So…What’s RTW NYC?

Hungry to Repair the World in New York City? You’re in luck! Unless you’ve been hiding under a newly fallen pile of snow, you probably know that we’ve been hard at work developing a fellowship site to launch in Central Brooklyn.

I’m Leah Silver, a second year Repair the World fellow. I served my first year with RTW in West Philly facilitating an after school science program at a local Boys and Girls Club. I’m all about social justice and appreciate breaking bread over courageous conversations involving how to better the world we live in. This year, I came to NYC to help develop our newest fellowship program that will host eight fellows in Crown Heights on an eleven month journey in direct service and volunteer recruitment around areas of food and education justice.

I’d also like to introduce you to the rest of our amazing NYC site development team. Meet Alli Lesovoy. Alli is a Northern California native who served as a fellow in Baltimore last year helping kids who were at risk for being chronically absent. She has a serious passion for knitting, avocados and all things social justice. Last but most certainly not least, I’d like to introduce Cindy Greenberg, our powerhouse of a City Director. Cindy is a proud Brooklynite going on 12 years strong with her family of 5 in the borough she loves. Cindy has spent her career helping those in need and is the perfect addition to our RTW family!

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So what’s this blog all about? We wanted to give you a first hand look into how building a program like the Repair the World fellowship works in a unique and diverse city like NYC. We’ll explore important issues that are prevalent in our community and brainstorm ways to build community around addressing the systemic inequality that permeates many aspects of our everyday lives. Thus far, we’ve experienced some amazing people, places, and things that we want to share with all of you. We also want to share this experience with the hope that you’ll join us in creating a sustainable and meaningful program for our community. We need your help!

Curious to learn more? You can join us this month for an exciting educational opportunity at our upcoming Cocktails with a Conscience: What’s Your Brooklyn at Berg’n (899 Bergen Street) on February 26 to meet other like-minded New Yorkers. We’ll be exploring how the meaning of community evolves as demographics rapidly shift throughout our Brooklyn community. Pretty cool, right? Come join us and see what we’re all about.

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Stay up to date with us on this blog as we continue to explore important issues and awesome work that’s happening right in our backyard. You can also join ournewsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for immediate updates.

If you have any questions or ideas of what we should be blogging about, we want to hear from you! Feel free to reach out to me at [email protected].

This post first appeared on the Repair the World NYC Tumblr. Sign up to follow the RTW NYC Tumblr here so you never miss a post!

This Week in Links 2.6.15

More Women Ride Mass Transit Than Men. Shouldn’t Transit Agencies Be Catering to Them?
Fascinating stat: “according to a recent survey by SEPTA, the city’s transportation agency, a remarkable 64 percent of the people riding Philly’s subways and buses are women.”

The Difference Choosing Ugly Vegetables Can Make

Can the U.S. Ever Fix Its Messed-Up Maternity Leave System?

It Takes a Village: The Rise of Community-Driven Infrastructure

What Research Says About The Consequences of P.C. Culture

Low Wage Nation

Does public radio sound too ‘white’? NPR itself tries to find the answer.

Does Gentrification Cause a Reduction in Laundromats?

If Corporations Are People, They Should Act Like It

Piling on Work to Escape Gap in Health Care Law

The Typical Millennial Is $2,000 Poorer Than His Parents at This Age

Saved by the bell hooks

The Best Way to Growing Fundraising May Be Boosting Volunteerism

‘The Tyranny of the Meritocracy’

The Fire on the 57 Bus in Oakland

The 21-Mile Walk to Work

It’s Easy to See Why This Man’s Grueling Commute Went Viral

Americans Think Upward Mobility Is Far More Common Than It Really Is

A Little Bit Softer Now: How To Dance To ‘Shout’ Without Ending Up On The Floor

Unemployment Has Changed. Unemployment Benefits Haven’t.

Is Ending Segregation the Key to Ending Poverty?

On The Origins of Gender Human Capital Gaps: Short and Long Term Consequences of Teachers’ Stereotypical Biases

The new ‘cool’ cities for Millennials

The Bus Terminal Is Dead. Long Live the Bus Terminal

Brace Yourselves: Traffic Circles Are Making a Comeback

More Schools Serve Dinner as Demand Expands

A Soundtrack of Income Inequality Along the New York City Subway

Black History Month at Repair the World

February is Black History Month – a month dedicated to honoring the many achievements and contributions African American people have made in this country.

