(NEWSWEEK) — Many Orthodox Jews living in areas directly under threat from Hurricane Irma are planning to stay put in their homes despite flood warnings and evacuations, and even as their religious leaders implore them to disregard the Sabbath, the Jewish day of rest, and save themselves.
Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from across southern Florida, with Irma expected to make landfall on Saturday. Authorities have urged those in mandatory evacuation areas in the Florida Keys and parts of Miami to find safety before the hurricane—one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic Basin—makes rescue efforts impossible.
Despite the dire warnings, many followers of the conservative Orthodox Jewish faith in Miami intend to stay where they are, the Times of Israel reported. Rabbi Chaim Lipskar of the Chabad Downtown Center in Miami said roughly half of his community intends to remain.