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A Perspective on Social Justice Changed through Service

A reflection written by Jack, Repair the World NYC Teen Service Corps Member.

What is social justice? On paper, it means to enact justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society. In reality, social justice is significantly more complex than that. As we all know, the growing popularity of social media has affected our lives drastically, but in my opinion, it has affected our perception of social justice the most. Due to social media, the term “social justice” and the ideas it preaches have been politicized, and the true message behind social justice: to serve one’s community, has been clouded by infographics and Twitter rants. As such, my perception of social justice before entering this program was not the most positive, since 99% of my knowledge of the topic came from social media. I saw it more as a dividing force than a uniting one. I would see people post infographics about issues ranging from racial justice, to food justice, as well as links where you could donate to those causes. As much as posting these thing were good steps towards enacting social change, I began to wonder how much impact they really had. Most infographics are simplified at best, and outright false at worst. For a long time, social justice seemed political, frustrating, and disunifying to me. 

Over the last few months in this program, this view has significantly changed. Participating in activities like volunteering at Bushwick City Farm and phone banking with Hunger Free America, I have realized that social justice is more than just posting and arguing on social media. Social Justice requires some sort of personal sacrifice. Clicking a few buttons on my phone to post an infographic was certainly not as eye opening as turning compost for two hours by myself at the farm, and although I would rather not spend my weekend turning compost, for one of the first times in my life I actually felt that I was truly helping a cause. Not just spreading information about it, but actually taking action. In my opinion, action is one of the core pillars of social justice. A phrase I’m sure many people here are familiar with is: It is not your responsibility to finish the work [of perfecting the world], but you are not free to desist from it either.” Finishing the work requires direct action, or else it will never get done. That is the lesson I’ve learned from this program. 


Growth on Uncertain Ground

Reflecting on my semester with the community of Repair the World Teen Service Corps, I chose to create a zine! This mini-zine, titled Growth on Uncertain Ground, focuses on how service and learning create community, even in times of distance or conflict. Throughout this semester, my perspective has evolved and expanded. I wanted to express that feeling and viewpoint through this zine. I am excited to take what I have learned and use it to continue serving my community. 

— Eliza Baron-Singer


















From Sharing an Office to a Lasting Partnership

Last year, Marissa Fogal embarked on a journey to work within spaces that were aligned with her Jewish values. “As a Jewish person, the value of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, was presented to me as my purpose in life. It’s a value that is both so personal but also a value of the community,” said Marissa. Wanting to fulfill her passion for growing food and dedicate her work towards strengthening her Jewish values, Marissa found what she was longing for at 412 Food Rescue in Pittsburgh. Now, the Vice President of Food Rescue Operations at 412 Food Rescue, Marissa has been a key connection to Repair the World’s partnership with the organization.

412 Food Rescue has been a service partner of Repair the World Pittsburgh for 7 years. They work with food retailers to prevent surplus food from going to waste. A relationship that grew out from sharing office spaces several years ago, Repair the World Pittsburgh and 412 Food Rescue were a perfect match. With a shared mission to provide vital resources to community members in the Pittsburgh area, this partnership has continued to evolve. 412 Food Rescue has provided a space for Repair the World fellows to grow and learn about food insecurity in Pittsburgh and ways to combat it. Repair the World continues to provide a thriving volunteer network to amplify the work 412 Food Rescue is doing in the community.

“Fellows are dedicating their time to serving their community with Repair the World and are also choosing to serve with and alongside countless service organizations that are directly providing resources to community members,” said Marissa. “Something I believe makes the fellowship unlike any other is the entrepreneurial spirit that is incorporated into serving. I’ve witnessed our Repair the World fellows really grow and learn key professional skills at 412 while engaging in Jewish learning, connecting with volunteers, and providing vital resources to the people of Pittsburgh.”

This past year was a time when many service organizations were forced to adapt and find new ways to reach their communities while making their services accessible. “Because of the pandemic we have had to shift and make changes to many of our programs in some hard but really cool ways. While stricter COVID-19 restrictions were in place, our fellows were unable to cook meals to be distributed throughout the community. Instead they created TikTok videos and other cool social media content about food waste reduction and cooking education which had a lasting impact on moving this work forward,” said Marissa. 

One year into working at 412 Marissa sees her values in action everyday. “Seeing my values lived out is centered around my being surrounded by people who have deeply committed themselves to serving others. I saw my values as I witnessed the fellows this past year use their skills to strengthen our work and I see them lived out with every volunteer I interact with.”

