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November 1, 2012 7:13 pm

Jewish Youth Groups Volunteer Assistance in Sandy’s Aftermath

avatar by Zach Pontz

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Flooded Avenue C at East 6th Street in Manhattan's East Village neighborhood of Loisaida. Photo: David Shankbone.

While many neighborhoods in New York are still struggling to regroup after Sandy, several Jewish volunteer organizations have taken it upon themselves to do what they can to assist residents still reeling from the storm’s impact.

The JCorps, a non-denominational social volunteer group focused on encouraging young Jewish adults to help in the community, which was founded by Ari Teman in 2006, has been working in Lower Manhattan, where people are still without power and running water, to assist those who need it.

“We’re going to apartment complexes and literally just knocking on every door to see if people need help,” says Teman who still runs the program as a volunteer. “Some of these volunteers are climbing 13-14 flights of stairs in every building they go to.”

The organization has even overlooked its usual qualification criteria. “We usually only accept people in the age range of 18-30, but we’re making an exception due to the circumstances,” says Teman. Most of the people are still young volunteers, however, many of whom have been impacted by the storm themselves.

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“A lot of the volunteers don’t have power at home or their work has been cancelled so they decided to come out and help,” says Teman.

Brighton Beach’s Jewish community was hit particularly hard because of its proximity to the water— it sits right up on the ocean. Co-founder and director of the Russian American Jewish Experience— an organization whose focus is on encouraging young Russian American Jewish adults to participate in Jewish life—Mordechai Tokarsky says the response has been overhwhelming considering the circumstances.

“We’ve had dozens and dozens of people respond, most of them alumni from the program. It’s been difficult though because so many people were impacted by the storm and have their own issues to deal with.”

They spent the day cleaning up their community center and he’s encouraged those who can to help anyone in the community who needs assistance.

“Things around here are deteriorating. There’s no power, fires have broken out. It’s really bad but we’re doing what we can.”

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