JCC coping with flood in Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (JTA) — Louisville's Jewish Community Center was severely damaged by floodwaters this week after more than 10 inches of rain fell on the city in less than 24 hours.

Major thoroughfares were turned into roaring rivers and several neighborhoods resembled lakes. Two deaths were attributed to the flooding in the city, and thousands fled their homes as sewers backed up, mixing with the rainwater.

At the peak of the flooding, water in the lowest part of the JCC reached 12 feet deep, buckling floors, saturating carpets and ruining equipment. The cafe, the only kosher restaurant in the city, was affected, as was the building's gym.

The JCC was nearing completion of a $1.5 million expansion, built in partnership with the Jewish Hospital. The new facilities were damaged as well. Total damage estimates are not yet available.

"We greatly appreciate the offers of help that are coming in from all parts of the community," said Howard Schultz, executive director of the JCC.

Because of the flood damage, the nutrition program that provides 50 to 80 hot kosher meals each day to senior citizens was moved to a nearby Orthodox synagogue. Other JCC programs have been relocated temporarily.

The Council of Jewish Federations is accepting donations through a mailbox at the Council of Jewish Federations Disaster Relief Fund, 730 Broadway, New York, NY 10003-9596.

The Louisville Jewish community also is offering assistance to others affected by the flood. The Jewish federation, along with its community relations council and local synagogues, is collecting supplies and cash in a special Purim shalach manot campaign.