We would like to share details about Hurricane Harvey’s impact on Congregation Emanu El and our responses to the many financial, spiritual, physical, and communal needs demanding our attention. Many of our congregants have been impacted, some in devastating ways, by the storm and its historic flooding, but we have also been inspired by our congregation and those of its members who have extended themselves, both physically and emotionally, to respond to the overwhelming needs of this crisis.
We are grateful that, when compared to other Jewish institutions in Houston, our historic temple received only minimal damage from the hurricane. But we did not emerge unscathed. The storms and flooding have had a significant impact on our building, our congregants, and our congregational budget. After careful examination of our building and consultation with experts, we have a preliminary estimate of storm-related expenses including water remediation, repair needs and anticipated revenue losses. Our current estimate is that Congregation Emanu El will face a financial impact of at least $500,000 once all factors are considered.
With gratitude for all that you have done to benefit our community, we invite you to make a gift to help Emanu El cover these unanticipated expenses. To donate, visit emanuelhouston.org/donations and specify that your gift be directed to the Temple Fund (the topmost option on the donations webpage); or, as always, you may donate by personal check. Specifying “Temple Fund” on your check will ensure that your gift will be used directly to assist our recovery.
As we prepare our strategic response to these communal and financial challenges, our temple’s Board of Trustees, Executive Committee and Budget and Finance Committees are meeting regularly to provide oversight and recommendations, and members of the current and past Boards of Trustees are working to contact our entire membership, to assess their needs and relay their requests to our clergy and staff teams.
It is impossible to catalog all of the caring, devoted work that has been accomplished by members of our leadership teams and congregant volunteers since Hurricane Harvey made landfall. We responded promptly and lovingly to Emanu El families who were impacted by the flooding; our outreach continues through direct financial and material support, resource matching, and pastoral care.
In this new year, we are grateful for our members. You have consistently volunteered your time and expertise when called upon, and have been unfailingly understanding and supportive of our temple staff. We know that we will be able to rely on your generosity in support of our temple’s financial needs. Please know that all of you and your families remain in our hearts during these difficult days.