Laura Taishoff never intended to stay in New Orleans beyond her year with Avodah, the national Jewish service corps.

“I decided to stay because I felt really comfortable here,” the Katonah, N.Y., native said. “I felt like I was developing here Jewishly more than I ever had anywhere else, and I knew that I had a better chance of getting a job here based on my experiences and connections.”

Taishoff continues to work for the juvenile public defender’s office — the job she began during her time with Avodah — as an educational advocate, and now she lives in the local Moishe House, a nexus for pluralistic Jewish 20-somethings. While she acknowledges that her transition to New Orleans in 2009 was “weird at first,” the local Jewish community’s denominational makeup intrigued her.

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