both sound and pragmatic.
  • Training. PSA’s have access to a wide variety of training options, e.g. active shooters, suspicious packages, severe weather. Even if you don’t know your exact need, talk to them. They can open up a variety of resources for you.
  • Special events planning. Let them know if you are planning a high profile event. They can advise you on security and logistical issues.
  • Outreach. Get on their radar. They will invite you to various trainings and events.

Click here for more information on Protective Security Advisors. To contact your local PSA, please contact PSCDOperations@hq.dhs.gov. To contact NY PSA’s or if you have questions or need other assistance please complete the form below.

#KnowYourZone | New hurricane evacuation zones in NYC

Posted on June 18, 2013

#KnowYourZone. New York City’s Hurricane Evacuation Zones have changed. Hurricane Evacuation Zones 1 through 6 replace Zones A, B, C. Learn what Hurricane Evacuation Zone you live in by going to the Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder, or by calling 311.

Click here to read the updated Ready New York: Hurricanes and New York City guide.

Loan program for nonprofits impacted by #Sandy

MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES NYC NONPROFIT RECOVERY LOAN PROGRAM FOR NONPROFITS IMPACTED BY HURRICANE SANDY

Loan Program will provide at least $26 Million of Interest-Free Loans to Help Nonprofits Rebuild

Pro-Bono Lawyers Will Provide Legal Service to Impacted Nonprofits

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced several efforts to support New York City’s nonprofit organizations in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Building on a strong commitment to support and strengthen the nonprofit sector, the initiatives include the NYC Nonprofit Recovery Loan Program, a $26 million bridge loan program, pro-bono legal assistance dedicated to nonprofits, briefings regarding federal reimbursements and filing procedures, updated nonprofit assistance information on NYC.gov and support for nonprofits at the NYC Restoration Centers. The NYC Nonprofit Recovery Loan Program is supported by funders including the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, the Ford Foundation, Capital One Bank, the Robin Hood Foundation and The New York Community Trust. It will be administered by the Fund for the City of New York. The program will provide interest-free loans ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 to New York City nonprofits impacted by Hurricane Sandy and will cover losses associated with the disruption of operations and property damage. Priority will be given to organizations that have suffered the most severe losses and/or are operating in the worst affected areas, and will be made against expected claims to be filed with the nonprofit’s own insurance company and with FEMA, as well as against committed government, foundation and corporate contracts and grants. Continue Reading

Guidance for Synagogues Impacted By #Sandy for Preserving Possibility for Financial Aid from FEMA

Thanks to Nathan Diament of the OU IPA and Jarrod Bernstein of the White House for their work with the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA on the following (adapted from the OU IPA):

In the context of Sandy related damage, FEMA provides supplemental funding (after insurance payments are exhausted) for the repair and restoration of infrastructure and facilities to pre-disaster condition.

Nonprofit entities that can qualify for such financial aid include hospitals, nursing homes, community centers, day care centers, libraries, museums and senior centers located in Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester Counties.

(Several years ago, in the wake of a natural disaster that damaged the Jewish day school in Seattle, the Orthodox Union worked successfully with the Bush Administration and allies in Congress to amend the laws and regulations which govern FEMA to clearly include non-public — including parochial — schools in the class of entities eligible for FEMA reconstruction funds.)

Immediately in the wake of the storm, the OU’s Washington Office initiated discussions with senior officials at the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (under which FEMA operates) to establish the eligibility of houses of worship — including synagogues — damaged by Sandy for FEMA reconstruction funds. We are making progress, but the discussions are ongoing.

In order for synagogues to preserve their ability to potentially receive reconstruction aid, applicants must complete a Request for Public Assistance within 30 days of the declared event (it has been amended to December 13, 2012).

Therefore, if your shul has sustained damage due to Hurricane Sandy, we urge you to file the forms included in the Request for Public Assistance package.

The disaster number is: FEMA-4085-DR-NY.

In the lower section of the Request for Public Assistance form: you should:

    1. Check the box “Yes” that your synagogue is a private non-profit organization, and
    2. Describe your organization on the next line as “community center and library” as well as any other descriptors listed in the lower section of the form if you provide such services in your synagogue (i.e., day care center, homeless shelter, senior citizens center).
    3. Only describe your synagogue as a “school” if your school is an accredited elementary or secondary school (K-12).

The forms and the supporting documents listed at the bottom of the form should be sent to:

New York State Office of Emergency Management
1220 Washington Avenue
Building 22, Suite 101
Albany, NY 12226-2251
(Fax: 518-322-4984)