Union Receives Major Grant for Gulf Coast Rehabilitation Efforts United Jewish Communities Awarded Generous Grant to Reform Movement Programs
NEW YORKThe continuing Gulf Coast rehabilitation and rebuilding efforts of the Reform Movement received an enormous boost in the form of a $90,000 grant from the United Jewish Communities and the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. This grant will fund Reform Movement trips to the Gulf Coast that provide volunteer assistance, as well as eye-witness account of the continuing needs of the region.
The grant from UJC and the LA Federation will make possible numerous volunteer programs in New Orleans, including two Adult Mitzvah Corps trips, a Commission on Social Action volunteer program, a KESHER Alternative Spring Break for college students, and a NFTY Mitzvah Corps of the South for teens, said Naomi Abelson, manager of Congregational Relations for the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism. In addition, we will be able to provide mini-grants to Reform congregations planning their own programs for youth or adults.
The needs of New Orleans and the surrounding region continue to be extensive. In addition to the overwhelming needs of individuals to rebuild their homes and businesses, there are tremendous unresolved communal issues that require a broad, national commitment to the regions renewal, said Rabbi Marla Feldman, director of the Commission on Social Action.
To that end, these programs will train volunteers to become advocates for the region when they return to their home communities. These programs will put a human face on the enormous natural and manmade disaster, said Rabbi Feldman. This kind of face-to-face interaction is a powerful tool and helps volunteers turn into impassioned advocates upon their return home, raising public awareness about the support needed for the region to recover.
The Union remains actively involved in the re-birth of the Gulf Coast region, having donated more than $4.2 million dollars in relief funds, supporting volunteer efforts and providing $727,635 in support to the local Reform congregations through the Support Our Synagogues (S.O.S) Fund. For more information please visit www.urj.org/relief/hurricane05/ and for information on the congregational mini-grants please see www.urj.org/csa/takeaction/volunteer/gulfcoast/.
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.