J-Serve 2019: Teen Leadership Perspective from Emma Herman

Each year, J-Serve: The International Day of Jewish Youth Service mobilizes more than ten thousand Jewish teens worldwide around meaningful service programs. Repair the World is a proud partner of J-Serve (along with BBYOGood Deeds Day, and Youth Service America, among others) and supports global planning efforts through a series of web-based trainings and other educational resources for Jewish youth professionals and teen leaders across the country and around the world.

J-Serve 2019 marks the 15th anniversary of this powerful global initiative and is poised to be the biggest and best year yet, engaging more than 15,000 teens in meaningful service, advocacy, philanthropy and other social impact experiences throughout the spring. This year’s official J-Serve date is Sunday, April 7 (though some communities pick an alternative project date a few weeks before or after to maximize participation).

We checked in with Emma Herman from Washington D.C., currently serving as BBYO’s Female Teen Vice President of Jewish Enrichment, to find out how she’s planning to take part in #JSERVE2019. Check out what she had to say!

How did you get involved with J-Serve? What’s your background with service/volunteering, and how did that experience draw you to J-Serve?

What sort of project(s) will your J-Serve community be working on?

As a native Washingtonian, I feel fortunate to be part of an area with such a unique platform from which to advocate and serve. My BBYO community of ‘DC Council’ takes full advantage of our hometown, planning many small/large-scale projects to engage hundreds of local teens  through J-Serve. From partnering with national organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to assembling care packages for newly settled refugees in/around DC, we’ll truly be leaving no stone left unturned. As we gear up for what will be the biggest and best J-Serve season to date, I’m so excited to help lead my community’s efforts to make an impact, and I’m proud to do my part as we rally together alongside Jewish teens everywhere to enact real change.

What has been the most fun part of working on your project so far?
In my role as BBYO’s International Sh’licha (the Female Teen VP of Jewish Enrichment), I work closely with communities around the world to help bring their J-Serve vision to life. So far, my favorite part of this process has been initial conversations with my counterparts, discovering what ignites their fire for driving change. In the many calls/emails that have followed, I continue to be inspired by their dedication to creating fun, interesting, and meaningful opportunities to engage their peers through service, advocacy, and other forms of social change supporting causes about which they are so passionate. As we approach J-Serve 2019, I look forward to doing everything I can to support the strengthening of all aspects of these amazing events every step of the way!

What’s been the most inspiring part of working with J-Serve as a leader this year?

What do you think makes J-Serve successful in its ability to excite Jewish teens around the world about service? What makes it special?
The Talmud states, “We, the youth, are the builders.” In my opinion, J-Serve is the perfect embodiment of this notion in its ability to excite Jewish teens to take the reins, devoting time and energy into something that truly matters together with their peers around the world.  I’m proud to be part of a generation that refuses to sit back, instead constantly seeking opportunities to improve our world through initiatives like J-Serve. Additionally, what makes J-Serve so special is the fact that while one teen group may only interact with one service project, across the globe there are more groups of Jewish teens doing good work, too. As such, J-Serve provides an incredible platform from which teens are empowered to experience the magnitude of our global Jewish community on a local level.

Why is doing service specifically in a Jewish context meaningful to you personally? What’s uniquely Jewish about doing good and/or giving back?

Keep up with J-Serve at jserve.org, by tracking #JServe2019 on Twitter and Instagram, and via their Facebook page. For more information on how to get involved, contact Rae Williams.

Purim inspires #ShareHerStory 2019

This article originally appeared in The Jewish Advocate on March 13, 2019.

By The Jewish Advocate

#ShareHerStory, an initiative powered by the Brookline-based Jewish Women’s Archive, Jewish Multiracial Network and Repair the World, is inspired by the story and legacy of Queen Esther, a Jewish woman of color, who risked everything for her people.

Read more

J-Serve 2019: Teen Leadership Perspective from Liam McLean

Each year, J-Serve: The International Day of Jewish Youth Service mobilizes more than ten thousand Jewish teens worldwide around meaningful service programs. Repair the World is a proud partner of J-Serve (along with BBYOGood Deeds Day, and Youth Service America, among others) and supports global planning efforts through a series of web-based trainings and other educational resources for Jewish youth professionals and teen leaders across the country and around the world.

