Temple rebuilds from severe damage caused by Ida

Temple Tikvah in New Hyde Park is Andrea Comerchero's second home.

"My grandparents were the founding members, I was married here, my children had their B'nai mitzvah here," said Comerchero, the temple's president.

Back in September, floodwaters from the remnants of Hurricane Ida came rushing in and left several inches, and in some places several feet, of standing water inside the sanctuary of the temple, the ballroom, halls, and downstairs in the Hebrew school. Rabbi Randy Sheinberg's office needed to be completely gutted.

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"I think we're on our 13th dumpster right now," said Eric Magnuson, the project coordinator with Immediate Property Management Corp.

And the carpet throughout, furniture, books, boiler system, and other items were rendered useless. Mold remediation is underway to salvage what's left.

So far, the estimated damages exceed $1 million. Restoring the temple will cost another $2 million. They're hoping to fundraise and work with FEMA to get reimbursed for costs already incurred and future spending.

Hebrew school, meetings, and religious services are being held on Zoom or at nearby temples through at least the end of June. Depending on where they are in the restoration and funding they receive will determine what the future holds.

"If we don't have this building then our future looks very different," Comerchero said.

They are holding onto hope in the spirit of Hanukkah and the holiday season.

"Until this job is done, my job isn't done," she said.