A Mitzvah or Two

There have been so many church groups that are helping us in Mississippi rebuild our lives after Hurricane Katrina. There is Samaritan Purse, God's Pit Crew, the Southern Baptist Convention, the St. Vincent DePaul Society, Catholic Charities, and so many others. Today, I learned about another one.

The Mississippi Coast Interfaith Disaster Task Force is one such group. This week, Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein with the Simon Wiesenthal Center was busy repairing roofs on Biloxi's Nixon St with a nail gun in hand. He is here this week in conjunction with Hillel, a campus based Jewish youth group.

The Wiesenthal Center is not geared for disaster relief and is primarily concerned with humans rights. But there is a connection between the actions of Pete Bloss, the vice-president of the Mississippi IDTF and the Wiesenthal Center.

What initially brought the Wiesenthal Center here the association with Bloss, a Gulfport attorney and IDTF volunteer vice president. Last year, Bloss and others at his church, Westminster Presbyterian in Gulfport, protested a Presbyterian-USA General Assembly decision to visit with the anti-Israel Hezbollah and to withdraw investment in Israeli companies. The protest drew the attention of the Wiesenthal Center, the largest Jewish human rights non-government organization.

"They had the courage to stand up to their national leadership," Adlerstein said. "When we heard of the interfaith disaster task force here, we came down to express our gratitude and see if we can help.

"This is people of conviction and faith making a difference, finding the neighborhoods where the people don't have the resources and giving them hope to rebuild again".Sunherald

The many groups that are down here cannot be thanked enough. The college kids who are giving up their breaks to help out should be commended. Mr. Bloss and his church should be commended for standing up to the PC-USA's national leadership.

Mitzvah's all around!


Blogger Elmer's Brother said...

That's a great story.

8:50 PM  
Anonymous seawitch said...


It is a good story and it shows that people of different faiths can co-operate with one another.

9:15 PM  
Blogger Esther said...

I love that, seawitch!

10:25 PM  
Anonymous seawitch said...


There are so many helping and sometimes the various groups don't get recognized. I thought it was neat that someone from the Wiesenthal Center was down here swinging an airgun!

Not to mention all the college kids. It makes you feel better about the youth today when you realize how many of them are helping out.

5:45 AM  

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