Steve Martini visited New Orleans in early November on a men’s mission trip with The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.
The fourteen men were welcomed to the city by Jackie Gothard, president of Congregation Beth Israel when Katrina hit New Orleans. She regaled the men with photos and stories of her schul under water, seven Torah scrolls ruined and ultimately buried, 3,000 prayer books rendered useless. She and her son, Edward, who is Beth Israel’s president today, were so joyous in sharing their newly rebuilt synagogue. The new schul reopened in August 2012 and welcomed Steve and the other men to celebrate Shabbat.
Steve also toured the famed 9th Ward and other areas caught up in Katrina’s destruction and got busy. Power tools in hand, he joined Habitat for Humanity and experienced the fervor of literally rebuilding a community, working on two homes that will soon shelter New Orleans families in need.
For more information on Steve’s trip, please visit http://www.jewishla.org/blog/entry/mens-mission-to-new-orleans/