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Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans announces hiring of first executive director for groundbreaking interfaith outreach

 

The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans is thrilled to announce the appointment of Erica Golden as the first Executive Director of the groundbreaking Sherry and Alan Leventhal Family Foundation Center for Interfaith Families. 

 

The primary purpose of the Sherry and Alan Leventhal Family Foundation Center for Interfaith Families is to provide a centralized resource and support system for interfaith partnerships and families in Greater New Orleans. According to the latest research from the Pew Center, interfaith marriages now affect 58% of the entire Jewish community.

 

"I could not be more thrilled to be returning to New Orleans as the Executive Director of the Leventhal Center,” said Golden. “I am eager to join the Jewish Federation, the Leventhals, and the wider community on a mission driven journey that is sure to leave a lasting impact on Jewish New Orleans.”

 

The new Center falls under the auspices of the Jewish Federation and is supported by a generous three-year gift from the Sherry and Alan Leventhal Family Foundation. The Center is co-chaired by Teri Hunter and Alex Gershanik, who oversaw a national search for an executive director. More than 80 applications were received for the position.

 

“Our hope is that Jewish interfaith couples and families in New Orleans find a welcoming manner in which to explore their Jewish values and traditions,” said Sherry and Alan Leventhal, in a statement earlier this year announcing the creation of the Center.

 

Erica Golden graduated in 2015 with a double-major bachelor’s degree from Tulane University. She earned a master’s degree from Tulane in Behavioral Health Psychology in 2016, followed by a Master’s of Social Work and a Certificate in Jewish Leadership from the University of Michigan. During her time in New Orleans, Erica worked at Slater Torah Academy, and was actively involved in Chabad at Tulane, Tulane Hillel, and Tulane’s Jewish Studies department. She has worked with numerous Jewish community organizations across the country, most recently serving as the Youth Engagement Director at Temple Beth Am in Miami. In that position, Erica worked with hundreds of young congregants and their families, many of whom are interfaith families.

 

“We could not be more delighted with our good fortune with being able to name Erica Golden as the first Executive Director for the Sherry and Alan Leventhal Foundation Center for Interfaith Families,” enthused Teri Hunter, Co-Chair of the Sherry and Alan Leventhal Family Foundation Center for Interfaith Families. “Erica is warm, genuine, joyful, creative, and motivated.  With a background in Jewish education, family programming, social work, and Jewish leadership—and with strong ties to the New Orleans community, Erica is everything we dreamed of when we started imagining who would take the helm of this new center. We’re incredibly grateful to our search committee for their efforts.” 

 

Alex Gershanik, fellow Co-Chair, emphasized the importance of interfaith support in New Orleans. “The opening of this Center is a watershed event in the history of the Greater New Orleans Jewish community.  For generations, members of the New Orleans community have yearned for education and support in navigating the opportunities and the challenges of interfaith relationships. Thanks to the generosity of the Leventhal family, this center will be positioned to provide nurturing and inclusive opportunities for people of all backgrounds to explore and connect to Jewish values, traditions, experiences, holidays, and culture in an open environment.”

 

The Sherry and Alan Leventhal Family Foundation Center for Interfaith Families will formally launch next month under the direction of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans.

Help our neighbors impacted by Hurricane Laura

 

The Jewish Federations of Greater New Orleans, Greater Baton Rouge, and North Louisiana have partnered to create a relief fund for our neighbors in areas impacted by Hurricane Laura. We are collecting funds for both short term and long term needs. The synagogues in both Lake Charles and Alexandria were badly damaged, and many Jewish residents of southwest Louisiana have lost their homes and businesses as a result of the the hurricane.

 

100% of ALL funds donated will be distributed to those in need.

 

Click here for more community resources in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura.

 
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