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CROWDRISE : Sep 17, 2013
Tax ID: 80-0517696
BASED: New York, NY, United States


Our Mission

The JDRC is a 501-c nonprofit that assists communities in domestic disaster recovery while exhibiting Jewish values and promoting broad and visible Jewish participation.

The JDRC provides a Jewish partner for institutions and individuals to work with, thus filling the gap between disaster response and the Jewish community’s commitment to help others.


In the United States, the response to natural disasters lacks a large, visible, and active Jewish presence equipped with the dual ability to address the needs of both the Jewish community and the general community in post-disaster response.  In 2008, JDRC founder Elie Lowenfeld traveled to Cedar Rapids, IA with AmeriCorps VISTA to respond to floods that devastated the city. While on the ground, Elie noticed an abundance of church groups and Christian disaster relief organizations and a lack of visible Jewish participation in the recovery efforts. In response to his experience, Elie founded the JDRC in 2009 as a faith-based student initiative at The Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at New York University. Since its initial founding, the JDRC became a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and has mobilized hundreds of Jewish young adults to aid in post-disaster rebuilding efforts across the United States.


The JDRC in action:

The JDRC works with Hillels and other student groups to mobilize students to participate in an alternative break trip to help those affected by disaster during their vacations.  Through this effort the JDRC has mobilized over 500 students to provide a week of service to domestic communities affected by disaster. The JDRC volunteers participate in week-long Jewish service-learning trips that combine hands-on service in response to natural disasters with structured Jewish learning and reflection.   


We have worked in: 


Cedar Rapids, Iowa– Rebuilding In a Post-Flood Zone

In August 2009, the JDRC traveled to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to help with the rebuilding effort as a result of damage that occurred during the flooding in June 2008.  Our volunteers helped to build and repair walls in houses damaged in the flood.  We were housed by the Cedar Hills Community Church, the Pastor of the church group said to us: “you (the group of JDRC volunteers) are a unique group, we (the church) have been housing volunteers for over a year and you are the first Jewish group to come.  We have had Methodists, Protestants, Baptist, Mennonites and more, but never a Jewish group.”


Galveston, Texas– Rebuilding After Hurricane Ike

The JDRC traveled to Galveston Texas on three separate week long trips to help repair and rebuild homes that were damaged and destroyed as a result of Hurricane Ike. During January and March of 2010 our volunteers took part in many aspects of rebuilding – hanging sheetrock, indoor and outdoor painting, installing floors, and more. 

While in Galveston we worked with Mellissa Tabin, a social worker with Jewish Family Services Houston, who had been working on the recovery effort for a year and a half.  She said to us “thank you for coming … I have felt like the lone ranger as the only Jew on the recovery team.  I am so happy to finally have a Jewish partner in this work.”


Nashville, Tennessee- Clean Up After Flooding

In May 2010 the JDRC deployed to Nashville to assist in the clean up from the flooding.  Since after a flood there is a high risk of mold growth in any porous materials affected by the flood, our work consisted mostly of removing debris from homes.  This included everything from furniture, clothing and toys to more permanent fixtures like walls, floors, and cabinets.


Yazoo City, Mississippi– Rebuilding from tornado

In January 2011 the JDRC worked with the Yazoo Humanitarian Recovery (YHR), helping with the long term recovery from a tornado that devastated Yazoo County on April 24, 2010.  Our volunteers worked primarily hanging sheetrock, interior painting, and roof repair.  This community has received minimal outside support and one of the directors of YHR said to us “thank you for coming … you brought hope to a community that desperately needs it.”


Nashville, Tennessee– Long term rebuilding from the floods of 2010

In March and April 2011 the JDRC returned to Nashville to work with the Southeast Nashville Recovery on the long term rebuilding effort in the city. Our volunteers helped to build, repair, and paint walls in houses damaged by the flood.


Birmingham, Alabama:- Clean up from the Tornadoes in April 2011

The JDRC spent May and June helping the homeowners in the communities of Pratt City and Pleasant Grove. Volunteers assisted in removing trees and debris from housing foundations in order to clear them for rebuilding.


Bergen County, New Jersey- Clean out homes flooded by Hurricane Irene

In response to Hurricane Irene the JDRC worked in Bergen County, New Jersey, helping to clean out homes flooded by the storm.  We worked in conjunction with FEMA and New Jersey VOAD to identify the needs in the county.  Our volunteers worked in partnership with NECHAMA and the local New Jersey NCSY.


Birmingham, Alabama:- Rebuilding from the Tornadoes in April 2011

The JDRC returned to Alabama in December 2011 – April 2012 to assist the rebuilding of the areas that had been affected in April.  Volunteers worked in Pratt City helping homeowners rebuild their homes.


Joplin, MO Rebuilding from the tornadoes in May 2011

From January - March 2013, the JDRC worked with Rebuild Joplin to rebuild homes destroyed by the deadly tornado of 2011.  Our volunteers helped with all aspects of rebuilding including but not limited to hanging sheetrock, interior painting, installing floors, and demolishing homes that needed to be rebuilt from the ground up.   Jewish community member Paul Teverow told the Times of Israel “The silver lining inside the tornado cloud that hit us is the support we have received from the JDRC. Their presence makes us feel like we are part of a larger Jewish community.”  


New York, NY– Clean up and rebuilding from Hurricane Sandy

The JDRC was on the ground one week after Hurricane Sandy devastated the tri-state area mucking out homes, handing out food and supplies, and removing debris.  Since then, the JDRC brought groups to assist in rebuilding efforts in the Rockaways and Long Island, and will continue to mobilize groups to volunteer throughout the recovery process.


Central OklahomaImmediate Relief and Long-Term Rebuilding from 2013 Tornadoes

The JDRC was on the ground two weeks after the first EF-5 tornado hit Central Oklahoma in May 2013 removing debris and cutting down trees.  The JDRC is committed to bringing over one-hundred students to help in the long-term recovery efforts in 2014. 


Tax ID: 80-0517696 •



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Hillel at University of Rhode Island Alternative Break Winter Break in Oklahoma!

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