Important Contact Info for Katrina Evacuees

The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans has set up a temporary home at the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston, and plans to become an email clearinghouse and set up a bulletin board on its website.

Anyone with information on evacuees from New Orleans — or who are evacuees themselves — may email information to Adam Bronstone, New Orleans CRC Director, at Evacuees who are in locations far from New Orleans are strongly urged to remain where they are rather than return to the region.

Congregations throughout the region are asked to place posters with this information in their buildings so those from New Orleans who might be in the area will know to contact the Federation. The list of evacuees will allow the Federation to have an information flow to community members and help them assess the need for assistance.

The New Orleans Federation is also seeking assistance with home hospitality for those who may not be able to remain in hotels. “Best locations will be the Southeast U.S. and Texas communities, but any offers are appreciated.” The Federation requests that individuals not contact them, but each community — through Federations or synagogues — coordinate offers and forward them to the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.

Any evacuees from other affected communities, such as the Mississippi coast, are asked to contact Richard Klein, United Jewish Communities Network consultant, at The UJC has set up an emergency mailbox for donations at: UJC Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief c/o UJC, Inc. Hurricane Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 30, Old Chelsea Station, New York, NY 10113. Online donations can also be made via UJC’s website.

Eric Stillman, executive director of the New Orleans Federation, said “The outpouring of love, concern, and support that has been expressed for the Jewish community of Greater New Orleans is overwhelming. From cities throughout the United States, other Jewish Federations, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Government of the State of Israel, and the synagogue movements, we have received messages and offers of help. Disaster relief mailboxes have been established for us through United Jewish Communities and the Federations of North America, as well as the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ) and the United Synagogue of America.”

The URJ has set up a messageboard for congregants and family of the affected synagogues in the New Orleans area (Gates of Prayer in Metairie, North Shore Jewish Congregation in Mandeville, and Temple Sinai and Touro Synagogue in New Orleans.

The Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica, Miss., reports that it regained power last night, after being without power or water since Monday. The camp has been the place of refuge for evacuees from the Davis Developmental Center in New Orleans. The center’s evacuees have since been moved to a hospital near Alexandria, La.

As of last night, there were about 50 evacuees remaining at the camp, half Jewish, half not. Over 200 people had taken refuge at the camp since Saturday.

Jonathan Cohen, director of the camp, is offering the camp as a staging area for either the Red Cross or the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, and also plans to reserve space for members of the New Orleans Jewish community. The camp has over 250 beds.

Steve Richer, president of Beth Israel in Biloxi, said he was not able to determine the synagogue’s condition yet, but “it is almost for certain that we will need help above what our insurance will cover.”

There was no major damage at Ahavas Chesed in Mobile.

Members of the Dayton, Ohio, Jewish community are offering temporary housing for members of Deep South Jewish communities who were affected by the storm. Anyone interested should contact Rabbi Hillel Fox at Beth Jacob Congregation, (937) 274-2149.

Numerous other congregations in the region are offering hospitality to displaced residents. Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El has set up its own fund that will go directly to sister Reform congregations in Mobile and the New Orleans area. To donate through this fund, mail checks to: Temple Emanu-El, 2100 Highland Avenue, Birmingham, AL 35205 and indicate “For Hurricane Relief.”

The State of Israel offered its condolences and solidarity with the region. Consul General Shmuel Ben-Shmuel of the Atlanta Consulate said “We are deeply saddened by the tragedy suffered from Hurricane Katrina in the last two days. I would like to express our deep sorrow to all of the citizens of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and the many areas directly affected by the horrific devastation and loss of life caused by Hurricane Katrina. Please know that the people and State of Israel stand alongside you in consolation and friendship. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you face this tragic situation.”

MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger issued an emergency $5000 grant to America’s Second Harvest, as it tries to bring five million pounds of food to the region.