J-Serve 2019 marks the 15th anniversary of this powerful global initiative and is poised to be the biggest and best year yet, engaging more than 15,000 teens in meaningful service, advocacy, philanthropy and other social impact experiences throughout the spring. This year’s official J-Serve date is Sunday, April 7 (though some communities pick an alternative project date a few weeks before or after to maximize participation).

We checked in with Liam McLean from Milwaukee, WI, currently serving as BBYO’s Male Teen Vice President of Jewish Enrichment, to find out how he’s planning to take part in #JSERVE2019. Check out what he had to say!

How did you get involved with J-Serve? What’s your background with service/volunteering, and how did that experience draw you to J-Serve?

What sort of project(s) will your J-Serve community be working on?
In my hometown of Milwaukee, WI, BBYO Wisconsin Region is going big for J-Serve this year, hosting a Youth Advocacy Shabbat Dinner in partnership with the MCRC, NFTY, and surrounding synagogues. This event reflects an exciting new direction for our community’s J-Serve, which has traditionally focused on direct service. We made advocacy the core of J-Serve this year to be part of a shared global focus on diversifying teen social action efforts as part of the initiative’s 15th anniversary celebration. With this exciting new approach to our J-Serve experience, we hope to welcome even more Jewish teens from across the community – many of whom aren’t formally affiliated with Jewish institutions (yet!) – to participate in this innovative program that will hopefully inspire a continued connection through future social action events, too!

What has been the most fun part of working on J-Serve so far?
I feel truly privileged to have the opportunity to support the planning of J-Serve events around the world, in partnership with my peers, through my role as BBYO International Shaliach (or Male Teen VP of Jewish Enrichment). So far, my experience has shown me the undeniable power of Jewish teens to create J-Serve projects and events supporting causes that best represent their passions through meaningful programming designed to make a real, positive impact on each local community. I’ve learned that J-Serve is incredibly powerful in elevating the welfare of communities because – when done right – it is absolutely a catalyst for local change on a global scale. There’s really no better feeling than knowing that the hard work you and your friends are doing is poised to change the world.   

What’s been the most inspiring part of working with J-Serve as a leader this year?

What do you think makes J-Serve successful in its ability to excite Jewish teens around the world about service? What makes it special?
Ultimately, I believe that choice is the trait that makes J-Serve so special. In my experience, I’ve found that J-Serve’s commitment to empowering Jewish teens to choose causes and social action efforts that they wish to serve is a unique spark that drives teens to become passionate (or deepen their existing passion) for social action. When a community is championing a cause that best represents their interests and community needs, we are ensuring that there’s ample energy and drive to fuel their efforts. J-Serve is the ultimate platform for grassroots social change, and – IMO – the power of choice in the hands of teen leaders shaping these experiences is one of the many reasons that J-Serve is a force in the Jewish community worldwide.

Why is doing service specifically in a Jewish context meaningful to you personally? What’s uniquely Jewish about doing good and/or giving back?

Keep up with J-Serve at jserve.org, by tracking #JSERVE2019 on Twitter and Instagram, and via their Facebook page. For more information on how to get involved, contact Rae WilliamsJ-Serve 15th Anniversary Logo

People In The News: Alma Hernandez and #ShareHerStory

This article originally appeared in Arizona Jewish Post on March 20, 2019.

By Arizona Jewish Post

Alma Hernandez is one of 10 women featured in the #ShareHerStory initiative by the Jewish Multiracial Network, Jewish Women’s Archive, and Repair the World.

Read more

Announcement from Board Chair Larry Brooks

The following note was written from the Chair of our Board of Directors, Larry Brooks, on March 15, 2019. 

As an important partner in Repair the World’s mission to engage young people across the country in service and volunteerism, I wanted to update you about a significant change for our organization.

After more than six years of invaluable leadership, David Eisner, our president and CEO, has decided that now is the right time for him to begin transitioning out of his current role, as well as the right time for Repair to identify its next leader.

David’s efforts have helped position Repair as the leading Jewish Service provider, the platform organization for the Jewish Service field, and an important contributor to envisioning a Jewish future that is robust, relevant and truly engaged in improving our communities and our world. We are truly grateful for David’s leadership and know that his accomplishments have set us up for a strong next phase for Repair. We’re also excited that David will be staying on as an adviser until the end of May to help ensure a smooth transition to new leadership.

In addition, I’m very pleased to announce that Cindy Greenberg, current executive director of Repair the World, New York City, will be stepping in as interim CEO. Cindy has been a crucial contributor to Repair the World’s success in recent years through her leadership of our New York City programs, and we’re confident she’s the right person to lead us at this time of transition for our organization.

