The Chabad House in Frederick is just one year old, but its basement will already be getting a facelift after more than a foot of flood waters washed it out last week.
Thanks to a matching donation, Chabad of Frederick raised $50,000 as of Friday to get started on renovations and installing future preventative measures, said director Rabbi Boruch Labkowski.
“God sent us a challenge,” he said. “And we know God will not send us a challenge we cannot overcome. So we will come out of this stronger.”
Due to the flooding, the walls and floors will in the basement will have to be replaced, Labkowski said. The basement held classrooms for religious school and was the primary space kids of all ages hung out at the Chabad House.
Labkowski said the community response has been great, with people coming to help salvage what they could and clear out damaged books, toys and furniture.
Anecdotally, he thought the flooding was widespread among his congregation. One family who had never had an issue in 20 years saw two feet of water in their basement, Labkowski said.
Frederick received heavy rains starting May 15 that continued through May 17, according to Patti Mullins, the public information officer for the city of Frederick.
The city is still tallying up the damages, she said, but City Hall was flooded and the local YMCA estimated half a million dollars in damage. There were also many sinkholes on the streets and city properties, Mullins said.
Beth Sholom Congregation in Frederick agreed to house the YMCA Early Learning Center’s 90 infants and toddlers until the YMCA could reopen, according to The Frederick News-Post.
After a bad flood in the 1970s, the city rebuilt Carroll Creek Linear Park to include a pump and natural landscaping that would soak up water. It worked just as it was supposed to, Mullins said, and prevented worse flooding. But it eventually was overwhelmed.
Ellicott City was also subject to historic flooding last weekend, with most of downtown being washed out less than two years after a similar massive flood.
Rabbi Shmuel Kaplan, Chabad of Maryland regional director, said he and Chabad directors across the state have a group WhatsApp chat where they keep each other updated. That’s how he found out about the Chabad flooding in Frederick as it was happening.
Kaplan wasn’t aware of other projects in support of the Frederick Chabad House specifically, but said he coordinates frequently with other directors around the state.
Lubkowski and his wife, Frumy, started the Chabad in Frederick nine years ago and raised money to buy a house to become the Chabad House last year.