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Long Term Hurricane Relief

Contact: Donald Cohen-Cutler
212.650.4213

Reform Community Continues Efforts to Rebuild New Orleans
Five Agencies Receive $100,000 in New Grants


October 11, 2007—More than two years after Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, the generosity of Reform Jews across the country is providing $100,000 in new grants to five New Orleans agencies involved in the rebuilding of the city.

The latest grants bring the total given by the Union for Reform Judaism to as part of the recovery effort to more than $4.2 million, including $727,635 given to the four Reform congregations to enable them to keep their doors open.

Rabbi Marla Feldman, director of the Commission on Social Action, who oversees the allocation process to relief agencies, noted that even though stories about Katrina are no longer on the front page of our newspapers, there is still a lot of work to be done.

“The complete rebuilding process will take many more years,” she explained, “and the Reform Jewish Movement will continue its commitment to assisting the Gulf Coast for as long as it takes through our relief grants, volunteer programs and advocacy on behalf of the victims of this natural and man-made disaster.”

The grants to the five nonprofit organizations this month are:

• $33,000–Upper 9th Women’s Shelter: This program, run through Congregation Gates of Prayer, provides shelter to transitional women and children from the Upper 9th Ward of New Orleans.
• $22,000–Mercy Corps: This grant will fully fund the Mercy Corps St. Bernard neighborhood computer technology lab as well as assist in their general rebuilding efforts in this historic community.
• $20,000–Southern Mutual Help’s Recovery Response: This grant is dedicated to the rural recovery program that helps families and small business along the coast rebuild homes and industrial buildings.
• $15,000–Crescent Alliance Recovery Efforts: This New Orleans based organization was awarded its grant to assist in the funding of their project management and community organizing efforts.
• $10,000–Rebuilding Together New Orleans: This grant was for the sponsorship of the Union for Reform Judaism’s Tzedek Mitzvot Adult Mitzvah Corps winter home build.

In 2005, when Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma hit the Gulf Coast and South Florida, the Reform community quickly mobilized, providing food, supplies and gift cards directly to those who needed it, as well as donations that would be used to fund the efforts of agencies on the ground. Donations poured into both the Hurricane Emergency Fund and the SOS New Orleans fund, established specifically to assist the Reform congregations.

As is the case with all emergency fund appeals established by the Union for Reform Judaism, the Union absorbs all administrative costs and overhead costs other than fees charged by credit card companies. For more information on the Union’s past and current efforts to assist hurricane victims – or to donate funds – please visit the Web site at www.urj.org/relief.


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, D.C.
 
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