What is the Repair the World Fellowship?

The Repair the World Fellowship is a unique 11-month opportunity for talented individuals ages 21 to 26 to recruit and engage  the Jewish community to address social justice issues through meaningful volunteering. The Fellowship takes place in Detroit, New York City, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. The 2017-18 Fellowship will take place from August 14, 2017 through July 12, 2018.

What will I do as a Repair the World Fellow?

Repair the World Fellows develop deep relationships with local organizations and serve as bridges, role models, and shapers of their peers’ engagement with their community. You will be mobilizing volunteers around two issues – food justice and education justice (read on to learn more about these issues) – and help contextualize their experiences within a Jewish lens. A Fellow’s core responsibilities are to:

– Volunteer with Repair’s partners, to enact and model what it means to be a committed volunteer.

– Recruit others to volunteer alongside them, expanding the capacity of localservice organizations to meet the needs of communities and individuals – organize thought provoking events, experiences and campaigns that relate to their issue area to encourage and inspire others to volunteer

– Participate in the life of the community, building individual relationships and attending community events

– Undergo deep training and learning – building skills in group facilitation, network building, partner management, event planning and Jewish approaches to service – Gather as a team to support each other, to learn, and work on projects that further the mission of Repair the World to create meaningful service opportunities for the Jewish community  

You and your fellow Fellows will be based out of The Workshop, a central community hub, where you will plan service projects, train volunteers, and host meetings and activities in collaboration with the community.

What kinds of issues do Repair the World Fellows address?

Repair the World focuses on addressing two issues: food justice and education justice. These issues need tremendous attention across the country, and we believe that young people are passionate about addressing these issues. Fellows work together as a city-based team, and each Fellow’s work will be focused on one of these two areas. In the application, Fellows will be able to share their preferred issue area or choose to work wherever they are most needed.

Underlying and intersecting both of these issue areas is racial justice, and how it impacts an individual’s and community’s access to resources and self-sufficiency. Throughout the year as a cohort and with volunteers, participants, and community partners, fellows will explore and address some of the core challenges of racial injustice in our communities and society. As an organization, we see service as building solidarity among neighbors, across religious, racial, and socioeconomic lines and identities, and among Jews and non-Jews. We serve in partnership, by listening to and taking the lead from others so that we honor a multitude of needs and lived experiences. Service, done right, can support forward momentum in striving for racial justice. We also believe that structured yet organic dialogue about critical social issues is a key catalyst that leads us to action in solidarity with our neighbors.

A Fellow addressing food justice in Philadelphia might partner with Philly Farm Crew, a joint program between Repair the World: Philadelphia and Jewish Farm School that increases access to sustainably grown food.  Volunteer opportunities are offered at a variety of urban farms and gardens around Philadelphia, in addition to organized community-building events such as potlucks for farmers, volunteers, and those interested in getting involved.

A Fellow addressing education in Pittsburgh might partner with Higher Achievement, which closes the opportunity gap during the pivotal middle school years. Volunteers are needed to serve as mentors to Higher Achievement scholars throughout the school year. Mentors work with a group of three-to-four scholars (5th, 6th, 7th or 8th grade students) at least once and week and facilitate curriculum in math, literature, or STEM/social studies topics.

Fellows in all cities will also organize public programs that integrate contextual learning, volunteering, and reflection. In the past, Fellows have organized a documentary screening followed by a discussion with a representative from one of Repair the World’s service partners. Other public programs have included a happy hour centered around a social justice conversation, a Passover solidarity seder, and a four-part vacant lot clean-up program for a local synagogue’s 20s and 30s group.

What will my typical day look like as a Fellow?

For a Repair the World Fellow, no two days will look the same. Each day will be a little different, but it always starts with a team meeting in the Workshop. Throughout the week, you can expect to engage in the following activities:

– Volunteering by issue area: food justice or education justice

– Immersing yourself in the community: attending local events, town hall meetings, taking local tours, and meeting with local leaders

– Recruiting volunteers

– Working with your team to organize issue education, learning and social programming for volunteers.

– Learning from local experts

– Developing your own leadership skills

Want to get a sneak peak into a day in the life a fellow? Read a blog post from a NYC Fellow as they go through their day.

Check out the Repair the World Fellows in action on Facebook:

Detroit

New York City

Philadelphia

Pittsburgh

How will I be trained?

The Fellowship kicks off with deep, diverse training – first as a full cohort of Fellows and then in your local community. Fellows are trained throughout the year to be facilitators and community engagers.  We believe in “productive discomfort” – the idea that people grow and change best when they are neither too comfortable (complacent) or too uncomfortable (paralyzed).

Training occurs through immersive trainings and ongoing weekly experiential learning. Weekly learning follows a four-part cycle and include the following:

– Beit Midrash (“House of Study”): Fellows engage in group discussion and paired learning (“chevruta”) around texts (Jewish and beyond) related to chapters from Rabbi Jill Jacobs’s Where Justice Dwells.

– Issue Education: Local faculty, experts in education justice and food justice, train fellows to be deeply conversant in their issue areas.

