Positive National Coverage

Friday, 27 April, 2018 - 9:27 am

We are conditioned to seeing New Orleans, and NOLA related institutions, get trashed in the national media. Well I am happy to share some positive coverage for a NOLA institution in one of the most prominent and popular Jewish websites,

In connection with the 36 hour campaign that is currently running to benefit the students of Torah Academy, is featuring a wonderful exposure for the school and the community. It is a story that does a great job highlighting the challenges of getting the school back up and running after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, paired with the amazing current achievements of the school, along with the exciting projections for the school’s future.

The full article can be read at It is also featured in the news section below. I will be excerpting a few key passages from the article as well.

In the meantime, the 36 hour campaign to raise $255,000, has passed the 50% mark with contributions from over 300 individuals. We need each and every one of you to help us reach our goal by 9 PM this evening. Each dollar that you contribute will be tripled by a group of generous matchers. Please go to to make your donation and to follow the exciting developments of the campaign. Participating in this campaign will literally, without exaggeration, help shape a positive future for our NOLA Jewish community.

Interviewed in the article are: Chanie Nemes, Yochanan Rivkin, Rivkie Chesney, Orit Naghi and Naomi Smith. Here are some excerpts. I encourage you to read the article in its entirety.

“In 2005, things were looking up at the New Orleans Torah Academy, with an unprecedented 60 children enrolled. Then came Hurricane Katrina, and everything changed. Homes, businesses, highways and schools—nothing was spared… For years, streets that had once teemed with life were lined with a never-ending supply of mold-splotched sheetrock and rotten bedding, as the city struggled to dry out, clean up and get back on its feet. The original school building was so heavily damaged by the storm that it needed to be demolished. There were hardly any students anyway; most families had moved away and never returned…

It took more than a decade of building, planning and hoping, but today the school—now located in an airy, state-of-the-art facility—has seen its largest enrollment ever and looks forward to even more children in the years to come. (CN)

“We believed that having an inviting, modern and spacious facility would attract people to the school. Five years ago, I posted on Facebook that the school could have 80 students by 2018. At the time, it seemed like fanciful thinking, but thanks to our dedicated and creative staff and lots of Divine assistance, it is becoming a reality.” (YR)

“This is a school where every child—and every parent—is important. When my son started, there were eight children in his class; now there are 14 in his kindergarten/first grade. The staff greet the children like friends because that is what they truly are, devoted to every single child.” (ON)

“I had faith from the beginning that this school was going to grow. Everything we do is research-based, and the practices are top of the line. Our wonderful staff-student ratio allows us to focus on every child, and watch them develop academically and socially. There is a very positive environment, which feels like a family. If someone needs help, there will always be someone there to help them. Larger schools cannot offer that degree of attention and customization.” (NS)

My friends, whether you know it or not, and whether you recognize it or not, Torah Academy is one of the crown jewels of our NOLA Jewish community, producing students who are committed Jews, productive citizens, and future leaders. They have a diverse student body and a devoted staff that is second to none. Simply put, the decision to invest in Torah Academy should be a no-brainer for anyone who cares about the future of our community, and who is broad-minded enough to examine the reality of what the school achieves each year.

Get involved by going to and make a difference for our future.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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