ACCESS Mission to New Orleans, Feb. 17-20

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ACCESS, AJC's New Generation program, led a group of thirty-two young Jewish professionals from across the nation on a relief trip to New Orleans over President's Day weekend. The trip focused on hands-on service at several locations, including gutting destroyed homes in the Ninth Ward with the relief organization Common Ground Collective. The group also cleaned and painted the gym at Torah Academy, a Jewish day school in Metairie, and organized the library at Gates of Prayer, a reform synagogue in Metairie.
In addition to hands-on work, the delegation met with federal officials and community members to learn about the reconstruction effort, and to delve into the issues of race and poverty which were exposed by the hurricane. The trip closed with a session at Xavier University, a predominantly African-American campus, where the group met with students and faculty to hear their personal stories of survival. AJC presented Xavier President Dr. Norman Francis with a $100,000 donation from AJC's Katrina Relief Fund to aid the University's recovery efforts. The event was featured on the homepage of Xavier University.
The mission received coverage in the media, including articles in Jewish Week, the New Orleans Times-Picayune and the Cleveland Jewish News. AJC Executive Director David Harris also delivered a radio message about the mission.

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