by Emma Epstein | August 23, 2010 | 0 comments
Hello, my name is Emma Epstein and I have just biked more than 400 miles from Washington DC to Cleveland to be with you tonight and celebrate Shabbat under the beautiful night sky, soon to be filled with stars. I didn’t realize this, but apparently, it is common for congregations in the warmer summer months to have Friday evening services outside. After thinking about it for a moment, I realized that having Shabbat services outside gives us the chance to welcome the stranger, allowing others to join in prayer and song. I love the idea of open doors when celebrating something like the coming of the Sabbath Bride.
I am honored to be here tonight, giving you the d’var torah and to tell you about my year of service with AVODAH, the Jewish Service Corps.
Read More »
by Leah Koenig | August 23, 2010 | 0 comments
To help jump start your Monday morning, here are some interesting reads and opportunities for service from across the blogosphere. Have a look and have a great start to the week!
CHECK IT OUT
- (Do Something) Between now and September 18, drop off school supplies to a nearby Staples store and DoSomething.org will help get them donated to a student in need.
- (Hazon) Good with your hands? Hazon’s Jewish Environmental Bike Ride – a fundraising ride that supports environmental causes – is looking for a few volunteer massage therapists to work with riders after a long day of cycling.
by Leah Koenig | August 20, 2010 | 0 comments
This post is part of a weekly series of Torah commentaries presented by the American Jewish World Service. It was contributed by Aviva Presser Aiden.
In Parshat Ki Tetze, the Torah describes the mitzvah of yibum, the levirate marriage, which is invoked when a man dies without children. Yibum requires that the man’s eldest brother marry the widow and father children that will bear the name of the deceased, in order that the lineage not be lost from Israel. Acknowledging that this role can be difficult or at times impossible to perform, the Torah provides an alternative: In the event a man could not, or would not, accept the responsibility of yibum, chalitzah is done, a ritual in which the brother must publicly declare that he will not accept this responsibility. The widow is then free to marry outside her deceased husband’s family.
In the modern day, yibum is practically nonexistent. How then, can we approach this mitzvah without relegating it to the pile of the obscure and irrelevant? It begs a reimagining, enabling contemporary Jews to relate it to our own experience of death, descendants and legacy.
Read More »
by Amy Schwartz | August 19, 2010 | 0 comments
Amy Schwartz, PR/Communications fellow at the HIAS Refugee Trust of Kenya (HRTK), is blogging from Kenya this summer for HIAServe and Repair the World. This is her second update, you can read her first post here. Amy will be a fellow at HRTK until the end of August, and will continue to update us from the field.
To begin, check out the mini-documentary about the dreams and struggles of a Jewish youth group in Uganda, the Abayudaya Youth Association.
Read More »
by admin | August 18, 2010 | 1 comment
Recognizes High-Quality Jewish Service-Learning Programs
Download the viewbook of Repair the World’s 2010 immersive Jewish service-learning grantees
Repair the World, a national organization working to inspire American Jews to give their time and effort to serve those in need, has announced $2.6 million in new grants to fund service-learning programs in the United States and around the world.
“Service learning has the power to deliver substantial on-the-ground impact, while strengthening the life-long civic engagement and Jewish identities of those who serve,” said Jon Rosenberg, CEO of Repair the World. “By investing in our grantees, we enable thousands of young adults to become Jewish global citizens.”
Read More »
by Leah Koenig | August 17, 2010 | 1 comment
Photo courtesy of AJSS
The American Jewish Society for Service (AJSS) is an organization that links social conscience to Jewish consciousness, engaging teenagers in acts of tikkun olam (repairing the world) one house, one park, one community center at a time. Their summer program inspires teens to put their Jewish values into action by providing service to communities in need across the United States.
Established in 1951 (they celebrated their 60th summer of service this year!), AJSS was a pioneer of Jewish teen service long before it was en vogue. This summer, 48 Jewish high schoolers traveled into the heartland of America to volunteer with the AJSS in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity and many local food banks, shelters and other community service organizations. The teens worked for and alongside community members in Kansas City, Kansas, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Avery County, North Carolina.
Read More »
by Leah Koenig | August 16, 2010 | 1 comment
A military family is reunited. Photo by DVIDSHUB via CC.
Home Front Hearts, an organization that launched in 2008 and is supported by Repair the World and the Bronfman Youth Fellowship in Israel’s Alumni Venture Fund, provides resources for military families and helps to educate the larger community about the issues they face.
Below, founder Randi Cairns, an alumna of BYFI and a military spouse and mom, shares more about the organization’s work, how volunteers can get involved, and the importance of serving those who serve our country.
What was your inspiration for starting Home Front Hearts?
Read More »
Well, I have over 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector and a big chunk of that has been advocacy-based work. If there is a population to be served, I’ve probably done it – so I’ve become pretty adept at case management work and finding resources. As a military family, however, we were struggling to find the resources we needed and I realized that if I’m savvy in this world and struggling, than the average military family was likely having a hard time getting their needs met.
by AJWS | August 13, 2010 | 0 comments
This post is part of a weekly series of Torah commentaries presented by the American Jewish World Service. It was contributed by Guy Izhak Austrian.
At the end of each day, a dead body remains. Beneath all the layers of busy activity and earnest striving—a dead body. We lie down again, and when we arise, there it is still. In our clothing, in the walls of our buildings, in our food—a dead body.
