NEW YORK – In the aftermath of the second-worst tornado in US history, with half
of the town of Joplin, Missouri, destroyed, relief workers are going to the area
to search for Joplin’s Jewish population.
Rabbi Yehuda Weg, Tulsabased
director of Chabad- Lubavitch of Oklahoma, arrived in Joplin with a carload of
food and clothing late on Monday night, with a list of missing members of the
Those missing, Weg said, included two brothers active
in the Jewish community of Joplin.
The town of 50,000 (metropolitan area
about 175,000) has Chabad-affiliated Jews, and the United Hebrew Congregation of
Joplin is a Reform synagogue that has been in existence since at least
The Union for Reform Judaism is collecting funds for storm
Israeli expatriate Omer Mani operates a kiosk at the Northpark
Mall, which survived the tornado. When he left the mall to go to his home, he
found that he had lost almost everything but his tefillin and a bound copy of
the Torah, Chabad’s news service reported.
As of Monday afternoon, the
death toll from the tornado stood at 116, with hundreds more
Joplin Mayor Mike Woolston declared Joplin a disaster area and
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon dispatched National Guard troops to the area.