Jewish centers and synagogues were evacuated as a result of the 5.9 magnitude earthquake that was felt throughout the East Coast, the Forward reports.
Staffers at synagogues in Washington D.C. and Richmond, Va., the city closest to the epicenter, tried to calm one another’s jittered nerves as they checked their buildings for structural damage.
“It felt like a herd of elephants was running back and forth while someone was jackhammering the building,” said Shoshana Danon, an administrator at Kesher Israel, a Modern Orthodox synagogue 14 blocks from the White House. “I’m going around to make sure the Sefer Torahs didn’t get damaged.”
At Adas Israel, the largest Conservative synagogue in Washington, Executive Director Glenn Easton ordered the building evacuated after the quake ended. A lunch for seniors was stopped midway, and 100 people filed out of the building.
No one had yet arrived for a bris scheduled for later in the afternoon. “Fortunately, the bris hadn’t started yet,” said Easton. “That would not have been a good combination. We hope there aren’t any aftershocks,” he added.