No matter how we might try to ignore it or explain it, people die as a result of global inequality, which is perpetuated for the sake of our easy access to the cheap resources and labor that support our affluent ways of life.
We do the best we can. We teach tzedakah and preach that a righteous person must always strive to recognize God in the Other. We buy informative books and click on e-action alerts. Many of us even participate in, fund and found organizations that do inspiring work to alleviate the world’s injustice. Yet at the end of each day—a dead body remains.
Read More »
by Leah Koenig | August 12, 2010 | 0 comments
Photo courtesy of BYFI and Repair the World grantee Uri L'Tzedek
Last March, we announced that Repair the World was teaming up with the Bronfman Youth Fellowship in Israel by issuing matching grants to their Alumni Venture Fund.
5 months later (and many degrees warmer), we are excited to announce the twelve organizations selected to receive grants. Repair the World’s matching grant added a total of $7,500 in additional funds to five of the selected grantees. Each of these creative, innovative projects was pioneered by a BYFI alumni. The projects selected to receive extra matching grant support meet Repair the World’s criteria of encouraging Jews to take social action and contribute to the world through volunteering.
Without further ado, here are descriptions of the twelve recently-funded projects. Those with an asterisk* indicate a project matched by Repair the World:
* College Students for Enrichment in Secondary Schools will bring Harvard undergraduates interested in teaching careers to New York during their extended January term break to run an after-school educational enrichment programs for mixed groups of middle school students (some fee paying and some on scholarship). Funds from the Alumni Venture Fund will provide scholarships for high-needs middle school students. (Elisabeth Cohen ‘01)
Datilonim, the first project led by Amitei Bronfman alumni to receive an AVF grant, serves to give secular and religious youth in the Tel Aviv area the opportunity to meet one another in a social context, letting religious and secular teenagers in Tel Aviv move beyond stereotypes and pre-conceptions and become friends. (Nadav Wachs ‘09)
Growing Up Milwaukee: Camping, a comprehensive initiative including a photographic exhibit and educational and cultural programming that demonstrates the impact of the camp experience on Jewish identity and pride. (Ellie Gettinger ‘98)
*Home Front Hearts: Building Responsive Communities, founder and BYFI alumna Randi Cairns will establish a strategy and calendar of events to reach the NJ Jewish community at mitzvah fairs and through speaking engagements and volunteer programs, raising awareness and inspiring the Jewish community to reach out to military families. (Randi Cairns ‘87)
Jewish Education Workshop (J.E.W) pairs students who wish to learn to lead religious services with peer tutors at Barnard and Columbia. (Mitzi Steiner ‘06)
The Kavod Moishe House in Boston is expanding their successful Jewish Sex Ed for Adults program to Jewish organizations and synagogues in the Boston area. (Margie Klein ‘96 & Michelle Sternthal ‘95)
The Keshet Transgender Education and Organizing Initiative mobilizes the Jewish community to take action and become a visible force for transgender civil rights in the broader world. (Idit Klein ‘89)
*Kevah is a pluralistic Jewish learning initiative in the Bay Area. The funds will help launch a social action component for their learning groups. (Sara Heitler Bamberger, Yozma ‘97)
Ma(core): Source of Knowledge is a student-led program at UCLA that uses traditional torah study methods to explore secular topics like the environment and politics. (Ben Steiner ‘06)
The University of Maryland: Committee for Religious Life will use the support to help expand pluralistic Jewish programming on campus. (Eitan Lefkowitz ‘07)
*The Urban Defense Project’s, a Cleveland-based urban-greening project, brings 15 college interns together for the summer to develop skills and knowledge in the fields of home weatherization, urban agriculture, and urban policy development. The interns learn important skills while creating immediate economic benefits for Cleveland residents. (Eliana Golding ’07)
*Uri L’Tzedek will bring their ethical seal (Tav Hayosher) to the UPENN campus just as they successfully did at Princeton with support from the AVF last year. BYFI alumni and other Jewish students on campus will work with the Kosher dining hall to make sure that dining services abides by the highest standards of ethical treatment of workers and to monitor this on an ongoing basis. (Ariel Fisher ‘05)
by Leah Koenig | August 12, 2010 | 0 comments
An Adamah fellow with the bio-diesel truck. Photo courtesy of Adamah.
New Yorkers: Today from 2-6pm in the lobby of the JCC in Manhattan, Adamah (the Jewish farming fellowship) is hosting a farm products sale.
Anyone who has ever been lucky enough to taste Adamah’s homemade pickles, dilly beans, saurkraut, jams, yogurt, feta, and labneh has probably also wondered, “where can I get my hands on MORE?”
Today, you stock your larder with as many of these locally-made goodies as you want, meet the farmers who grow and make them, and support an amazing service program at the same time.
So what will you be supporting exactly (besides satisfied taste buds)? The Adamah program, housed at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Connecticut, is a 3-month fellowship that connects participants to their roots, both Jewishly and in relation to land and community. All of Adamah’s products are made with vegetables they grow themselves using sustainable agriculture practices, and are made in a commercial kitchen that is certified kosher by the Hartford Kashrut Commission. The farm-fresh products will also make their way from Connecticut to NYC in the Adamah truck, which is run on alternative fuels. So go, taste and support Adamah today.