Two quotes adorn our new synagogue. Engraved upon the Ark are the words, “Mighty Waters Cannot Extinguish Our Love.” This verse from Shir HaShirim 8:6 is written in Hebrew over the Ark and in English in the lobby, symbolizing our community’s great story of renewal. On the front of the building, we have restored the Biblical phrase lifted from the front of the old synagogue on Canal Blvd. taken from Exodus 25:3, “Build for Me a Sanctuary and I will dwell amongst you.”
WE HAVE A HISTORY
Congregation Beth Israel was founded in 1904 and has its roots dating to the mid-1800s. The congregation worshiped on Carondelet St. and then on Canal Blvd. until Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters destroyed our synagogue and all of its contents. Yet, what seemed unimaginable in 2005 is today a reality. With resolute commitment and a healthy blend of seasoned and fresh leadership, we have reconstituted ourselves and have emerged as a stronger community than we were before the storm. As Rebbe Nachman of Breslov once said, “If you can believe in the ability to destroy, then you can believe in the ability to rebuild.”
WE HAVE A HOME
The focus in the immediate years post-Katrina was to rebuild a sense of community. Then it came time to provide our Beth Israel family a new home. In August of 2012, a new synagogue was dedicated for our growing congregation, open to all, and with a value of creating an accessible spiritual home. We have built a sacred space for our five new Torah scrolls, our uplifting services, our engaging programming, and our congregational family. We have built our new shul, servicing a vibrant Modern Orthodox presence in New Orleans and we are honored to continue our proud partnership with our larger Jewish community.
WE HAVE A MESSAGE TO SHARE
Our new synagogue building along West Esplanade Ave in Metairie sits adjacent to Congregation Gates of Prayer. Our relationship with Gates of Prayer since Katrina as neighbors within their building has been enriching and energizing, and we are proud to be side-by-side for the long haul. Gates of Prayer’s playground stands at the center of our two synagogues, with shared access, as a symbol that while we have different worship practices and ideologies, we are still one Jewish family. We pray this model of community partnership will serve to inspire others around the country to appreciate to appreciate what it truly means to live by the words, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers can sit together!” [Read Rabbi Uri's Dvar Torah related to this partnership here.]