Massive floods damage Melbourne Jewish infrastructure

Sephardi Synogogue closed for Shabbat, at least 2 Jewish schools flooded, offices of 'Australian Jewish News' also partially affected.

By JTA
February 7, 2011 16:05
1 minute read.
Cyclone Yasi hits Australia

australia cyclone 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

 
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SYDNEY, Australia – Mass flash flooding triggered by Cyclone Yasi caused severe damage to Jewish community buildings in Melbourne.

Wild floods stormed through several suburbs heavily populated by Melbourne’s 50,000-strong Jewish community on the evening of Feb. 4, prompting the closure of the Sephardi Synagogue on Shabbat.

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At least two Jewish schools were also flooded, with Bialik College – one of the largest Jewish schools in the country – reportedly closing for two days this week due to damage. The offices of the Australian Jewish News were also partially flooded, according to Yossi Aron, the newspaper’s religious affairs editor.

“The streets were like rivers,” Aron told JTA. He said one house in a low-lying area of his street was completely flooded. “The water was waist high.”

Driving rain and wind gusts of up to 80 miles per hour battered Victoria, ripping roofs from buildings, felling trees and closing roads, schools and other premises. Some suburbs received more than 5.9 inches of rain in 24 hours, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

The flash flooding was caused by the tail end of Cyclone Yasi, a category five storm that ripped through Queensland on Feb. 3, just weeks after rampant floods deluged the state, claiming at least 35 lives.

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