Elderly couple who died in Houston flooding to be buried

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Funeral services were set to be held for an elderly Jewish couple who drowned in the floods that swept through Houston last week.

The couple was scheduled to be buried Sunday at the Congregation Beth Yeshurun Cemetery in Houston.

Shirley and Jack Alter died after the rescue boat they boarded on the morning of May 26 suffered engine failure and then capsized in the rushing floodwaters, the Houston-based Jewish Herald-Voice reported. Shirley Alter, 85, and Jack Alter, 87, had been wearing lifejackets but were not strong enough to withstand the strong current. The couple’s 55-year-old daughter was able to float to safety, the Jewish Herald-Voice reported.

Shirley Alter’s body was recovered on the same day as the accident. Jack Alter’s body was recovered on Thursday in the Port of Houston and positively identified on Friday.

At least nine people were killed in last week’s flooding.

Three Houston synagogues were flooded and damaged during the storm: United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston; Congregation Beth Israel’s Reform Temple; and the Meyerland Minyan, an Orthodox synagogue.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston is collecting money for a flood relief fund, and the Jewish Federations of North America is sending Houston’s Jews $25,000 for urgent assistance.

Over the weekend, volunteers and Federation staff handed out flood-recovery supplies at the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC, including boxes, bins, tape, packing materials, cleaning supplies, protective equipment, trash bags, bottled water and replacement cellphone chargers. The volunteers also accepted collected donations of such items, according to the Herald-Voice.

Federation staff also went door-to-door in flood-struck areas delivering packaged meals.


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