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Jewish Students Join Rebuilding Together New Orleans to Bring Evacuees Home

by Hillel News |Dec 31, 2008|Comments
Hillel students repairing a New Orleans home in 2007.
Hillel students repairing a New Orleans home in 2007.

Hillel, the world's largest Jewish campus organization, is sending 100 students to help renovate four houses next week in the Broadmoor neighborhood in partnership with Rebuilding Together New Orleans (RTNO). This is the first of four Hillel groups this year that RTNO will host, in a multi-year partnership to bring students from universities around the country to work in New Orleans.

"Hillel is proud of our ongoing participation in rebuilding Gulf Coast communities, which began just weeks after the hurricanes ravaged the region in 2005," says Hillel President Wayne L. Firestone. "To date more than 2,200 Jewish students have worked in the area, fulfilling our commitment to tzedek (social justice) and tikkun olam (repairing the world)."

RTNO's skilled AmeriCorps House Captains will lead the volunteers during the first week of the New Year on home repair projects for low income elderly or disabled homeowners. These New Orleans residents, after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, are still struggling to return home as hope and financial resources run low. To date, RTNO has rebuilt 145 storm-damaged properties.

Hillel's work in New Orleans demonstrates college students' continued interest and support for the Gulf Coast region three years after Hurricane Katrina. Such college groups help RTNO maintain a steady stream of enthusiastic volunteers to complete hundreds of home renovations.

Many students are so moved by their volunteer experience that they decide to move to New Orleans after their graduation. Two of RTNO's current AmeriCorps members volunteered with RTNO last year through one of Hillel's Alternative Spring Breaks.

Hillel and Rebuilding Together New Orleans work in partnership to restore neighborhoods ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Hillel and Rebuilding Together New Orleans work in partnership to restore neighborhoods ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Rebuilding Together New Orleans is a local affiliate of Rebuilding Together which has restored and revitalized more than 100,000 homes over the past 20 years. Utilizing volunteer labor, Rebuilding Together allows low-income families in communities across the country to live in comfort, safety, and dignity. Rebuilding Together New Orleans is a program of the Preservation Resource Center, an organization devoted to promoting the preservation, restoration, and revitalization of New Orleans' historic architecture and neighborhoods.

Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life is committed to enriching the lives of Jewish undergraduate and graduate students so that they may enrich the Jewish community and the world.


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