New York University’s Edgar M. Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life will serve as the home of the Jewish Disaster Response Corps (JDRC), a non-profit founded by NYU alumnus Elie Lowenfeld, the Center announced. JRDC mobilizes the Jewish community to assist American communities in recovering from natural disasters.
“Service is a Jewish ethic and ideal that we believe deserves prominence and action within Jewish life,” said Bronfman Center Executive Director David Rittberg. “When Elie Lowenfeld, then an NYU student, began incorporating the JDRC, the Bronfman Center wanted to do everything it could to properly incubate and support this great program. We feel strongly that the work that the JDRC will do around the country for many years to come, as well as the example that Elie has set for fellow students, is important and inspiring."
“The founding of JDRC represents to us the power of good ideas and the importance of turning good ideas into action,” added Bronfman Center Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, an NYU chaplain.
Lowenfeld launched JRDC in 2009, when he was a 21-year-old undergraduate in NYU’s College of Arts and Science, to help in the rebuilding process in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which had been devastated by flooding the previous year.
“When a natural disaster strikes, community support networks often are devastated, overwhelmed, and unable to adequately respond to the situation without outside assistance,” says Lowenfeld, who had gone to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. “Many of the organizations that respond to disasters are faith-based organizations. As a member of the wider faith-based community, the Jewish community should be a part of the disaster response effort.”
In 2010, JDRC assisted in relief efforts in Galveston, Tex., Providence, RI, and Nashville, Tenn., after flooding severely damaged those cities.
Founded in 1996, the Edgar M. Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life engages one of the largest and most creative Jewish student populations in the United States. The Bronfman Center is home to dozens of student groups and hundreds of innovative programs and projects. In the heart of Greenwich Village, the Bronfman Center taps into the energy of New York City to create open and pluralistic communities where students learn, celebrate, and explore their identities and Jewish life. For more, go to http://www.nyu.edu/bronfman.