web analytics
April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Discovering Hope In New Orleans

Share Button

This summer 17 Yeshiva University students participated in the Center for the Jewish Future’s New Orleans Service Mission. As part of the mission students had the opportunity to engage members of the community ravaged by Hurricane Katrina just five years ago learn about their current challenges and help rebuild.


 


New Orleans is a city of contradictions. Destruction, rebuilding. Desertion, returning. Neglect, attention. Government failure, individual action. Race divide, unity. A grounded city, a place some would believe is better left abandoned. Many of these concepts are hard to reconcile on a brief trip such as the CJF mission we recently completed. Still, there is something gripping about New Orleans, which we were able to discover in merely six days.

 

From the onset of the trip, many of us were unsure of what we would encounter. What we did experience, though, changed our lives forever. Putting faces to the homes, to the numbers, to the flood’s structural and awful devastation, took our understanding of present-day New Orleans to a new level. The personal accounts we heard and the sense of unity and hope we felt from New Orleans residents allowed us to feel motivated to sod a yard in 100-degree heat, paint a house as professionally as our unskilled selves were able, knock down a brick shed and even attempt to climb ladders in order to dry wall a home.

 

We met with the founders of Resurrection after Exoneration, an organization that helps those wrongfully accused and those transitioning out of jail and into society by making sure they have a place to live and teaching them job skills. We also met with Tracey Williams, a powerhouse in the community who is facilitating the rebuilding of the Treme neighborhood. Her colorful and hopeful houses have popped up across the neighborhood.

 

We heard from members of the Jewish community such as Neil Schneider, a representative of the Jewish Federation, to try to understand the implications that Katrina had on the smaller community. The stable Jewish infrastructure allowed the Jewish community to bounce back more quickly than the city at large. Still, the community basically halved; the number of Jews went from 11,000 to 6,000, and the number is only now slowly rising. The Jewish community that was forced to bury seven sacred Torah Scrolls from their completely ruined synagogue is only now able to build a new space of their own.

 

But there is a unique sense of unity in the New Orleans Jewish community; the Orthodox synagogue is currently housed in the Reform Temple because the synagogue was destroyed in the disaster. The time we spent with the members of the shul showed us that they all work very hard to stay true to their values and maintain their community. 

 

From our week in Louisiana, we learned the true danger of “bystander effect” — meaning that most people assume there is always someone else to pick up the pieces or to solve the problem. Most residents of the city believe that Katrina was a man-made disaster. The failure of the levees caused the flooding, not the hurricane itself. Our trip taught us the power of man, the danger of neglect, the importance of hope and our ability to be part of a rebuilding and to make a difference.


           


Rachel Daniels of Lincolnwood, Illinois is a junior at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women.

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Discovering Hope In New Orleans”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
FBI Wanted poster for Osama bin Laden
Pakistan Library Renamed to Honor bin Laden
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Baim-041814-Piggy

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

More Articles from Rachel Daniels

This summer 17 Yeshiva University students participated in the Center for the Jewish Future’s New Orleans Service Mission. As part of the mission students had the opportunity to engage members of the community ravaged by Hurricane Katrina just five years ago learn about their current challenges and help rebuild.

This summer 17 Yeshiva University students participated in the Center for the Jewish Future’s New Orleans Service Mission. As part of the mission students had the opportunity to engage members of the community ravaged by Hurricane Katrina just five years ago learn about their current challenges and help rebuild.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/discovering-hope-in-new-orleans-2/2010/07/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: