Beth Israel flashed on the world scene in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, 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 3000 holy books were later buried in our cemetery in New Orleans.
While Beth Israel received an enormous amount of support in a variety of ways, five special gifts – five holy Torah scrolls, stand as an eternal symbol of the love and care we received from around the country.
The first Torah was gifted to Beth Israel on the first anniversary of the storm by the Jewish community of Los Angeles. A bat mitzvah, Haley Fields, inspired the gift as she raised thousands of dollars for New Orleans by selling plastic watches. Click here to read her story.
The second Torah came from Temple Beth Emet in Anaheim, California.
The third Torah came from Sommerville, NJ, and was arranged by George and Harriet Blank.
The fourth Torah was a gift from the Kestenbaum and Tobin families in Penn Valley, PA.
The fifth Torah was gifted by a bar mitzvah, Ethan Ulanow, of Potomac, MD. Click here to read his story.