New Orleans Jews Hunkered Down for Isaac

'Worst Is Over,' Says Local Federation Chief

Raging Isaac: With Hurricane Isaac moving north, Jews in New Orleans were hoping the worst of the storm is over.
getty images
Raging Isaac: With Hurricane Isaac moving north, Jews in New Orleans were hoping the worst of the storm is over.

By JTA

Published August 30, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

New Orleans Jewish institutions remained closed Thursday as the region continued to bear the torrential rains and winds of a new massive storm.

Hurricane Isaac, now downgraded to a tropical storm, lashed the region in the past few days with winds up to 80 miles per hour and drove walls of water up to 11 feet high inland.

“I think that the worst is over and now it’s just rain, lots of rain and more rain,” Michael Weil, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, wrote in an email to community members on Wednesday. “By all accounts this massive 300-mile wide and deep storm is crawling its way up Louisiana. I think Isaac likes us more than we like him and he wants to stay.”

The storm struck only three days after the community had gathered to celebrate the opening of a new home for Beth Israel Congregation, the only synagogue irreparably destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Katrina had hit on Aug. 29, 2005 and her relentless rains led to the breaching of levees in the city, flooding it and destroying swathes of neighborhoods.

In the years since the storm, $14.5 billion has been put into a new system of levees, walls, pumping stations and flood gates, all of which seems to have performed largely well in recent days.

At Tulane University, Hillel director Yonah Schiller had welcomed 500 freshmen two days before the storm’s arrival.

“Traditionally Isaac symbolizes gevurah,” or might, Schiller told The Jerusalem Post, referencing the Biblical patriarchs Isaac and Abraham in his comments. “Yet, with so much of the chesed,” kindness, “traditionally symbolized by Abraham in this special city of New Orleans, we are doing just fine. We are safe, happy and a little wet,” he said, alluding to Abraham’s hospitality.

Jewish agencies remained closed Wednesday and Thursday. However, Weil provided a list of emergency numbers and the email emergency@jewishola.com for people to use. The federation voice mail will be updated with community information as needed, he added.

“You are not alone,” he said in closing his message.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.