hurricane Irma
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Orthodox Jews Escaping Irma Find Food and Shelter in Atlanta

These refugees have religious restrictions that make relocating more difficult
hurricane Irma
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Many in Florida’s Orthodox Jewish Community are finding refuge in the Toco Hill community in Atlanta, Georgia.

An online sign-up has paired 210 Atlanta Orthodox Jewish families with 600 Orthodox Jewish Hurricane Irma refugees so that they can be housed and fed according to religious laws. As reported by AJC.com, The sign-up was organized by Atlanta area rabbis in the Toco Hill area, which is the known as the hub of Atlanta’s Orthodox Jewish life.

Unlike other evacuees, this religious community has restrictions that prevent them from being able to easily stock up on foods or perform work such as traveling.

Orthodox Jews typically consume only kosher-certified foods and observe weekly Shabbat from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. During that time they are unable to perform anything that constitutes work.

For those unfamiliar with this tradition, “work” can mean anything from driving a car to ringing a doorbell or pulling apart pieces of toilet paper. Traveling falls in to the category of work, so evacuating this group before Shabbat began was a priority for group coordinators like Yisrael Frenkel and Hillel Glazer.

“We’re kind of in triage mode,” Glazer told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “These are people who want to stay in a place with people who observe the Sabbath the same way.”

Organizations like the Orthodox Union are sending food to the influx of people now staying in the Toco Hill community. Yehuda Friedman, the New York regional director of the Orthodox Union, told AJC.com that the group is sending $25,000 worth of kosher food to refugees, including 1,200 challah rolls, 300 pounds of chicken schnitzel, 20 cases of yogurt, and 2 pallets of water.

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