"When we heard what Rabbi Soffin was doing in New Orleans, we asked him how we could help," said Seth Haubenstock, president of Barnert Temple’s Men’s Club, speaking to The Jewish Standard about the group’s recent donation of a wedding canopy to a New Orleans synagogue.
Told that the Touro Synagogue whose physical plant and ritual artifacts were significantly damaged last year by Katrina could sorely use a new chuppah to replace the one that had been destroyed, "it was a no-brainer," said Haubenstock.
The Barnert Temple Men’s Club donated this chuppah to Touro Synagogue in New Orleans.
The Wyckoff resident, who has been the shul’s Men’s Club president since June, noted that the group had invited Soffin to a meeting "to get introduced." Speaking about his ongoing efforts to help with reconstruction efforts in New Orleans, the rabbi suggested that Men’s Club might want to raise money to replace the Touro chuppah.
The 40 members present "decided not to wait," said Haubenstock. Learning that the project required about $1,000, "we decided to donate money that very morning."
"We just reached into our pockets," he said. "We thought the need was immediate, and between all of us, plus help from our treasury, we were able to raise the funds then and there."
Men’s Clubs will be raising money for New Orleans in other ways as well, said Haubenstock, who describes his chapter as "extremely active." An upcoming pancake breakfast is expected to raise $1,600, and a casino night is aiming to bring in $5,000.
As for the chuppah, Haubenstock said, "There is nothing better than a wedding canopy to signal hope and the future." He added that one letter from the Touro shul said, "When the first bride and groom stand under this chuppah, they will be making Barnert/Touro history."