In response to the need of the devastated New Orleans Jewish Community, the Orthodox Union (OU) commits, over the next five years, to support individuals and businesses with interest free loans, scholarships and monetary donations, spiritual counseling, and other religious services.
The Jewish community of New Orleans is one of the oldest in the United States. Judah Touro who was a contributor to the Touro Synagogue in Newport, RI lived in New Orleans at the turn of the 19th century (he was wounded in the Battle of 1812). He created and endowed the first infirmary which still exists in New Orleans. The Beth Israel Congregation in New Orleans has a 100 year old Orthodox history and is a member of the Orthodox Union (OU). Their building was totally destroyed, and services were suspended.
Immediately after Hurricane Katrina, OU was in touch with leaders of the Orthodox Jewish community displaced in cities outside New Orleans. While providing for the physical needs of refugees, provisions were also made to give students admittance to Orthodox schools in Memphis, Dallas, and Houston.
It is our intention to assist the New Orleans community and to re-establish its religious infrastructure in every way possible. We currently hold significant reserve funds while the future needs of rebuilding the religious infrastructure of the New Orleans Jewish community is under study. These reserves will enable us to donate ,000 per year for the next five years.