Contact: David Kaplan, Executive Director
Phone: 952-255-6822

NECHAMA – Jewish Response to Disaster Announces Partnership With New York State and Governor Andrew Cuomo To Support Puerto Rico Rebuild Efforts

300 Volunteers Will Join NECHAMA This Summer To Assist Storm Survivors

Puerto Rico, June 18th, 2018 – In partnership with the State of New York and the office of Governor Andrew Cuomo, NECHAMA – Jewish Response to Disaster, will be supporting 300 volunteers from SUNY (State University of New York) and CUNY (City University of New York) schools, as well as skilled labor, in rebuild efforts in Puerto Rico following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The project will be funded in part by UNICEF USA who has committed funds to the joint project.

The deployment of students and skilled labor from New York begins June 17th and is planned to continue for 10 weeks over the summer. Volunteers will be working on homes in and around Loiza, Puerto Rico, including Bayamon, Vietnam, and Guaynabo, clearing out damaged homes, repairing roofs, replacing doors and windows, and making other minor repairs. Work will be focused on low-income and at-risk households including those with elderly residents and young children.  

“We are honored to be working with the State of New York, Governor Cuomo, UNICEF USA, and especially the SUNY and CUNY systems in this effort,” said NECHAMA Executive Director David Kaplan. “This partnership will allow NECHAMA to scale up our efforts in Puerto Rico this summer and make needed repairs on homes ahead of future storms.”

About NECHAMA – Jewish Response to Disaster
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 value 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. NECHAMA engages in Tikkun Olam through direct service and action, assisting storm-affected families and providing opportunities for hundreds of volunteers.

We believe that natural disasters disproportionately affect communities that are underserved, low and lower-income, and underinsured or uninsured. Families in these communities are less insulated against the economic shock that often accompanies disasters, and suffer from substandard infrastructure which exacerbates the physical damage from these events.

In addition to large scale events that make the national news, NECHAMA focuses on low-attention disasters with at-risk communities, embedding our teams with local residents, and embracing our host communities. Whereas families with means are able to address home repairs or move permanently from regularly affected areas, NECHAMA assists less-affluent households who are left to fend for themselves without adequate resources to address damage to their homes or move to a less-affected area.

As we do our work, grounded in Tikkun Olam, we honor our shared history and make a commitment to our shared future by using our projects to impact social change.