Cantor Joel Colman '95 Receives New Orleans Fire Department Award

Friday, October 2, 2015

Cantor Joel Colman reflects on his experiences in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina:

Little did I realize back in 2002, when I began my service as volunteer chaplain with the New Orleans Fire Dept, that three years later, the gulf area would be impacted by events of August 2005. 

When the NOFD had moved to temporary headquarters after the storm, I remember reporting to the commander, and having the honor of witnessing the ceremony of the NYFD personal, who were returning to New York after driving many hours to help their fellow fire-fighters here in New Orleans. It truly was the worst of times, but brought out the best that these brave men and women continue to offer day in and day out. 
It is important for me to once again thank Temple Israel of West Bloomfield, Michigan who provided an enormous amount of support to my family, and helped arrange a cantorial concert that raised money specifically for the NOFD.  In addition, our ACC provided needed funds, emotional support, and so much more to me and the other cantors in the area.  I will never forget that the American Conference of Cantors came through for me when I needed help.  Thank you once again to the leadership and membership of the ACC! 

My community has changed, and it has been an honor to be a part of the New Orleans Fire Fighters, as we continue to be rebuild this historic city.

The New Orleans Fire Department created a "Katrina 10yr Service Pin," to be presented as a commendation pin to all members that served and sacrificed during the NOFD's response to hurricane Katrina and are still here 10 years later assisting in the recovery and restoration of our city and our fire department.

During the 10th anniversary events, I was proud to receive this pin from the Chief of the New Orleans Fire Department. 

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.