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Insensitive on New Orleans comparison

To the Editor:

As a supporter of Jewish camping, I read your article "Effort helping nonprofit Jewish camps become more professional" with great interest. However, as a member of the New Orleans Jewish community who suffered greatly through Katrina, I found a comment by Eric Phelps extremely disturbing.

As JTA reported, Phelps said that "The transformation has been visible and palpable. You wouldn’t recognize some of these camps. It would be like going from Hurricane Katrina to Palm Beach."

This insensitive remark is comparing the state of a Jewish camp to a horrible natural and man-made disaster that took the lives of more than 1,500 people, including members of our New Orleans Jewish community. Eighty percent of our city was under water for weeks. How does this compare with the disrepair of a Jewish camp?

It has been five years since Katrina, and our city and Jewish community have greatly recovered and are stronger than ever. New Orleans has reached a Jewish population of 8,700, which is only 800 fewer than pre-Katrina. We aim to surpass our pre-Katrina numbers within two years.

I encourage your readers to come and see for themselves by visiting our beautiful, unique city. I also ask Mr. Phelps to please think more carefully when making comparisons in the future.

Sherri Tarr
Development Director,
Jewish Federation of New Orleans
Metairie, La.

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