Sunday, December 25, 2005

Katrina-damaged seforim are buried

From Yahoo:

NEW ORLEANS - Standing on moldy and debris-covered floors, college students cleaning up a Jewish temple paused Monday for a prayer service — the first at Beth Israel Synagogue since Hurricane Katrina flooded it with more than 10 feet of water three months ago.

The dozen or so students were among roughly 50 from colleges across the country who have come to New Orleans to spend their winter break helping with recovery efforts at the century-old synagogue, as well as at area homes and schools left damaged by the storm.

The students, wearing face masks and gloves, hauled out to the synagogue's front lawn books, furniture and holy items such as a shofar — a ram's horn used in holiday rituals.

The items were sorted by what would be buried on Tuesday in Jewish burial grounds in another part of the city and what would be thrown out.

Beth Israel was the only New Orleans synagogue completely destroyed during Hurricane Katrina, said Jackie Gothard, the congregation's president. Roughly 150 families attended services there before the storm.