Lonnie Zarum Schaffer
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Lonnie Zarum Schaffer stepped up to lead her struggling Modern Orthodox synagogue, Anshe Sfard, rebuild themselves even better than before. Born in London, Schaffer earned a BA from Middlesex University in 1989 and studied at the London School of Contemporary Dance for a year. She moved to New Orleans in 2002. After Hurricane Katrina, the leadership of her Orthodox synagogue, Anshe Sfard, tried to govern from afar with disastrous results. Schaffer, who had meanwhile continued running Hebrew school classes from her home, and then from the JCC, took on the synagogue presidency. She viewed the storm as an opportunity to forge stronger ties with other Jewish organizations and bring in fresh ideas from other Orthodox communities. In response, the formerly dwindling synagogue membership enjoyed a surge of new energy. In 2008 Schaffer founded Strike It Green, a company which recycles and rents props, sets, and wardrobe for film, theater, and events, including the Southern Repertory, the Cripple Creek Theatre, the Jefferson Performing Arts Society, and the NOLA Project.