Assuming the buildings are available, there will be High Holy Day services in New Orleans this year.
The announcement was made tonight at a community meeting of the Jewish Federation of Baton Rouge, which included members of the New Orleans Jewish community who are now in the area. Eric Stillman, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, was among the speakers. The evening was originally planned to be the Baton Rouge Federation’s 36th anniversary event.
Rabbi Robert Loewy of Gates of Prayer said that there are plans for Rabbi Andrew Busch to lead Rosh Hashanah morning services at historic Touro Synagogue, and then Loewy will conduct Yom Kippur morning and afternoon services at Gates of Prayer.
Saundra Levy, executive director of the New Orleans Jewish Endowment Foundation, said other New Orleans rabbis would be performing services elsewhere. Rabbi Theodore Lichtenfeld of Shir Chadash will lead services in Houston, while Rabbi Ed Paul Cohn of Temple Sinai will lead services at Congregation B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge while their rabbi, Barry Weinstein, is on leave.
It was also announced that Rabbi Martha Bergadine, executive director of the Baton Rouge Federation, will go from part-time to full-time due to the complexity of the storm response.
Carol Smokler of Boca Raton, Fla., who chairs the United Jewish Communities’ emergency committee, presented a check for the first third of a $1 million grant to the Baton Rouge community to help fund local relief efforts.
Stillman will hold another community meeting in Atlanta on Sept. 26, at the Marcus Jewish Community Center at 7 p.m., for New Orleans residents in that area. Additional meetings will be held in Memphis and Dallas.
Catholic diocese lends hand in Biloxi
Beth Israel in Biloxi will have High Holy Day services in a facility provided by the local Catholic Church. A rabbi and cantor are being provided free of charge by the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s Southeast region.
At last count, 13 members of the small congregation lost their homes in the hurricane. The building still stands, but the congregation is awaiting a structural analysis before deciding what to do next.