It is always a meaningful month. But this year, with issues of injustice and civil rights , and the positive uprising of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, it feels even more poignant.

All February long, Repair the World will commemorate Black History Month. We will be celebrating the great work of organizations around the country working as the leaders of the justice movement – check back to the blog this month for posts and interviews. To get things started, check out this great video outlining the origins of Black History Month:

How Did You Turn the Tables on MLK Day?

Pardon us while we kvell for a minute here, but MLK Day weekend was completely awesome. All over the country, people spent the day showing up and pitching in – volunteering in their communities to celebrate the legacy and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Repair the World was no exception. Our Turn the Tables campaign inspired more than 120 hosts and 1,000 guests to sit down for a Shabbat dinner to discuss racial injustices and civil rights. Meanwhile, it gave 700 volunteers an opportunity to plug into meaningful service projects across our five partner communities (Detroit, New York City, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh) and beyond.

Added up, that’s a lot of great minds and even more capable hands, coming together to stand up for justice and strong communities. As participant Rebecca Haskell in Oakland, California commented, “Turn the Tables provided time and space for people to broach a subject that we otherwise wouldn’t and talk about our thoughts, questions, and concerns.” We can’t think of a better way to honor Dr. King’s life and work.

If you joined in one of Repair the World’s Turn the Tables events (or if you did something else amazing to celebrate MLK Day), we want to hear from you! Leave us a comment below, or tweet us @repairtheworld.

This Week in Links 2.2.15

A weekly roundup of stories from across the web about issues related to Repair the World Philadelphia, Racial Injustice, Food Justice, Education Inequality, and the #TurnTheTables Campaign.

Whitesplaining ‘Selma': A Hall of Shame

Seth Goren is Director of Repair the World Philadelphia

A Weekend in the D with J Teen

J-Teen, a dynamic group of Jewish high school students, visited us last weekend all the way from New York and we made sure that they had a jam packed, event filled, serviced up time while here.

They arrived on Friday morning and went straight from the airport to Bagley Elementary where they got to meet Principal Cheryl Price before heading into classrooms. After hearing from Principal Price, they started off in two different 4th grade classes and spent their time discussing quotes from historical African-American leaders. After getting to know each other and sharing what the quotes meant to them, each small group performed their quote for the rest of the class. It was a very meaningful activity done in a fun way; the performances were definitely creative. After finishing with the 4th graders and then the 3rd graders, the group was jazzed and hungry. The next stop, Wayne State’s famous Gold ‘n’ Greens, the only vegetarian, certified kosher cafeteria in Detroit.

After vegging out, we walked over to the Detroit Institute of Art and headed straight for the Diego Rivera Court. Fortunately, chairs were set up and we got to hear from Dosen Susannah Goodman, who told us all about Rivera Court and the history of the automobile industry as it relates to Detroit; lots of ooohs and aahhhs were heard throughout the museum. Once Susannah told us all about the murals, the J-Teens participated in a DIA scavenger hunt before heading back to the hotel and preparing for the Repair the World Turn the Tables Shabbat. Upon arriving at the Repair the World workshop, the J-Teens spent their Shabbat dinner joining in on a dialogue about systemic racial injustice and ways to show solidarity in our communities. Needless to say, they had a long, dynamic, perhaps tiring, day.

The J-Teens began their Shabbat with a Civil Rights service led by their very own Micah Weiss at the hotel. Afterwards, they put on their walking shoes to head over to the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue and hear from Director Anna Kohn. Anna proceeded to share with them a history of Detroit that spoke to some misconceptions and generalizations that the teens heard before their trip. She told the story of Jewish Detroit and how that related to her family and to the Downtown Synagogue, the last functioning synagogue located in Detroit proper; overall it was very powerful and definitely contributed to a thoughtful day of rest. After learning more about Detroit’s history, the teens ventured to the Auto Show where they were encouraged to talk to other attendees about their relationship to Detroit and how they felt about the event. After experiencing the Auto Show, they came back to the hotel and had Havdallah with Rabbi Alana Alpert.

