The College of Staten Island Hillel joined, for the second year, the growing community of over 3,100 Hillel students who have helped rebuild Mississippi and Louisiana since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the area in 2005. This one-week trip, from January 3 to 10, focused on hands-on service, community interaction, and the exploration of social justice and Judaism.

CSI Student Brian Lemberg commented that going to New Orleans with Hillel and Jewish Funds for Justice was a real “eye opener.” It was a very humbling experience to see first-hand how people are still struggling down there,” he said.

Participants spent their days doing volunteer work, which included, but was not limited to, installing siding on houses, drywalling, painting, roofing, cleaning, etc. in the areas affected by the hurricanes. After working, students engaged in small-group discussion and programming that delved into the underlying issues that were brought about by the storms. Following a communal dinner, there were a myriad of activities including meeting with communal leaders and members of the New Orleans Jewish community. The experience also included a tour of the areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and a restful and joyous Sabbath.

Amy Posner, Executive Director of Hillel at the College of Staten Island, says that she is “grateful again this year to the Richmond County Bank Foundation for supporting this program and enabling CSI students to broaden their understanding and experience of community service.”

Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, is thriving on Staten Island and is committed to making our community and the world a better place. Programs and opportunities are open to all young adults ages 18 to 26.