by Daniel Sieradski | October 19, 2010 | 0 comments
The Global Day of Jewish Learning is November 7.
November 7 is the Global Day of Jewish Learning, when tens of thousands of Jews from Anchorage to Zurich will gather locally to study Jewish texts on themes of spirituality, love, leadership, social justice and environmental responsibility. Repair the World and Pursue invite you to join the global discussion by welcoming your friends and family to reflect on the Jewish values that inspire you towards social action.
Host a house party and we’ll send you a kit with everything you’ll need to get a thoughtful conversation going. The kits will include Jewish texts (in English) exploring themes of social justice and the environment, some questions to help get you thinking, and spiffy Repair the World gear for your and you guests.
Sign up now!
by Dvora Meyers | October 15, 2010 | 0 comments
Rebecca Fishman-Lipsey, executive director of TFA Miami-Dade, with her 8 day old son, Andrew. (Photo courtesy of Rebecca Fishman-Lipsey.)
Rebecca Fishman-Lipsey is the executive director of Teach for America, the national program that places top college grads in high need public schools, for the Miami-Dade region. She recently gave birth to her first child, a son named Andrew Nathaniel Lipsey. At his bris, addressing her son, the new mother gave a speech that was a beautiful expression of love as well as a call to service to Andrew and the rest of the community.
It is excerpted after the jump.
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by Jay Michaelson | October 15, 2010 | 3 comments
Here’s what we’ve learned about gay teen suicides: it takes a village to make them happen, and also to make them stop. Yes, those kids who recently took their lives, in cities across the country, were particularly targeted by particular bullies. But both the bullies and their victims were caught up in systemic webs of hatred, ideology, and culture. Our rabbis, politicians, and community leaders are all responsible, as are all of us, for spreading the fundamental message that gay is not okay — a message that is lethal, and insidious.
The good news is that, since we’re all responsible, if you’re outraged and want to do something, there are a lot of things you can do.
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by AJWS | October 15, 2010 | 1 comment
Smashing his father's idols is the defining act that sets Avraham forth on his mission to reform society.
This post is part of a weekly series of Torah commentaries presented by the American Jewish World Service. It was contributed by Rachel Travis.
The young man stood among the debris. Shattered torsos, crumbled appendages, clay and stone that moments before had posed as gods littered the ground. He quickly planted a stick into the still hand of a large idol—the only one left standing—as his father’s footsteps echoed on the threshold. Avraham’s father, Terach, returning to his shop, surveyed his decimated wares and cried out, “Who did this to them?” His son answered, “A woman brought a grain offering for the idols, and they argued about who would eat first. Then the largest got up, took the stick and shattered them all!” According to the midrash, Terach bellowed, “What nonsense are you telling me—are they then conscious?” Avraham rhetorically replied, “Do your ears not hear what your lips are saying?”
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by Rabbi Will Berkovitz | October 14, 2010 | 0 comments
Repairing the world is not a spectator sport. There's no sitting on the sidelines! Photo by Ben Christensen (CC)
When Sarah was a freshman I told her I thought she was bored; that the towers of the university were too narrow for her. That was before she traveled to New Orleans to do Katrina relief; before the following spring when she organized her peers to work on the California/Mexico border; before she decided to join Teach For America, and before she organized a service trip – was it to Central America? – with her inner-city high school students. She is certainly not bored anymore. She tells me there is too much work to do.
According to Jewish tradition, “It is not for you to complete the task, but neither are you free to desist from it.” Our mystics believe every soul born into this world represents something new and unique. We each have distinct gifts that we are called to direct toward repairing our world. It is our job as Jews to discern where the intersection between the world’s great needs and our individual talent’s rest, and to dedicate and rededicate our lives to that work — be it the work of easing suffering, improving literacy or welcoming the stranger. Indeed, the mystics go on to say, it is precisely because this is not done that the world is yet to be redeemed. As if to drive the point home, a first century sage, Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai said, “If you happen to be planting a tree and someone says the Messiah has arrived, you should finish planting the tree and then go out to greet the Messiah.”
