Things have gone from bad to worse for Jewish residents of Boulder, Colorado as rising waters have crippled the area, shutting down Shuls just hours before Yom Kippur.
“Things are much worse than yesterday,” Rabbi Yisroel Wilhelm of Chabad at University of Colorado in Boulder told VIN News. “The Orthodox shul is shut down and people were told to go to Denver to daven.”
The Chabad House at University of Colorado still hopes to be open for Yom Kippur, with congregants squeezing into the lobby which is just above ground level.
“It is terrible in town,” said Rabbi Wilhelm. “People are printing machzorim online so that they will be able to daven.”
For Rabbi Yakov Borenstein in hard-hit Longmont, the situation is far more difficult, having been evacuated by police at 3 AM.
“We packed in a complete blackout,” reported Rabbi Borenstein, a father of four. “We found a few flashlights, packed what we could, took my kittel and ran out the door. I asked the police how bad things were and he told me that the next block had five feet of water. We are preparing for our basement to be totally flooded.”
Rabbi Borenstein said that the Longmont Chabad House suffered massive flooding.
“Baruch Hashem we got the Sefer Torah out and siddurim and chumashim. We just started our Hebrew School curriculum this year, spent thousands of dollars on it. It is all gone. The new chairs we just got? All gone. We are just thanking Hashem that we are safe.”
The amount of water flooding the area is hard to imagine, according to Rabbi Borentstein.
“Just last week we took the Hebrew School to say tashlich. We had to go down a ten foot embankment to get to the water and it rose up in just minutes, flooding the area,” reported Rabbi Borenstein, who describes Longmont as a vibrant community with 3,000 Jewish residents, now cut in half by the raging waters.
Rabbi Borenstein is working feverishly to arrange Yom Kippur services at a hotel.
“We got the last room here and have a few hundred chairs,” said Rabbi Borenstein, who estimated that approximately 150 to 200 people turned out last week for Rosh Hashana services.
Chabad has put up some local residents at the hotel at a cost of thousands, according to Rabbi Borenstein, who hopes that the Jewish community nationwide will help defray the cost, which he estimated at “thousands.”
To donate to the relief efforts in Longmont go to www.jewishlongmont.com/donate.