Rebuilding by the Golden Rule

November 26, 2012 10:00 AM

Fran Simon

Tulane University alumnus David J. Goodman (class of 1986), who lives and works as a certified public accountant in New Jersey, has brought 11 groups of volunteers to New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. He now hopes to organize a group of New Orleanians to offer aid next spring to Hurricane Sandy’s survivors in their rebuilding.


David Goodman

David J. Goodman, a CPA who lives and works in New Jersey, works on a home in the Mid-City neighborhood of New Orleans for the St. Bernard Project in November 2011. (Photo by Jack Linefsky)

Working in collaboration with the Tulane Center for Public Service, Goodman and two friends have organized more than 300 volunteers to help the Crescent City’s renewal. Now, the “Klean Up Krewe” is planning the 12th trip for Martin Luther King weekend.

“What we’re doing down in New Orleans in no way diminishes what we are doing up here in New Jersey,” says Goodman. The group gutted a community health center in Hoboken, N.J., on Nov. 19.

He notes that spring would be a good time to organize a team of New Orleanians to aid New Jersey. “No one would want to come up to help when it’s 20 degrees. Right now, the volunteer support is tremendous, but we know it’s going to wane, so a spring rebuilding effort would be best.”

The krewe also worked with Hands On in Biloxi, Miss., to clean up a community park. In addition, Goodman led the effort at his local Jewish federation to raise $50,000 to help rebuild a synagogue in Biloxi.

Goodman, who is president of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, cites the Jewish concept of tikkun olam — repairing and healing the world — as a personal tenet driving his volunteerism. The idea of volunteering in New Orleans came naturally after he saw the devastation of Hurricane Katrina on television.

“My heart just broke,” he says. “Being somebody who had lived in New Orleans, I felt the people there deserved a lot better than what was happening to them. I felt I needed to go back and rebuild it. I got a lot out of going to school and being in New Orleans, and I felt other people should have that experience.”

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