Meet Repair the World’s Newest Board Members

Repair the World is excited to welcome Majestic Lane (he/him), Kathy Reich (she/her), and David Rittberg (he/him) as its newest national Board of Directors members as we continue to grow and expand our reach. This past year has been one of immense change and growth with many joining us to ‘Serve the Moment’ responding to the needs of our communities and pursuing justice. With the leadership of our Board of Directors and as we transition from a moment to a movement, we’re entering a transformed ‘Service Era’, boldly positioning ourselves to build additional strategic opportunities and further centering service as key to building a thriving Jewish life while amplifying service across our communities. 

These dynamic individuals bring with them a wealth of expertise in national service, Jewish engagement, philanthropy, community building, and social justice through a Jewish lens. They share a passion for mobilizing Jews and their communities to take action to pursue a just world while representing diverse backgrounds. Learn more about them and what motivates them to serve their communities. To see a list of all our current Board members click here.

Majestic Lane (he/him/his)
Deputy Chief of Staff & Chief Equity Officer, City of Pittsburgh

Majestic Lane serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief Equity Officer for Mayor William Peduto. As Chief Equity Officer and Deputy Chief of Staff, Majestic leads the Peduto administration’s focus on opportunity for all residents of the City of Pittsburgh concerning education, workforce development, safe & healthy communities, and digital inclusion. Additionally, he leads the administration’s engagement with national organizations regarding equity and inclusion strategies. Prior to serving as Deputy Chief of Staff, Majestic was the Deputy Chief of Neighborhood Empowerment where he coordinated the administration’s neighborhood equity efforts through community driven development and affordable housing initiatives. Majestic attended the University of Pittsburgh and lives in North Point Breeze.

What motivates you to serve? Why are you in this work?
I’m motivated by the importance of serving my community as well as the opportunity to grow while meeting the needs of those who need vital resources.

What’s your most memorable volunteering/service-related experience?
Volunteering to teach tennis to children from my neighborhood when I was a young adult.

What’s something completely unrelated to Repair that people should ask you about?
My love of music!!

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A lawyer!

Kathy Reich (she/her/hers)
Director, BUILD, Ford Foundation

Kathy Reich leads the Ford Foundation’s BUILD initiative in the United States and in the foundation’s 10 global regions. BUILD is a 10-year, $2 billion initiative to strengthen key institutions around the world that fight inequality. Kathy manages a team of 11 people, guiding Ford’s efforts to support the vitality and effectiveness of institutions and networks that serve as pillars of broader social movements.

Before joining Ford in 2016, Kathy worked for 15 years at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, most recently as organizational effectiveness and philanthropy director, where she led a cross-cutting program to help grantees around the world strengthen their strategy, leadership and impact. Prior to that, she was policy director of a non-profit, served as a legislative assistant on Capitol Hill, and worked for state and local elected officials in California.

Kathy is a Senior Fellow of the Schusterman Foundation, and has served on several non-profit boards. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University, and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government. She is a lifelong Californian, although she currently resides in Brooklyn, NY with her spouse, two teenage children, one highly opinionated cat, and one extremely cuddly dog.

What motivates you to serve? Why are you in this work?
I’m inspired to serve by my Jewish faith and values, and by my parents, who raised me to believe in justice for all people. I am particularly excited to work with organizations like Repair the World that enable people to live their Jewish values in service of Jews and non-Jews alike. 

What’s your most memorable volunteering/service-related experience?
I’ve had so many remarkable service experiences, but my favorite ones are probably among my earliest ones—making sandwiches with my mom for a weekly lunch program she organized for homeless people, doing armchair aerobics with women at a local assisted living facility, and teaching kids to read at a Title I elementary school. Service was a big part of my life at home and at school, and my favorite experiences were ones where I could form personal bonds with other people. 

What’s something completely unrelated to Repair that people should ask you about?
Ask me about travel—in pre-pandemic days I traveled extensively for work, especially to Africa and Latin America, and I hope to return to that soon! 

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
That is a hard question, because food is one of my greatest joys in life. I think I’d have to say, really expensive sushi. Or maybe hot fudge sundaes with lots of whipped cream. Or on some days, maybe just salt and vinegar potato chips….do I really have to pick just one?

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a famous novelist. Or an actress in musical theater on Broadway. But I gave up on the latter when I found out I’d need dance lessons. 

