The Big Easy Wants Jews

Cash incentives offered to Jews who come to New Orleans
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2007 8:50 AM CDT
Workers with the Unified Recover Group demolish a home in Chalmette, La., Wednesday, July 11, 2007. Contractors hired to clean up after Hurricane Katrina are fuming over delays in getting paid by FEMA,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Jewish leaders are recruiting members of the faith to pull up stakes and move to hurricane-ravaged New Orleans. They've hired an Israeli ad agency to get the message out, and they're appealing to Jews' sense of social responsibility to help heal the shattered city. And there are aliyah-inspired cash incentives to sweeten the pot.

The Big Easy's Jewish community has dwindled from 10,000 to 7,000, and synagogues and services are staying afloat on donations from around the country. New Orleans is home to America's oldest synagogue outside the original 13 colonies; local literary light Andrei Codrescu remembers watching a rabbi march down the street playing "When the Saints Go Marching In" on a shofar in the early 90s.