Jumpstart Shelter Related Projects in Honor of Sukkot

The spirit of Sukkot is in the air. And for those of us who have sat in a sukkah in the last week (a temporary outdoor shelter built during the holiday of Sukkot), the scent of Sukkot – pine boughs or bamboo, gourds and pumpkins, apples and citrusy etrogim – is in the air too.

That’s why in this month’s installment of Repair the World’s ongoing crowdsource funding series, we scouted some shelter-related projects that are currently campaigning for support. They’re all totally different from one another, and all really inspiring. We don’t know the people involved in these projects personally, but we think the work they are doing is worthy of some serious attention. We hope you do too!

Families of Color Seattle This awesome organization is building an intergenerational gathering space for families that perpetuates a culture of inclusivity, community building and play-centered learning. Help them build their Cornerstone Cafe!

Clarity Hamlet Help build an eco-friendly, straw-bale home for Buddhist nuns in California. The project is hoping to fund the creation of three dormitories for the sisters called Clarity Hamlet. Their sustainable cred includes passive solar design, recycled steel roofs, grey water recycling, and straw bale walls made from agricultural waste of from local growers.

Wood and Stone Retreat Help save and refurbish a historic property in Maryland, and reenergize the economy of a town. Two good deeds for the price of one!

Awesome Sukkot Events, 2014

This year, Sukkot begins on Wednesday, October 8, at sundown. It brings with it a focus on harvest, hospitality, the gift of shelter, and an abundance of good food. Meanwhile, when it comes to connecting to social issues like hunger, sustainability, and housing rights, Sukkot is ripe (pun intended!) with possibility.

Each year, congregations and communities around the country find ways to make those connections explicit. Join in the fun by checking out one of these creative and inspiring Sukkot events:

Sharing the Faith – Sukkot
October 10 and 15, Chicago
Join the Niagara Foundation in exploring Sukkot, while offering interfaith educational opportunities. From a Shabbat service, to a conversation about homelessness on Sukkot, it promises to be a worthwhile event.

Eat, Pray, Lulav: A Sukkot Harvest Festival
October 12, Berkeley, CA
Join Urban Adamah for their fourth annual harvest festival complete with opportunities to harvest fall crops, build a cob oven, take a farm tour, and enjoy live music. Bring a canned food item to donate.

Aztec-Jewish Harvest Festival at Proyecto Jardin
October 12, Los Angeles, CA
The congregation IKAR and their urban sustainable garden partner, Proyecto Jardin, are teaming up for a unique, cross-cultural Sukkot event.

Hazon Jewish Food Festival
October 12, Encitas, CA
Spend Sukkot on an honest-to-goodness Jewish ranch, and join nutritionists, chefs, farmers, rabbis, educators, and food enthusiasts in celebration of the values of the Jewish Food Movement.

Sukkot Harvest Celebration
October 14, Boston, MA
Celebrate Sukkot with the Jewish garden, Ganei Beantown, The Riverway Project and the Moishe Kavod House in Temple Israel’s organic vegetable garden and sukkah. Prepare a meal together, learn Torah, and join in an open mic.

Sharsharet Rocks Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Have you noticed an uptick in the amount of pink you’re seeing around? It’s not a coincidence – October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! All around the country, people are getting involved – participating in walks, talks, and other events to get the word out about women’s health, and particularly breast health.

High up there among them, is Sharsheret – an organization dedicated to supporting Jewish women who have breast cancer, and also their families, friends, and care givers. Ashkenazi Jewish women are more likely to have the alterations to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which make them more susceptible to eventually getting breast cancer.

Sharsheret works year round to provide resources and loving networks for women facing the challenges of breast cancer. But this month, they and their partners on campuses, synagogues, and in communities are stepping it up even more, with events like Sharsheret Pink Week, Pink Shabbats, and a Rock ‘n Run awareness raising event.

Find out more about all of Sharsheret’s work – during October and throughout the year – at their website.

Repair Inspiration: Two Girls, One Jewish and One Muslim, Share a Stage

It’s Throwback Thursday, and we’ve got a very worthy throwback for you! Last year, two young women got up on stage at the Brave New Voices poetry slam in Washington DC. One, Hannah Halpern, is Jewish. The other, Amina Iro, is Muslim. They were there to co-recite a spoken word poem – one with a powerful message of tolerance, unity, and finding strength within our differences.

BNV is a project of Youth Speaks, a San Francisco-based organization that works to advance the intellectual and artistic development of young people, while amplifying their voices. As you’ll see in the video below, Halpern and Iro’s voices were definitely amplified – and the result is nothing short of amazing.

Interfaith understanding, awesome poetry, and two smart and fabulously talented women sharing their stories – what more could you want? Watch and cheer!

Find out more about the Brave New Voice sslam and Youth Speaks at their website.

Bring Stories of Healing and Hope to the Rosh Hashanah Table

As Rosh Hashanah draws near (this year the holiday starts on Wednesday, September 24 at sundown), we find ourselves looking for stories of healing and hope. Fortunately, while there have been plenty of tough and disheartening stories in the news recently, there is never a shortage of inspiring news and ideas to go around!

