Archive for : Disaster Relief & Recovery

Helping Colorado (And Elsewhere) Recover From the Fires and Heat

Earlier this summer, Colorado was on fire. Not the whole state of course, but a shocking amount of it was damaged by drought-induced wildfires. Tens of thousands of acres blazed, thousands of people were evacuated and hundreds lost their homes.

Does this story sound familiar? Increasingly it is. As an op-ed in last Sunday’s New York Times writes: “Summer is barely two weeks old and two-thirds of the country is in the grip of a severe drought. More crops will die. More forests will burn.”

In other words, as scientists have predicted for decades, the impacts of climate change are beginning to rear their ugly heads. And as that happens, the risk of weather-related disasters increases.

Become a key part of the global movement to curb climate change. Check out climate-focused organizations like and The Environmental Defense Fund, and plug into the solution. In the meantime, find out how you can help Colorado recover from the most recent fire on the website The Jewish Federation of Colorado and The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) are also collecting funds to assist those affected.

Repair Interview: Andrew Tepper and the Jewish Disaster Response Corps

Since 2009, Repair the World’s grantee-partner organization, the Jewish Disaster Response Corps has mobilized hundreds of Jewish students in helping to rebuild communities after disasters (like hurricanes, fire, and floods). Recently, JDRC was down in Alabama, rebuilding homes for victims of last year’s tornados.

Andrew Tepper, a senior at NYU who recently volunteered with JDRC, took the time to tell Repair the World about his first experience with manual labor, the trip’s interfaith focus, and the exhilaration that comes from building a home for someone in need.

How did you get involved with JDRC?
I first learned about them last year. One of the Rabbis at the Bronfman Center at NYU spoke about the need for people to help out in Alabama – and particularly about how there had been very few Jewish volunteer groups to go down. Several months after the tornados struck, the initial sensationalism had died down, and support for the area was dwindling a bit. This was a chance to not only live our Jewish values and help others, but a chance to say to the people of Alabama, “we haven’t forgotten about you.”
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Reflecting on the Japan Tsunami, One Year Later

This Sunday, March 11, marks the one year anniversary of the magnitude 9 earthquake, and the resulting tsunamis and nuclear meltdown that devastated large swaths of coastal Japan. In just a few chaotic hours, tens of thousands of people were killed and hundreds of thousands were left homeless. (Watch this video which shows what the damage looks like a year later.)

Japan’s story touched the hearts of people all over the world, and many donated money or time to help out. The Jewish community alone raised millions of dollars of support, and sent trained search and rescue teams to Japan. Repair the World featured a photo slideshow showing rabbinical student Andrew Scheer’s journey in Japan with a delegation of volunteers. And thanks to a initiative, 2 million paper cranes and well-wishes were sent to Japan, along with more than $500,000 in support. Check it out below:
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Monday Link Round up

Happy Monday and happy day-after-the-Oscars! Hopefully you had fun cheering on your favorite stars, laughing (or not) at Billy Crystal’s jokes, and sizing up the fashion on the red carpet. To get you in the spirit for the rest of the week, here is Repair the World’s weekly round up of service-related posts from around the web.

  • The Huffington Post reported on which Oscar nominees were the most charitable. (For Repair the World’s coverage on Hollywood volunteering and philanthropy, click here.)
  • JTA published a story on the first anniversary of the devastating tsunamis in Japan about the positive impact Israeli disaster responders had in helping post-tsunami trauma victims.
  • GOOD helps introduce Bully, an important new documentary about the epidemic of bullying in American schools.
  • GOOD also shared several books that cover the topic of bullying, and different students’ responses to it.
  • Sustainablog shared a story about an urban garden located at a bus stop in London, that is helping to build community. (Includes a great video featuring charming British accents!)