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by Robert Beiser | October 14, 2010 | 0 comments
An incredible business card for an incredible job!
When I hand folks my new business card and they read “Repair the World” on the back, I usually either hear a joke about how important I must be, or a compliment to the effect of “wow…that sounds like a pretty incredible job!” The compliments are nice, but the jokes are an opportunity I find exciting to share with others about how important they are, the impact we can all have, and the reason it is so important to Judaism that we do so. The following is an article I wrote last May for the JT News, Washington state’s primary Jewish publication, about my work with students and young adults and why it is so intrinsically Jewish.
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by Dvora Meyers | October 14, 2010 | 0 comments
Shirley Sagawa, author of The American Way to Change
Shirley Sagawa’s foray into national service happened by accident. Hired straight out of law school to work in Senator Ted Kennedy’s office, she was assigned to a national service bill. Her supervisor had hoped to kill it by passing it on to the most junior employee but Sagawa pursued it vigorously and helped get it passed.
Since that time, Sagawa has gone onto author several books about the role of national service and volunteerism as well as work in both the first Bush and Clinton administrations. She was instrumental in drafting legislation that led the creation of AmeriCorps. On October 6th, Sagawa spoke about her latest book The American Way to Change: How National Service and Volunteers Are Transforming America in a room full of City Year fellows—a veritable sea of red and khaki.
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by Tiffany Aryeh & Niko Toubia | October 11, 2010 | 1 comment
Tiffany Aryeh and Niko Toubia in Morocco. Tiffany is in the middle. Niko is on the right.
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is a humanitarian organization that provides long-term development assistance and emergency disaster relief worldwide. For over 95 years, JDC has worked in Jewish communities in over 70 countries, and supports projects in non-Jewish communities around the globe. This past February we traveled to Morocco with JDC and 15 young professionals from around North America.
On this trip we witnessed the work of JDC, the amazing cultural fabric of Morocco and its remnant Jewish community thriving in a unique Muslim country. Although it was our first overseas experience with JDC, we saw the effectiveness and success of the organization in international communities.
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by Heather G. Stoltz | October 7, 2010 | 0 comments
Photo courtesy of Heather Stoltz.
From the time I started gymnastics at the age of two, my life revolved around the sport. As a junior in high school, I worked out with my team five days a week and spent the rest of my time thinking about working out. As a member of the team, I competed against others, but never liked competition. My true passion was in the everyday practices and sense of accomplishment in learning new elements. I didn’t feel the need to prove myself by comparing my skills to others.
In 1995, the Special Olympics World Games were held near my hometown and our coach was involved in organizing the gymnastics venue. He asked the team to come out and volunteer for one day and I agreed to go with a few friends. Having been raised in a home where volunteering is an integral part of life, I assumed this would be one more day giving back to the community. I had no idea that what I found at the New Haven Coliseum would change my life.
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by Dvora Meyers | October 5, 2010 | 0 comments
This animation explains how Oren Jacobs tapped the intersection of social media and social good to get his wife's independent film distributed.
If you are fortunate enough to catch a screening of Ready, Set, Bag! in a movie theater, you will be doing more than just supporting a delightful independent film about state champions as they prepare for the National Grocers Best Bagger Competition. You will also be feeding the hungry. A dollar from each ticket sale is donated to a local food bank. This is the film distribution strategy of Oren Jacob, the film’s executive producer and his wife, co-director and producer, Justine Jacob.
The initial idea was not their own. It originated at film festivals in Austin, TX and Prescott, AZ where local organizers suggested that the pair do a fundraiser with the local food bank. “And it was just a really fun event,” Oren recalls of those first two screenings. “The audience was super stoked. They saw a fun, entertaining film and at the same time helped support the food banks and fed folks in their communities. When we decided to take the film out ourselves, we thought we should just do the same.” During the course of a single 100 person screening, they generate enough in donations to purchase 400-500 meals.
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