Reform Jews Celebrate July 4th Holiday with Relief Work along the Gulf Coast Union for Reform Judaism Volunteer Corps Combines Work, Learning and Worship
June 29, 2006 Twenty-four Reform Jews from across the United States are scheduled to spend the 4th of July holiday week rebuilding the devastated Gulf Coast region. During this week long program, the Adult Mitzvah Corps participants will work in Jackson, MS as well as in New Orleans, meet with local community leaders and study Jewish texts on social justice.
The Torah says: The world stands upon three things: study, prayer and righteous deeds, said Rabbi Marla Feldman, director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism. By performing these deeds of loving-kindness in a worshipful Jewish environment, the participants in this project 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 these communities.
Although based at the Union for Reform Judaisms Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica, MS, the Adult Mitzvah Corps will spend two days in New Orleans. The participants will be hosted by Gates of Prayer Congregation in Metairie, LA on July 3 where they will meet with community leaders and then tour New Orleans. Working in conjunction with Volunteers of America, the Adult Mitzvah Corps will spend July 4 working side by side with the congregants of St. Augustines Catholic Church in the New Orleans neighborhood of Treme.
During their stay in Utica, MS, participants will volunteer with community groups that work towards economic redevelopment in a region. The Mississippi Gulf Coast was almost completely washed away by Katrina. The work of the Adult Mitzvah Corps is vital to the continued revitalization of Southern Mississippi, said Robyn Pollak, the Unions Volunteer Coordinator. The work we have helped volunteers do has a real impact on the towns of Coastal Mississippi.
This Adult Mitzvah Corps is a part of the Reform Movements commitment to rebuilding the Gulf Coast after the 2005 hurricanes. In addition the previous missions organized by the Union, many Reform congregations organized trips to volunteer in the Gulf Coast, and members of the Reform Movement raised more than $4.2 million for the effected communities. For more information please see: http://urj.org/pr/2006/nolaupdate/.
The Adult Mitzvah Corps program is sponsored by the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism. The Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism is a joint body of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Union for Reform Judaism and its affiliates that seeks to apply the insights of Jewish tradition to major societal concerns.
??????? 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.