A seasoned social worker and executive director of Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans, Deena Gerber helped residents put their lives back together in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Born in New Orleans, Deena Gerber earned a BA from Boston University and worked briefly in New York before returning to earn her MSW from Tulane University. She stayed in New Orleans, working for the Jewish Family Service for over thirty years, serving as executive director from 1994–2013. She co-authored Caring for the Elderly: A Workbook for Caregivers in 1992, and has taught at both Tulane University’s School of Social Work and Loyola University of New Orleans’s Department of Governmental Studies. In the wake of Katrina, she organized Jewish Family Service to help distribute funds, gift cards, and much-needed counseling to hurricane survivors, often asking, “What’s your plan du jour?” to take the pressure off survivors struggling to find workable solutions amidst the chaos. In December 2011 President Obama honored her with the Champion of Change Award for the work the Jewish Family Service had done under her leadership to aid the community after Hurricane Katrina.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Deena Gerber." (Viewed on September 18, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/gerber-deena>.