Jewish group pleased with Gulfport recovery efforts

By Brad Kessie - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - B'nai B'rith International has invested nearly $150,000 in Gulfport's recovery efforts.

On Monday, the non-profit Jewish organization had a photographer in town to document how that money has rebuilt parts of south Mississippi.

Some of the money went to Congregation Beth Israel.  The local Jewish community is using the gift to help build a new house of worship on Three Rivers Road in Gulfport.

The city of Gulfport got a $100,000 grant from B'nai B'rith.  That donation helped the city hire a housing development administrator.  That person secured a $9 million grant to create affordable housing opportunities around the community.

Debbie Auerbach-Deutsch is the vice president of communications for B'nai B'rith International.  After touring the synagogue construction, she said, "I had the opportunity for the first time last year," to come down and see the devastation.  "And a year later, I can see the changes, and I can see the growth, and I can see a revitalization.  And it really means so much to us at B'nai B'rith, that we were able to play a very small role in this."

The B'nai B'rith representative also met with people at the Interfaith Disaster Task Force, to see how they've incorporated their donations into post-Katrina recover efforts.

Congregation Beth Israel expects to move into its new synagogue building in about two months.

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