© 2024 WLRN
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Hurricane-Damaged Synagogue Finds A Home For The Holidays

Temple Emanuel in Lakeland
Robin Sussingham
Temple Emanuel in Lakeland

Hurricane Irma left the congregation of an area synagogue homeless just as the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah begins Wednesday evening. But a local church has stepped forward with help.

Temple Emanuel in Lakeland lay in the storm's path, and the winds and rain caused the ceiling and asbestos to tumble down into the main sanctuary, making it unsafe to hold the upcoming high holy day services there.

Rabbi David Goldstein says when leaders at First Presbyterian Church learned of the situation, they "rolled out the red carpet," inviting the Temple to use their facilities at no cost.

"They will not let us pay for any of the extra janitorial, custodial, or sound people, all of which is extra hours being put in and obviously, extra money," Goldstein said. "They're taking care of everything."

It's not the first time First Presbyterian has helped out. A former pastor of First Presbyterian Church defended Temple Emanuel decades ago from what he called anti-Semitism, when prominent members of the community opposed the Temple's construction in its current location.

"They were there at the very beginning," Goldstein said, "and they're now here once again at a time of need."

Copyright 2020 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7. To see more, visit .

Robin is Senior Editor at WUSF, spearheading the station's podcasting initiatives and helping to guide the vision for special reporting projects and creative storytelling. She hosts the weekly current affairs program, Florida Matters, on WUSF and also created The Zest, the station's podcast that's all about food, which she continues to host and serve as senior producer.
More On This Topic