As Hurricane Harvey battered Houston with record rainfall, Jewish communities across the United States mobilized to raise funds for the recovery effort: Most of Houston’s Jewish population of about 64,000 live in the neighborhoods hardest hit by the storm. A week after the hurricane hit, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles alone had raised more than $200,000 for disaster relief.
But last week, L.A.’s Etan Goldman, 47, better known by his stage name, Etan G The Jewish Rapper, decided to go further than clicking the donate button online and headed to Houston to donate time and resources. Packing a van full of supplies, he made the road trip in three days and stuck around to help with the cleanup effort.Arriving in Houston midway through Week One of the recovery effort, G came amid waves of volunteers flocking to the city. Even before many of the roads were passable, some came from neighboring states with boats in tow to rescue those trapped by floodwaters. After the waters receded, organizations such as Chabad arranged shipments of kosher meat as large as 40,000 pounds to feed Houston’s Jewish community.
For G, it was his personal connection that drew him to the waterlogged city.
The rapper grew up in Baltimore but moved to Los Angeles in 1993 when his parents and sister moved to Houston, where they still live. Although his sister’s home was mostly spared, putrid floodwater rushed through his parents’ ranch-style home in the heavily Jewish neighborhood of Meyerland, destroying most of their possessions and causing extensive property damage.
He left Los Angeles on Aug. 30, drove for the majority of three days and arrived on Friday, Sept. 1. After a day of moving furniture and goods back and forth on Sunday, G said he was exhausted.
“I didn’t think I was going to be needed as much,” he told the Journal by phone. “It’s a balancing game between helping out my parents and getting that work done, and helping out the community.”
A resident of Pico-Robertson, G is perhaps best known for touring with the parody rock band Shlock Rock, but he has released solo albums, as well. In 2007, a rhyme called “Making a Motzi” got him booted from the Chabad telethon, but the video he posted of the incident has earned more than 37,000 views on YouTube.
Two days after Harvey made landfall, he spoke with his parents by phone as water rushed into their Houston home. When it became clear that his parents, both in their 70s, would need to move to an apartment so their home could be gutted and repaired, G figured he could fly to Houston and help them move, then fly back.
“I’m just trying to save my baseball card collection,” he joked shortly before his trip.
But later that Sunday, he found himself...read more at Jewish Journal