Before lighting the candles, Rabbi Alana spoke to the group about different ways to be involved with social change and the importance of each practice. As we reflected on our roles in social movements, we welcomed a new week together. After a brief stint on the People Mover, we headed over to Clark Park in SouthWest Detroit to end the day with some real cool outdoor ice-skating.

After sleeping off their ice-skating excitement, they woke up the next day for an interfaith service at Breakers Covenant Church, which used to be Temple Beth El. Pastor Aramis graciously invited us to join their service as a way to show that the Jewish community is welcome in his Church and to show the importance of remembering the history of the building. After sharing prayers with the congregants, the J-Teens literally left their print on the Church…they worked alongside the young congregants and painted two murals in what will be the teen rooms. They spent the rest of the time schlepping some desks to the basement in order to help clean out the dining hall.

From here, the J-Teens found themselves in Lafayette Park to hear from two wonderful speakers, Harriet and Marsha. Both shared their stories and reflected on what it has meant during the latter half of the 20th century and onward to be an African-American woman and a white Jewish woman living in Detroit. They spoke to the teens about their own experiences as well as how the students can reflect on that in terms of their family histories and themselves personally. After some meaningful conversation  and a brief stop at the Plum Street Garden (a cool urban garden located downtown), we all headed to the workshop to do…drumroll please…more service!

Once in the workshop, our fellow-fellow Benny, taught the teens about Keep Growing Detroit before facilitating them in seed sorting; a fun game of matching on seed package with another. From here, the J-Teens found the most ridiculous sounding seed names and headed back to the hotel.

The final day arrives! We all headed to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, where people were coming together in celebration of MLK Day. Here, the J-Teens sat in on panel discussions held by Detroiters and were able to engage in important dialogue about Civil Rights and social justice.

After a looonnnnggg weekend full of service and learning, we had to say goodbye to our J-Teen friends who headed straight to the airport from the museum. After a weekend full of history, awesome speakers and running around Detroit, I’m sure the J-Teens are extremely tired; we wish them a safe trip home and a good nights sleep.

Leah Mack is a Repair the World Fellow in Detroit.

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Kickstart Education Projects: In Brooklyn and Beyond

Since it’s very first post, the blog Humans of New York – which offers snapshots of the weird, wonderful, and sometimes compellingly mundane people who live in New York City – has always been brilliant. But a couple of weeks ago, things took a turn for the even more brilliant. A photograph of a student who attends an underserved public school in Brooklyn talking about his school principal who inspired him, set in motion one of the most successful Indiegogo campaigns in history. People have already donated nearly $700,000 to support kids at the student’s school in Brooklyn – and every time you refresh the page, the amount seems to have gone up by tens of thousands of dollars!

There is still time to make a donation to the campaign. Meanwhile, there lots of other amazing education-focused projects that need your help. Make a difference in a student’s life by supporting one of the following amazing projects below:

English Classes for Nicaraguan Children. Language and literacy are the most powerful tools for advancing learning on all fronts. Support this campaign’s efforts to support English instruction for young students in Nicaragua.

Build a Library Help educators at an underserved school in Denver, Colorado build a warm, welcoming library for students.

Bring the Zoo to the Students A teacher from Staten Island, New York works with wheelchair bound students who are not mobile enough to go on class trips. So she is working to bring a class trip – this time, a trip to the zoo – to them! Help make it happen.

Find more education-based projects to support at the DonorsChoose.org and Indiegogo (search “education”).

On Martin Luther King Day, Jews Must Acknowledge Their Privilege

This Op-Ed by Maital Friedman first appeared in JTA on January 14th.

NEW YORK (JTA) — The events of the last few weeks have shaken me to the core. Beyond the devastation I felt over the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, I was heartbroken to learn that the police officers involved would not stand trial. “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” and “I can’t breathe” have become harrowing reverberations of a broken justice system.
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Look Beyond the Nostalgia to Confront Current Race Issues

This Op-Ed by Rabbi Seth Goren first appeared in The Jewish Exponent on January 13th.

Of the many memorializations of the civil rights movement, among the most familiar to Jews is a photograph of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marching in 1965 in Selma, Ala. In addition to its own innate power, it is referenced as evidence of our community’s support for black rights and the strength of African-American/Jewish relationships.
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