– Local Facilitation Expert: Skill-based trainings aimed at exposing fellows to different modes of facilitation and giving fellows new tools to succeed in their work. Examples of skills include public speaking, storytelling, team building, leadership development, and anti-oppression training.

– Fellow-Led Education: Fellows facilitate a service-learning experience for the group on a social justice topic of their choosing.

Do I have to be Jewish to be a Repair the World Fellow?

Repair the World is a Jewish organization that works to address the needs of all members of the community. We think that Jews are responsible for healing, repairing, and transforming the world for the better, and we do this through service to others. You don’t need to be Jewish to be a Repair the World Fellow. You do need to be excited about mobilizing the Jewish community to serve. You should also be ready to explore how Jewish values, history, and customs inform our responsibility for creating a better and more just world. We’re excited to work with you!

Where will I be living and serving?

Fellows will live and serve in Detroit, New York City, Philadelphia, or Pittsburgh. Placement and issue areas (food justice or education justice) will depend on your preference, as well as availability and skills needed in each city. You can identify your preferences in the application, and we’ll make every effort to give you your first choice. We welcome and encourage applicants to be open to serving where they are most needed. If you are offered a spot in the Fellowship, you’ll find out your city placement and issue area assignment when you receive your letter of acceptance.

Is housing provided?

Yes. Fellows live together in a Repair the World home that is furnished with all the basic necessities, including wifi. There will be communal space for house activities. You can expect to share a bedroom with another Fellow, and bathrooms will be shared as well.

What else should I know about living with my fellow Fellows? ?

In addition to working together, Repair the World Fellows live together.  During the year, fellows will decide as a group how they want to frame and structure their shared living space, and may work together to create an environment that both personally and professionally supports their growth and development, while utilizing skills in open communication.

Will I be living near centers for Jewish worship, such as synagogues, minyans, or Hillels?

The Repair homes in New York City and Philadelphia are within walking distance of Jewish centers. In Pittsburgh and Detroit, centers are easily accessible by other modes of transportation.

Will I be able to keep kosher?

As a pluralistic organization, Repair the World understands that keeping kosher can have many different meanings and take many different shapes. Repair seeks to create an inclusive environment by providing sufficient options to meet dietary restrictions, including options that are certified kosher, vegan, carnivorous, and everything in between. It will be up to you and your housemates to determine how to recognize and respect everyone’s personal requirements around food and kashrut.

How is this Fellowship different from other fellowships?

Repair the World Fellows serve as committed volunteers with our partners. In contrast to a placement model, Repair the World Fellows work with a variety of partner organizations and individuals, and spend the majority of their time organizing and recruiting volunteers within the community they live and serve, expanding the capacity of their service partners well beyond their own individual impact.

What skills and experiences will I gain as a Repair the World Fellow?

The fellowship will give you the opportunity to hone your skills to:

-Communicate ideas to large groups and in cross-cultural settings

-Engage in partnership development and management with community organizations to achieve social change

-Facilitate conversations on social justice, food justice, and education justice

-Mobilize peers to engage with the local community

– Network effectively, and expand your own personal and professional circles.

Repair the World Fellows have gone on to work for campus Hillels, social justice organizations, Jewish communal organizations, and community centers.\ Some continue to work for Repair national and local partners after their service while others have gone on to graduate, medical, and law school.

What kind of stipend will I receive?

You’ll receive a living stipend of $600 per month. You can choose to participate in a basic health insurance plan at no cost to you. You’ll also receive an additional stipend of $1,000 when you complete the program.

Fellows are responsible for arranging and covering the cost of their own transportation and baggage fees from their city of origin to Orientation at the beginning of the Fellowship, and from the placement city to the Fellow’s city of origin or next city where they will reside. However, financial assistance to subsidize the cost of travel is available to those in need, and can be confidentially requested before making travel arrangements. Repair the World will ensure that the cost of travel to and from the program will not be a barrier to participating in the program.

What about my student loans?

All Fellows may be eligible for loan deferment during the Fellowship term. You must request deferment directly from your loan servicer, and ultimately it is the decision of the loan servicer. We can provide any documentation you may need to request or secure deferment. According to the U.S. Dept of Education, interest will always continue to accrue on loans that are deferred.  

Who should apply?

We’re looking for people who can get things done, as self-starters and close collaborators. Fellows should demonstrate leadership, professionalism, resilience, maturity, curiosity, and a comfort in a rigorous environment. Applicants should be excited to  facilitate service experiences among close-knit groups and with volunteers and partners from diverse backgrounds. They should lead by example to spark volunteers’ passion, compassion, and long-term commitment to serving their community.

Am I eligible?

The Fellowship is open to U.S. Citizens (or Permanent Residents) who will be between the ages of 21 and 26 when the Fellowship begins in August 2017. You should have a college degree or other relevant experience, including but not limited to other service programs or work in a related field.

Is the program a good fit for me?

If you’re passionate about service and eager to engage local communities to address food justice and/or education justice, you should apply! The application and interview process will provide opportunities for you to highlight your passions, creativity, and pioneering spirit – as well as your organizational, interpersonal, and communication skills. We’re excited to hear from you!