If you believe in the ability to destroy, you can believe in the ability to rebuild.
Congregation Beth Israel flashed on the world scene just after August 29, 2005 as a ZAKA volunteer was captured on film carrying Torah scrolls out of our flooded sanctuary. Unfortunately, those scrolls could not be salvaged, and all seven of them, along with more than 3,000 holy books were later buried in our cemetery here in New Orleans.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, nearly 10 feet of water poured in from the breach of the 17th Street Canal levee wall, destroying our synagogue, and scattering our community far and wide.
Yet, today, our 100+ year old congregation has reconstituted itself; new Torahs have been gifted to us from around the country, fresh faces have moved to our city, our multi-generational community has been re-engaged, and we have re-established our unique role as a partner within our warm, inclusive community.
The focus these past few years has been about rebuilding our community. Now it is time to provide our Beth Israel family a new home.
In April of 2010, we held a groundbreaking for the new synagogue building, which will be built along West Esplanade Ave, adjacent to Congregation Gates of Prayer in Metairie. Our relationship with Gates of Prayer since Katrina as neighbors WITHIN their building has been enriching and energizing, and we look forward to being NEXT-DOOR neighbors for a long time. A playground will stand at the center of the two synagogues as a symbol that while we have different worship practices and ideologies, we are still one family.
With God’s help, and our due diligence, our new synagogue will hopefully be ready well in advance of the 5772 High Holidays.
Partner with us as we rebuild our spiritual home.