David Rittberg (he/him/his)
Senior Director, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies

David serves as Senior Director for U.S. Jewish Grantmaking at Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, where he advises leadership on how to best leverage their investments in existing organizations and take new initiatives to scale. While some may know him for his semi-pro guitar skills, David’s true calling card is his hands-on approach to his philanthropic portfolio: David spends much of his time working directly with organization staff and board members to help build their team’s capacity, develop a long-term strategy and grow as integral players in common ecosystems.

Prior to arriving at Schusterman, David’s career took him across the country, from his hometown of Binghamton to streetwise Brooklyn, misty San Francisco and the hidden gem that is Tucson, AZ. Notably, David served as Executive Director at the Edgar M. Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at NYU, Hillel at New York University, and, in 2011, received NYU’s Hallmark Award for outstanding university administrators. David was also part of the Hillel staff at The University of Arizona and Stanford.

David received his BS in Marketing from the Smeal College of Business Administration at Penn State University, and an Executive MPA from NYU Wagner.

What motivates you to serve? Why are you in this work?
A deep sense of obligation, responsibility, and commitment to community, inspired by my family’s heroic story.

What’s your most memorable volunteering/service-related experience?
The many trips I took and facilitated to the Gulf Coast in the years after Hurricane Katrina.  It introduced me to intensive service while meeting Americans from all over the country.

What’s something completely unrelated to Repair that people should ask you about?
Acoustic guitars!

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Rice and Beans

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Either playing third base for the New York Yankees, or a transcendent rock star. I still want to be those things!

Repair the World Announces Expansion to Align with Program Priorities, Organizational Growth, and Unprecedented Opportunities for Jewish Service Movement


July 1, 2021
Contact:  Jason Edelstein

Repair the World Announces Expansion to Align with Program Priorities, Organizational Growth, and Unprecedented Opportunities for Jewish Service Movement

New York – Repair the World, a Jewish non-profit that mobilizes Jews and their communities to take action to pursue a just world, igniting a lifelong commitment to service, today announced program priorities for the coming year, along with realignment and growth of its professional team reflecting the expansion and additional strategic opportunities. A recent $7 million gift from MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett to Repair the World will help grow its work to an unprecedented scale as many American Jews say that working for justice and equality is essential to being Jewish. 

In the wake of the pandemic, volunteers stepped up boldly to serve their communities in incredibly meaningful ways. As we enter this moment following the pandemic, we believe the Jewish community is entering a transformed ‘Service Era’ where they are building on the support and continued strengthening of their communities demonstrated last year by so many,” said Cindy Greenberg, President and CEO of Repair the World. “We are excited that Repair’s expansion can further build thriving Jewish life and meaningful social change through service infused with Jewish values and learning.”

Repair the World reached over 17,000 volunteers who contributed over 100,000 hours of service and learning to nonprofit partners across the country between August 2020-April 2021, thanks in part to last year’s launch of Serve the Moment powered by Repair the World in partnership with 44 coalition organizations. Repair is now positioned to expand these and other meaningful service efforts. Key pieces of the alignment to the organizational growth and adaptive strategy include: 

  • Mobilizing through direct programming 
    • Building a local presence in the 20 communities (currently operating in 13 communities) with the largest population of Jewish young adults
    • Curating a menu of program options for local communities (full-time Fellowship, part-time Service Corps, episodic service)
  • Catalyzing through national partnerships & field activation
    • Strengthening customized partnerships with the largest national Jewish engagement organizations to engage their participants in meaningful service and Jewish learning
  • Inspiring through national service campaigns
    • Facilitating issue-area based campaigns grounded in Jewish wisdom to promote and catalyze service 
    • Digitally engaging with audiences to activate the field to lead to acts of service and learning

Repair the World will invest in its Jewish educational strategy by further centering Jewish learning in all of its service opportunities. Repair the World will also continue to prioritize its racial justice and equity commitments, rooted in solidarity and responsibility to amplify the voices of marginalized communities and offer support to those communities.

