- While our congregation has been hit hard by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, our historic synagogue buildings, located at the edge of the famous Garden District and fronting historic St. Charles Avenue, have escaped any major structural damage or flooding. While some flooding has potentially damaged some of our mechanical systems and some computer equipment and wind has caused some damage to a decorative stained glass window as well as some roof flashing, we expect to continue to be a viable home for the New Orleans Jewish community. Our historic congregation was founded in 1828 , the present-day Touro is an amalgam of two earlier congregations, one founded by German Jewish settlers, the other a Spanish-Portuguese synagogue whose families were largely of Sephardic background and who arrived from South America and the Caribbean. The name "Touro" was adopted after 1881, when the two congregations merged and honored the memory of the New Orleans philanthropist and community leader, Judah Touro. It was Judah's father, Isaac Touro, for whom Touro Synagogue of Newport, Rhode Island, the oldest synagogue in America, was named. A few years later, in 1891, Touro became a reform synagogue. Touro Synagogue today is a vital and progressive center of Jewish life. It loves its traditions, yet it embraces change. It provides a variety of worship experiences, including its famous Jazz Fest Shabbat which coincides with the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and has featured music by some of New Orleans' most reknown music talents and klemer bands. It is also a house of learning and a "community synagogue" with a commitment to social action. It encourages lifelong Jewish learning and a love for Jewish culture and experience. Touro, most of all, is and will continue to be a growing and living community of Jewish families.