One day after the worst blizzard in seven years hit New York City, the Queens Jewish Community Council was open for business, ready to assist the elderly or otherwise needy who may be having a rough time coping with the snow.
"We specifically wanted to be there in case people would call and say I don’t have food," said council director Manny Behar. "It’s happened in the past. But this time we didn’t get any calls like that." In fact, it was all quiet all day at Beharís Forest Hills offices.
The phones went unanswered at half a dozen other Jewish community councils contacted Tuesday by The Jewish Week. At the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island, a recording said the office was closed because of the snow emergency.
William Rapfogel, director of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, said he was unaware of any interruption in the daily provision of services to the needy.
"Food delivery is being done by the community councils and there is constant telephone reassurance for everyone in need," he said. "What we are hearing is that people are fairly well prepared."
One hitch: A Met Council satellite office in Queens was flooded from melting snow, destroying thousands of dollars worth of computers and other equipment.
Heshey Jacob, president of the Hatzoloh volunteer ambulance corps, said Wednesday that the group’s vehicles were generally able to traverse city streets in response to calls, with only a few difficulties in Far Rockaway and other parts of Queens.
While Monday was quiet because of Presidents’ Day, there was a surge in "slip and fall calls" on Tuesday as people ventured to work or to shovel. Jacob said he was not aware of any fatalities or serious injuries. He encouraged the public to check on elderly neighbors to see if they needed groceries or other items.