Remembering Haiti

Two years ago on this day, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake took the lives of over 300,000 Haitians, displacing thousands and thousands more, and causing vast amounts of damage to the region. Like many natural disasters and world-events, the earthquake may have happened two years ago, but its impact is still felt today. Today, one and a half million people are still displaced, 550,000 people continue to live in camps, and the number of orphans nearly doubled. Thanks to the support of devoted volunteers, NGOs and service-workers who rushed down, some progress has been made. According to the The Huffington Post, 50% of the debris has been removed and 20% has been recycled. Nearly 369,000 people have been provided access to clean water, 2.4 million with health services and hygiene education, and 3 million with cholera treatment prevention. But the work is far from done.

As global citizens – and as Jews – we are responsible for helping to alleviate each others’ suffering. Below are some ways you can still give your time and effort to help Haiti in its efforts to rebuild:

Volunteer, Support & Learn

  • AJWS: AJWS’ long-standing partnerships in the region made it possible for them to respond within 48 hours of the earthquake.  Today, AJWS funds 40 extraordinary organizations in Haiti and is a leader in the U.S.-based movement for Haitian-led redevelopment.
  • JDC’s Inside Haiti: Volunteer with JDC in the fields of medical assistance, educational support and humanitarian relief.
  • Tevel B’tzedek’s Haiti Program: The IsraAID – Tevel b’Tzedek delegation began its work in Haiti one month after the quake. They’ve been implementing community development techniques such as women and youth groups and informal education in three villages in the Leogan district ever since.
  • Habitat for Humanity: Habitat’s commitment to Haiti dates back 27 years before the 2010 earthquake. Today, they continue to be a leading organization in helping to rebuild Haiti.
  • Aid Still Required:  “Just because it left the headlines, doesn’t mean it left the planet.” Aid Still Required has helped support Haiti’s growth to self-sufficiency, including women’s empowerment efforts, child services, and reforestation. Use hashtag #AidStillRequired to spread the word about Haiti.
  • American Red Cross: Two years after the Haiti earthquake, the American Red Cross is helping Haitian people rebuild their homes and their lives and improving communities with health, water and sanitation projects.
  • Interested in hosting a text study on disaster relief in general? Check out this resource for texts which explore a moral obligation to respond to humanitarian crises.


Monday Link Roundup

Happy Monday! We hope you had a fabulous weekend kicking through the autumn leaves and drinking hot cider (or is that just our idea of the perfect weekend)? Now, to get your day started off right, here is your weekly roundup of inspiring and thought-provoking service and social justice stories from around the web. Read on…

    • Have Fun Do Good highlighted the work of dancer Sara Potler, whose amazing organization Dance 4 Peace focuses on conflict resolution and civic education through dance in youth around the world.
    • JSpot highlighted a recent meeting of faith-based disaster and relief recovery leaders, which focused on how best to serve the low-income communities that are often hardest hit.
    • The Forward honored Evelyn Lauder (who recently passed away). The daughter-in-law of cosmetics legend Estee Lauder, Evelyn pioneered the pink ribbon that has become the leading symbol of breast cancer awareness.
    • The Huffington Post published an inspiring article by Racheal Yeager of the HERproject about empowering women to be leaders in sustainable development.

    GOOD ends things on a hopeful note with their “document hopefulness” slideshow. It’s a bit cheesy, sure, but there’s nothing wrong with a little excess hope. What are you feeling hopeful for this week? Email us.

Help Turkey Recover from the Earthquake

Yesterday, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey, killing hundreds of people and wounding thousands more. The quake also damaged scores of homes and knocked out power across the southeastern part of the country.

Turkey is known as a seismically active country, sitting atop two major fault lines. And yet, this is shaping up to be the worst earthquake the country has seen since 1999. It’s also the latest in a series of high-profile and highly-destructive natural disasters that have struck over the last few years.

Each new disaster that hits headlines is a reminder of how fragile life can be. It’s also a reminder of how interconnected and dependent we are with and on each other. Right now, a rescue mission is underway with Turkish relief teams searching for survivors under the rubble while there is still a chance of finding people alive. According to an article in the JTA, Turkey has, for now, rejected all offers of international aid. But there are still ways to help:

The following organizations and relief funds are accepting donations on behalf of victims, which will be distributed in the coming weeks.

Want more info? Check out Do Something’s post, 11 facts about earthquakes.