A TIME TO BUILD... KNOWLEDGE, CONNECTIONS and COMMITMENT Thoughts & Reflections from the Leadership Mission to New Orleans April 3rd5th, 2006
This April, twenty leaders from congregations across the country journeyed to New Orleans to see first-hand the magnitude of devastation, build a Jewish understanding of the ongoing needs in New Orleans,nderstand why we need to advocate for the Jews of New Orleans in our congregations, and strengthen their commitments to the New Orleans Reform Jewish community. They visited the four Reform congregations, met with Jewish leaders and government officials, and learned about the critical ongoing problems in education, the elderly, and mental and physical health care.
The mission was co-sponsored by the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis. Participants on the mission have filed these reports.
By Patti Vile The ability to meet, visit and bear witness to the catastrophe that overcame New Orleans was visceral. I was both overwhelmed by the ruins of the once great city and inspired by the activities of the people we met.
By Debbie Sadowsky Imagine, what it would be like to go to bed thinking you had lucked out yet again, that your dear city had squeaked by another hurricane scare with damage yes, ....but certainly all in the fixable range.
By Ruth Rosenstein When I arrived in NO last Monday, I waited a few minutes for the airport shuttle to arrive...the driver immediately apologized to the group, some of whom may have been waiting much longer than me. He said that his company used to have 110 drivers, but now there are only 8--this was just the beginning of my experience.....
By Rabbi Jordan Parr, Adat Chaverim, Plano, TX Friends: As many of you know, I spent the past few days in New Orleans on a mission organized by the Union for Reform Judaism. About 25 of us went to New Orleans to see the devastation for ourselves – and to offer support to the congregations there. It was surely one of the most powerful visits that I have ever undertaken.
By Rabbi David Lyon Just before Passover, I participated in a leadership mission to New Orleans, organized by the URJ. The goals for the mission were clear: to view the devastation of New Orleans first hand and meet with community leaders to gain an understanding of their needs; to visit Reform congregations and meet with their leadership to learn about their specific needs and concerns; to learn about the Reform movement's relief projects in the area; and to consider ways to continue supporting the New Orleans community.
By Bill Blumstein Imagine the impact on your life if the Kensico Dam broke and water from the reservoir pored out of the breach flooding an area from the dam to Battery Park in NYC, from the banks of the Hudson to the communities along Long Island Sound.
By Rabbi Barry Block of Temple Beth El, San Antonio, TX "All Jews are responsible for one another." This fundamental teaching of our faith took Temple Beth-El Past President Harry Levy and me to New Orleans, on a Mission organized by our Union for Reform Judaism. Forty-eight hours in New Orleans reminded me that all Americans, indeed all God's children, are responsible for one another. We, the American people, are not living up to our sacred obligation.