Repair the World People: Horace Bradley

In the month leading up to Passover, Repair the World is sharing stories that highlight the on-the-ground ways our fellows, volunteers, and partner organizations serve in solidarity to turn the tables on racial injustice. Today, meet volunteer extraordinaire, Horace Bradley. Then, join our Passover campaign and help us serve in solidarity by hosting and volunteering. Together we can #ActNowForRacialJustice.

Choosing to volunteer is, when you really think about it, pretty heroic. We’re all busy folks – with school, with work, with family obligations, with…life. So the act of purposefully carving out the time to help someone else, or to help a whole community or the planet is pretty much worthy of a standing ovation.

One of the things we strive for at Repair the World is to create meaningful volunteer opportunities that let everyday people (that’s all of us) become everyday heroes. We have a lot of everyday heroes who volunteer in our partner cities, but Horace Bradley is one of the most dedicated.

By day, Bradley works as a customer service agent at Target. But in his spare time over the last two years, he has volunteered regularly with Philly Farm Crew – urban farm/garden volunteer workdays which we run in partnership with the Jewish Farm School. During Farm Crew days, volunteers get their hands dirty in the soil, doing work on vacant lot gardens and urban farms around Philadelphia.

Farming is labor-intensive work that requires persistence and commitment throughout the growing season. Without volunteers like Bradley, the work of planting and harvesting vegetables, weeding the gardens, building a greenhouse, and constructing a Cobb oven (all things done during Philly Farm Crew days) simply wouldn’t happen. “Farming is a great way to commune with nature and with others,” Bradley said.

In addition to the Farm Crew, Bradley has been involved with Repair the World in a variety of other ways – baking loaves of bread with Challah for Hunger, sorting books at a public school library, and packing food for people in need. He also joined one of Repair the World’s alternative break programs in Detroit. “It was my first time volunteering so far away from home,” he said. During the trip, he and the other volunteers boarded up abandoned homes.

So what inspires someone like Bradley to make such a deep and lasting commitment to volunteering – to get bitten by the service bug? Service is a two-way street. When done well and thoughtfully, service work benefits a community in need in innumerable ways. But it also. “Repair the world has changed aspects of my life,” Bradley said. “I think about food differently thanks to Philly Farm Crew, and I’m more outgoing now. But the most rewarding aspect is just being there, helping others.”

Check out the cute video Bradley made about his experience volunteering with the Philly Farm Crew.

Lessons From Our Ancestors: A Refugee Story (Mordy Walfish)

In light of the recently updated ban ordered by President Trump, refugees and immigrants remain at the top of the news cycle. The stories of people coming into our country today, many of whom are fleeing harsh conditions at home, are familiar to Jewish Americans. It was not long ago, after all, that many of our collective Jewish grandparents or parents (or we ourselves) set off to America seeking a better or safer life.

In the spirit of supporting today’s refugees and immigrants, Repair the World’s Vice President for Programs, Mordy Walfish shared his grandparents’ remarkable refugee story, as well as the lessons we can take from remembering the words from Exodus 23: “Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

Can you share your family’s refugee/immigrant story?
I’m the grandkid of four refugees. My dad’s parents fled Eastern Europe between the two World Wars – one settled in Toronto and the other in Detroit. My mother’s parents are Holocaust survivors. I’ve always connected most to my grandmother’s refugee story. She grew up in Poland and spent her teenage years in ghettos and camps, finally being liberated from Bergen-Belsen in 1945 at the age of 18.
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Mansbach Bringing Change to Community

This post originally appeared on The Atlanta Jewish Times on March 2, 2017

By Michael Jacobs

Jodi Lox Mansbach’s priority in her new job as the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta’s chief impact officer isn’t to develop measures of the effectiveness of Federation’s programs, but to figure out what the Jewish community needs.

From there, she can help figure out how Federation and its partner agencies can meet those needs to have the greatest impact.

“It’s really putting the community first,” said Mansbach, who started Feb. 22 at Federation in a new role that enables her to provide leadership and strategic vision for the organization.

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Repair the World Miami to launch this summer

This post originally appeared in The Florida Jewish Journal on February 6, 2017

By Sergio Carmona

The national organization Repair the World recently formed a partnership with the Greater Miami Jewish Federation to launch Repair the World Miami in summer 2017.

Repair the World is an organization devoted exclusively to engaging Jewish young adults in service. Repair the World Miami will join its sister Repair the World Communities programs in Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and New York City in bringing a combination of peer-to-peer engagement, educational programs and community-based service opportunities to thousands of young Jewish adults and their friends.

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In Tense Political Climate, Young Jews Turn To Volunteering

This post originally appeared in The Jerusalem Post on February 3, 2017

By Danielle Ziri

As protests against President Donald Trump’s travel ban take place across the United States, some young American Jews have decided to volunteer to help marginalized communities.

One of the organizations that allows them to do so is Repair the World.

Founded in 2009 with the goal to “make meaningful service a defining element of American Jewish life,” the NGO aims to engage Jewish young adults with the communities around them.

The group operates across the United States, with a focus on programing in six cities: Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In each city, Repair the World partners with local NGOs and allows members to volunteer in their communities.

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From Dialogue Comes Understanding: MLK Shabbat

This post originally appeared on The Schusterman Blog on January 31, 2017

By Jason Crain

This story comes to us from TableMakers, a Schusterman initiative that helps REALITY alumni to create and host dynamic Shabbat experiences for their peers. The experience described below was organized by Jason Crain, a Technical Product Manager and Entrepreneur in Residence at Amazon.com in Atlanta, GA. He graduated from Morehouse College, and hails from Kansas City, Mo. Here, Jason shares his thoughts from our MLK Day Shabbat dinner hosted in partnership with Repair the World. The dinner was part of Repair’s Turn the Tables dinner series and an extension of their #ActNowForRacialJustice campaign.

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What We Stand For at Repair the World

This post originally appeared in The Forward on January 19, 2017

By Liz Fisher, COO Repair the World

I haven’t (yet) seen Hamilton. Like many, I’ve heard the soundtrack and recently was reminded of a lyric from the show: “If you stand for nothing, Burr, what will you fall for?” “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Turns out, that quote likely didn’t originate with Alexander Hamilton. Whomever said it first, it echoes in my head as we move towards inauguration day and a new administration.

At Repair the World, we recognize that dissent and debate leshem shamayim (for the sake of heaven) are inherently Jewish and American values. We honor the rights of individuals and organizations to disagree, to express their opinions and perspectives in non-violent ways, and to engage in action to improve our communities and nation.

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