Thank you for running the May 21 article about the impact of the recent flooding on the Jewish community in Nashville. As a former long-time resident of that city, I knew all of the people mentioned in the article; some were members of my synagogue there. I worked at the Gordon JCC, where 500 people were accommodated during the immediate aftermath of the flood. I can easily picture the hardest-hit areas: the Opryland Hotel, where I attended several b’nai mitzvot (and where the federation movement’s General Assembly was held just a few years ago), and the Bellevue neighborhood, which is just a couple of miles from the JCC – and is where my 22-year-old daughter lives.
Fortunately, my daughter was fine, as was her apartment complex. She called me that Sunday, May 2, saying she had been out with friends and could not get home because of road closures. She was able to find a hotel room for the night and the next day went to stay with a friend in a neighboring county. It was nearly a week before she could get home and before she knew her apartment had been spared. When she finally got home that Friday, she didn’t have time to talk since she was on her way out to volunteer – a Tennessee, as well as a Jewish, tradition.
My closest friends were spared as well, although “spared” is a relative term. One friend invited me over to scuba dive in her basement, and took the fact that her family had to move out during major drywall replacement in stride. No one wants to complain about inconvenience in the face of so much lost by so many. I continue to hear about old friends and acquaintances who sustained irreparable damage, and I continue to hear about all that Nashville’s Jewish institutions are doing to help the devastated Jewish families – 46 at latest count – as well as countless others in the area who are in need of assistance.
In proportion to the devastation it caused, the floods received minimal media coverage. As a former Nashvillian, I appreciate that you recognized the event as newsworthy and acknowledged the strength and generosity of the Jewish community there.