This year, whether you plan to go to synagogue or not, take some time to seek out the good to share at your Rosh Hashanah table – while digging into apples and honey, of course! Here are a few great resources to get you started:

– The Orthodox social justice organization, Uri L’Tzedek created a wonderful publication that focuses on the ethical cultivation of the Jewish self called Mah Ani? Self Reflection and Social Action for the High Holidays.

– Check out American Jewish World Service’s Rosh Hashanah reading, that reflects on the year’s challenges and blessings, and looks forward to the New Year with a renewed sense of hope. AJWS rounded up even more great High Holiday resources – you can access them them on their site.

– The Jewish Environmental organization, Hazon, has a ton of resources, tips, and ideas to share to help make Rosh Hashanah green and delicious.

– Rabbi Yael Ridberg of Congregation Dor Hadash in California wrote a beautiful Rosh Hashanah sermon two years ago that continues to be relevant today. Her message? That we all realize how much more we can achieve as a community than as individuals.

Best wishes for a sweet and happy New Year from everyone at Repair the World!

Remember the Good This 9/11

For many people, the images of 9/11 – the twin towers, the smoke, the flyers of missing loved ones hanging all over the city in the aftermath, the memorial flowers and candles – are forever fixed in our brains. They can be hard images to shake, even 13 Septembers later. But there are other images to remember. Like of people lining up at hospitals to donate blood. Or of first responders putting aside their personal safety and rushing to the scene, or everyday people finding small but significant ways to help and comfort one another.

While it is important to remember 9/11 in its entirety, each year, we have the opportunity to remember the good – to keep in our hearts and elevate the beautiful and overwhelming outpourings of kindness that followed the tragedy. To privilege the memory of good that rose amidst deep pain.

Check out the video below to find out how people are choosing to remember the good this 9/11. How will you? Share your plans and good wishes on the 9/11 Day of Service website.

Read Repair the World’s previous 9/11 coverage, including interviews with first responders:

Butch Brandes & Peter Archer, Jewish First Responders on 9/11

Rabbi Stephen Roberts on Providing Spiritual Service After 9/11

Rabbi Simkha Weintraub On Ongoing Healing After 9/11

Let Interfaith Service Outshine Intolerance and Bigotry

Repair Inspiration: Turning Swimming Pools Into Backyard Farms

With Labor Day come and gone, summer might be past it’s peak, but our minds are still on swimming – or swimming pools, rather! We’re particularly intrigued by this story on Co.Exist about how some folks are transforming their backyard swimming pools into super-productive gardens filled with vegetables, a chicken coop, and even a tilapia fish farm!

Check out the excerpt below, then get the full scoop – and check out the truly awe-inspiring video – over at Co.Exist’s website:

“In the hot summer months, it might be a shame to use a swimming pool for anything other than splashing around in. But then turning your pool into a highly productive growing system is more practical. It’s also cheaper, overall.
Dennis and Danielle McClung pioneered the Growing Pool–a solar-powered aquaponic greenhouse–back in 2009, shortly after buying a foreclosed home in Mesa, Arizona. They didn’t want to spend time and money doing up the eyesore in the backlot. And, besides, they’d always wanted to be more self-sufficient.

Since then, a host of imitators have come up with their own Garden Pools, based onhow-to instructions the McClungs have posted online. Actually, it doesn’t seem that difficult. First, you surround the perimeter with a metal frame and add poles to support a plastic covering. Then, you mount some solar panels to run the water pumps. Then, you put in a chicken coop, tilapia fish (in the deep end) and some plants.

The idea is that chicken waste falls into the tank, which feeds the fish. The fish provide nutrient-rich water, which is pumped to the plants, which grow and feed the McClungs. The whole system uses a fraction of the water employed for soil-based growing–one of the main attractions of aquaponics.”

Read the full story…

Host a Rosh Hashanah Seder With the Schusterman Family Foundation

Got plans for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year? Whether you love apples and honey, thrill at the sound of the shofar, or love that extra sense of sacredness floating through the air this time of year, now is the time to make sure you start the high holiday season on, well, a high note.

This year, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation has created the perfect opportunity to do just that. They are offering micro grants of up to $300 for people to host Rosh Hashanah seders in their homes.

So what’s a Rosh Hashanah seder? It is a lesser known fact that just like Passover, Rosh Hashanah has its own seder tradition. This seder (or ritual meal) is centered around symbolic foods that represent important themes of the High Holiday and blessings for the year ahead. Together, these symbolic foods and their corresponding blessings are called simanim.

The Rosh Hashanah seder provides a platform to learn about a unique Jewish tradition. At the same time, everyone has the opportunity to claim it as their own by thinking of their own hopes for the upcoming year and voicing them through simanim blessings in an individualized, modern and sometimes humorous spin.

Sound like your kind of holiday celebration? Find out more details and submit an application before September 5.