In August 2011 the devastating force of hurricane Irene impacted Schoharie County. Many members of the local Jewish community were impacted. Rose and Paul Westheimer, residents of Schoharie County and members of Congregation Agudat Achim, were fortunate to live on high ground but witnessed the destruction caused by the flood waters around their home and throughout the county. Staff at several synagogues were directly impacted by the storm. Now nearly a year later considerable work still needs to be done to return Schoharie County to its original beauty.
On Sunday, July 22 the Jewish community consisting of Congregations Agudat Achim, Beth Israel, Beth Shalom, Gates of Heaven, and the Schenectady Jewish Community Center traveled to Schoharie to work with Schoharie County Recovery Inc. to assist in rebuilding the area.
Andrew Gavens, event chairman said, "Many individual synagogues hold a Mitzvah Day. This event is unique in that a community of Jewish organizations is coming together to perform a mitzvah for another community." Gates of Heaven Social Action Co-Chair, Lorna Snapp agrees, "This is a wonderful community activity to assist in our mission of tikun olam, repairing the world."