To help achieve these new goals and expanded program offerings, Repair re-aligned its current senior strategic executive team to include:

  • President & CEO | Cindy Greenberg (she/her) – Will continue as President & CEO of Repair; Cindy was the founding executive director of Repair’s NYC program. Previously, she was the executive director of NYU’s Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life. 
  • Chief Strategy Officer | Kate O’Bannon (she/her) – Has led Repair’s growth over the last few years and most recently served as senior director of strategy. Prior to joining Repair, Kate worked at the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies. 
  • Chief Program Officer | Jordan Fruchtman (he/him) – Most recently senior director of Jewish Service Alliance and helped launch Serve the Moment; prior to joining Repair, Jordan served as the Chief Program Officer for Moishe House. 
  • Senior Director of Finance | Neeraj Nagpal (he/him) – Has 15 years of experience leading complex finance functions for nonprofits, including Habitat for Humanity, NEO Philanthropy, and Amnesty International. 
  • Senior Director of Jewish Education | Rabbi Jessy Dressin (she/her) – Worked as a community rabbi in Baltimore, MD, for ten years, most recently as Baltimore Repair’s executive director; received a Covenant Foundation 2020 Pomegranate Award and was named as one of The Forward’s “Most Inspiring Rabbis” in 2016. 
  • Senior Director of Mobilize | Zack Block (he/him) – Worked many years  for large public accounting firms and as a long-time board member of the Hillel JUC in Pittsburgh, Zack was instrumental in building and sustaining J’Burgh, Pittsburgh’s social and professional network for Jewish graduate students and young professionals. He now leads the mobilization strategies at Repair the World. 
  • Senior Director of Philanthropy | Wendy Rhein (she/her) – Was chief of staff of world food program, and previously was with UNICEF and Points of Light; has been development consultant for the last two years with Repair and is now joining the team full time.

Repair the World also seeks to add the role of Chief Operating Officer and is looking to fill the existing role of Senior Racial Justice Advisor.

# # #

Repair the World mobilizes Jews and their communities to take action to pursue a just world, igniting a lifelong commitment to service. We believe service in support of social change is vital to a flourishing Jewish community and an inspired Jewish life. By 2030, Repair will inspire and catalyze one million acts of service towards repairing the world.

What It’s Like to Get Millions of Dollars From MacKenzie Scott

This article originally appeared in TIME on June 17th, 2021. 

“When I got the call, I literally just lost my breath,” says Cindy Greenberg, president and CEO of Repair the World, a faith-based organization that promotes local community service among Jewish youth, to which Scott gave $7 million in mid-June. “As [Scott’s representative] told me the amount of the gift, I felt all the breath come out of me. And when she had finished speaking, I said, ‘Can you please repeat that?’ It was such incredible news, I felt like I had to hear it a second time.”

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Faith groups among those granted money from US billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott

This article originally appeared on Sight on June 17th, 2021.

In her post, Scott listed the 286 organizations and institutions that received funding but did not disclose the amount she gave to each group. Faith in Action, Faith in Public Life, HIAS, Repair the World, Inner-City Muslim Action Network, Muslim Advocates, Pillars Fund, Homeboy Industries and Repairers of the Breach were faith organizations listed among those receiving funding.

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6 Events That Celebrate Juneteenth Through a Jewish Lens

This article originally appeared in The Detroit Jewish News on June 18, 2021.

A virtual Juneteenth havdalah option is being hosted by the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue based in Detroit and the non-profit volunteer organization Repair the World.There will be a discussion on both the importance and history of Juneteenth.

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Daily Kickoff | MacKenzie Scott donates to Repair the World and HIAS

This article originally appeared in the Jewish Insider on June 16th, 2021.

MacKenzie Scott, known for her record-setting charitable donations, has now become — with her husband, Dan Jewett — a supporter of two Jewish organizations: Repair the World, a service corps for young people, and HIAS, the immigrant support and advocacy group. Repair the World, whose annual budget was $5.9 million, will receive an unrestricted grant of $7 million from Scott and Jewett, CEO Cindy Greenberg told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Helen Chernikoff.  It was part of $2.74 billion in new gifts Scott and her husband announced yesterday.

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MacKenzie Scott donates to Jewish charities in US, South Africa

This article originally appeared in The Time Israel on June 16th, 2021.

Three Jewish nonprofit organizations will receive a slice of the latest $2.74 billion in grants handed out by MacKenzie Scott, philanthropist and former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

The latest grants include Scott’s first to Jewish groups. The three Jewish grantees are Maryland-based HIAS, which advocates for and gives aid to immigrants and refugees; Repair the World, a community service and social justice organization based in New York; and Afrika Tikkun, an aid organization founded by the chief rabbi of South Africa after the end of apartheid there.

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