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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Frisch Students Help Build Houses in New Orleans With Habitat For Humanity

NCSY and Frisch partner for New Orleans Chessed Mission

Ten juniors from The Frisch School traveled last week to New Orleans to take part in an NCSY sponsored Chessed mission.

While in New Orleans, students worked with Habitat for Humanity to rebuild a home in the devastated Ninth Ward.

“I was shocked to see that so much of New Orleans was still destroyed,” said Frisch student Yosepha Sebrow (2012, Teaneck). “I would have thought that so many years later everything would have been fixed. It is so important that we made this trip because it is volunteers like us who are helping to rebuild New Orleans.”

“Our students learned a very important lesson while in New Orleans,” said Rabbi Mark Staum, the Frisch advisor on the trip. “As Jews we need to be at the forefront of the volunteer response to disasters. Our students gained so much from their time working as volunteers. They learned that not only do the people for whom you are rebuilding a house benefit, but as volunteers, they personally benefit from the time they spend working on these important projects.”

As part of the trip, the students toured the lower Ninth Ward to see many of the areas that were destroyed during Hurricane Katrina that have yet to be rebuilt. Following the tour of the Ninth Ward, the students took an tour of the destroyed Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Lakeview and visited the cemetery where the Beth Israel Torah Scrolls and Seforim (religious books) that were destroyed when the synagogue flooded during Hurricane Katrina were buried.

“The visit to the Shul and cemetery was particularly emotional for me,” said David Moed, a junior from Englewood, NJ. “Seeing the devastation caused by Katrina was very moving. This experience showed me the importance of helping communities affected by disasters and the need to stand with those who are affected.”

Frisch Students also spent a morning with elementary school students at the New Orleans Jewish Day School in Metairie. The Frisch students gave classes about the upcoming Pesach holiday and worked with the students on a variety of educational arts and crafts projects.

Students on the mission also spent one afternoon at a local nursing home entertaining and visiting the home’s residents.

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