NECHAMA – Jewish Response to Disaster is a 501(c)(3) volunteer organization providing natural disaster response, rebuild, and preparedness training services nationwide. Guided by the Jewish values of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, performing good acts, and helping the stranger, NECHAMA offers a helping hand in the spirit of goodwill and creating mutual respect and understanding among people.
“Tikkun olam” (Hebrew for “world repair”) has come to connote social action and the pursuit of social justice. The phrase has origins in classical rabbinic literature and in Lurianic kabbalah, a major strand of Jewish mysticism originating with the work of the 16th-century kabbalist Isaac Luria. For NECHAMA, we engage in Tikkun Olam through direct service and action, assisting storm-affected families and providing opportunities for hundreds of volunteers.
NECHAMA – Jewish Response to Disaster, is the only Jewish organization to offer sustained direct services in the US following the onset of a hurricane, tornado, flood, or other natural disaster. Steve Lear of Minneapolis founded the organization following the Great Flood of 1993 when both the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers flooded over a period of 7 months, leading to 32 deaths, and over $15 billion in damage. Lear donated funds to the recovery but wished to do more, so he recruited three friends, a truck, some tools, and headed south to Iowa.
That first trip was the beginning of an organization now known as NECHAMA (nechama means “to comfort” in Hebrew). NECHAMA’s programs are direct and effective ways for communities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. Our programs aim to provide direct disaster assistance, training, and other support so that affected individuals, families, and small businesses can respond more effectively, saving precious time and money. NECHAMA is inclusive, welcoming volunteers of all faiths and providing assistance to disaster survivors regardless of religious affiliation. Our work provides disaster survivors with critical comfort and hope.
Leadership & Administration
Development and Communications
- Seth Gardner-Gould – President
- Rabbi Matt Rosenberg – Immediate Past President
- Steve Kleinglass – Treasurer & Secretary
- Tracy Figueroa
- Elie Lowenfeld
NECHAMA is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All contributions are tax deductible.
Tax ID # 411998750