As Cindy transitions into her new interim position, we will also shift our focus to the search for a permanent CEO. We look forward to updating you as that process moves forward.

The Board, Cindy, and David are all committed to working hand-in-hand as we go through this next period of change. We’re deeply grateful for your continued support as we work to put into place a new, permanent leadership team to ensure a strong future for Repair. Should you have any questions, or if you would like to reach out to Cindy, David, or me, please feel free to reply.

Thank you,
Larry Brooks

Below is the Board Resolution on this Leadership Transition:

“The board expresses its tremendous gratitude for David’s six years of leadership, which has meaningfully contributed to Repair the World’s current position as the leading Jewish Service provider, the platform organization for the Jewish Service field, and an important contributor to envisioning a Jewish future that is robust, relevant and truly engaged in improving our communities and our world.”

A Drop in the Bucket: Moishe House Changes Approach to Tikkun Olam Programming

 

By Molly Cram, Senior Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager, Moishe House

 

For many, tikkun olam is not only a component of their Jewish identity but a way to live their Jewish values; however, it can also be a daunting task to have an impact as just one person or just one community. At times, it feels like a drop in the bucket.

In an effort to come together to have an impact on a few of these important issues and provide tailored resources, Moishe House residents, Moishe House Without Walls (MHWOW) hosts, and Moishe House staff voted on four pillars of Tikkun Olam for 2019.

 

 

These are four themes upon which we can all focus and build meaningful programming for our communities. As an organization, our goal is to have every Moishe House, 100 Moishe House Without Walls (MHWOW) hosts, and every Moishe House staff member participate in at least one pillar in 2019.

“It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to desist from it” (Pirkei Avot 2:16)

We may not solve global climate change or provide clean drinking water for all, but we do feel we have an obligation to do something.

To date, in 2019, 29 Moishe Houses, five MHWOW hosts and eight Moishe House staff members have participated in one of the four Tikkun Olam Pillars.

14 Moishe Houses and MHWOW hosts across North America hosted Pink Shabbats in partnership with Sharsheret and in line with the pillar Mental and Physical Health & Wellness to bring awareness to breast and ovarian cancers.

Moishe House Baltimore engaged in the pillar, Prejudice, Discrimination & Oppression, and in honor of Martin Luther King Jr Day, by watching the Netflix documentary, 13th and discussing the Baltimore justice system with the former Deputy Attorney General of Maryland.

The Charlotte Moishe House office came together for a lunch and learn to discuss how to go green as an office and do their part in the pillar Environmentalism and Global Climate Change.


We are hopeful that, collectively, we will have a true impact on a few of the important issues facing us today.

To see more of what the Moishe House community is up to visit: www.moishehouse.org/tikkun-olam or contact Molly Cram, Senior Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager at [email protected].

The Jewish Education Project Names 2019 ‘Young Pioneers’

This article originally appeared in The Jewish Link of Bronx, Westchester and Connecticut on March 7, 2019.

By JLBWC Staff

The Jewish Education Project has announced the next cohort of New York-based educators to be honored with the organization’s Young Pioneers Award. This year’s five award recipients have created innovative Jewish learning experiences in their classrooms and institutions to inspire children, teens and families in creative new ways.

Read more

Service Matters 2019, Largest-ever Jewish Service Summit, Opens Registration

This article originally appeared in eJewish Philanthropy on March 6, 2019.

By eJP

More than two dozen organizations from across the Jewish communal, educational, religious and social cause spectrum, as well as secular service organizations, already are part of organizing Service Matters 2019, to be held May 15-16 in New York City.

Read more

#ShareHerStory Returns to Spotlight Jewish Women of Color, Indigenous, Mizrahi, and Sephardi Women

This article originally appeared in eJewish Philanthropy on March 6, 2019.

By eJP

Whether leading spiritual communities, fighting racial injustice, creating powerful works of art, or even saving the Jewish People millennia ago, Jewish Women of Color, Indigenous, Mizrahi, and Sephardi women have for centuries been leaders, teachers, storytellers, and changemakers in the Jewish community.

Read more

 

The best charity events in Miami this week

This article originally appeared on Hoodline on February 26, 2019. 

By Hoodline

Looking to make a difference this week? From charitable happy hours to a gala event, there’s plenty to do when it comes to good causes coming up in Miami this week. Read on for a rundown.

Read More