Hurricane Harvey: An Update from Rabbi Lustig

Dear Friends,

As we prepare for the High Holy Days, we are called upon to reflect and act. And as we reflect, the world demands that we act. Each of us has been overwhelmed by the videos, photos, and stories of the destruction wrought by Hurricane Harvey.  And it is not over.

As our faith teaches us to support those in need, I have been in contact with the pastor, rabbi, and imam from Houston who traveled with me to Abu Dhabi. Their heartbreaking accounts are impossible to imagine: sanctuaries destroyed, school buildings flooded, and family homes submerged under water. I was in constant touch with these colleagues during the hurricane. I told them that as the waters rise, so, too, does our desire to do good. I wanted them to know that they were not alone.

As you have heard, Washington Hebrew Congregation is collecting donations through the Ritzenberg Humanitarian Fund. Together with Imam Mohamed Magid from the ADAMS Center and Pastor Jim Eaton from the Mosaic Church, we are working together to identify and satisfy our brothers’ and sisters’ needs in the affected areas. We understand that disaster recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. We will keep you posted through our website as details unfold.

I am proud that I could barely respond to my Houston colleagues without being interrupted by my fellow congregants asking what we can do to help!  While the waters rise and fall, our commitment to “do justly and walk humbly with our God” remains constant. In fact, it has only grown stronger in Washington Hebrew Congregation over our 165 years. Thank you for your concern and your commitment to do good.


Rabbi Lustig