Reform Adult Mitzvah Corps to Work in New Orleans Eighteen People to Spend December 25-31 Rebuilding Homes
Eighteen Reform Jews from across the country including several teens and their families will travel on Christmas Day to New Orleans for a week-long Adult Mitzvah Corps project to repair homes damaged in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The group, organized by the Union for Reform Judaism and Temple Shalom in Succasunna, NJ, is working in partnership with the Jewish Federation of New Orleans and Temple Sinai in that city.
The trip is the latest in a series of Tzevet MitzvotAdult Mitzvah Corps projects that provide participants with the opportunity to worship, study and discuss Jewish values of social justice, while providing hands-on assistance.
The Reform communitys response in the wake of this seasons hurricanes has been overwhelming. Donations to the hurricane relief fund reached more than $3 million, and the Union opened Jacobs Ladder, a relief warehouse which distributed over three million pounds of goods donated by synagogues from across the country, at its camp in Utica, MS.
Rabbi Marla Feldman, director of the Commission on Social Action, who is assisting with the New Orleans mission led by Rabbi Joel Soffin of Temple Shalom in Succasunna, NJ, said that "From the moment the hurricane hit, there have been numerous offers of hands-on assistance from people who want to travel to the Gulf Coast to assist in the rebuilding effort. In the midst of this crisis we have seen an inspiring generosity of spirit emerge from our community."
The volunteers will be repairing four homes, identified by the Jewish Federation, where they will be installing insulation and sheet rock. Each morning the group will worship at Temple Sinai, and they will gather each evening for study and discussion. There will be a closing Shabbat worship experience at Temple Sinai at the end of the week.
The Union for Reform Judaism (formerly known as the Union of American Hebrew Congregations) is the synagogue arm of Reform Judaism in North America, representing 1.5 million Reform Jews in more than 920 congregations across the United States and Canada. Union programs and services include youth camps, music and book publishing, adult education opportunities, Outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, and the ReligiousActionCenter in Washington, DC.