Reform Jews Remain Committed to Rebuilding New Orleans Adult Mitzvah Corps Integrates Study, Prayer and Service in Effort to Rebuild Lives
NEW YORK December 20, 2006 The organizers of the Union for Reform Judaisms Adult Mitzvah Corps mission to New Orleans last December would not have dreamed that, one year later, they would need to return. But that is exactly what is happening and Reform Jews are once again responding to the call.
More than 30 Reform Jews traveling to New Orleans this December 24-30 to help in the rebuilding effort. The Unions Mitzvah Corps is unique from other such rebuilding missions because the intensive week of social action, study and worship.
Rabbi Joel Soffin, who has for the past 10 years organized Adult Mitzvah Corps trips wherever the need is greatest, is once again strapping on his tool belt for a trip to the Crescent City. This will be my second trip to New Orleans since the destruction of last years hurricanes, Soffin said. It is good to see the progress, but there is so much more to do in this city.
Rabbi Marla Feldman, director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism and co-director of the Unions disaster relief efforts, said that the participants on the mitzvah corps are not only improving the world around them, but elevating themselves as Jews and as human beings.
Were hoping to build a community of faith as we help rebuild the communities of New Orleans, she said. With just under $4 million raised and almost all of it allocated to local disaster relief agencies, neighborhood development funds and general restoration efforts the Union has been a leader in the Jewish communitys role in rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.
The Adult Mitzvah Corps was established by the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism to provide an intensive experience of social action, study and worship for all participants. Past Adult Mitzvah Corps have taken participants to Israel, Jackson, MS; Burlington, VT and Orange County, CA.
The Union for Reform Judaism (formerly the Union of American Hebrew Congregations) is the central body of Reform Judaism in North America, uniting 1.5 million Reform Jews in more than 900 synagogues. Union services include camps, music and book publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, educational programs, and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, DC.