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Op-Ed: 4 Steps to Get Young Volunteers Involved in Social Change

This post originally appeared on The Chronicle of Philanthropy on April 22, 2016

By Chip Edelsberg and Lisa Eisen

Today’s young adults possess passion and energy in abundance. They are ambitious, smart, creative, and driven by a desire to help others.

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Repair the World Urges #SupportforRefugees During Passover

This post originally appeared in The Times of Israel on April 21, 2016

By JTA

The Repair the World organization has partnered with HIAS to build awareness of and to help support refugees as they resettle in the United States.

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We Can’t Support and ‘Dis’ Service at the Same Time

This post originally appeared on The Huffington Post on April 12, 2016

By David Eisner

When I was CEO from 2003 through 2008 at the Corporation for National and Community Service — which oversees AmeriCorps, VISTA, Senior Corps and other elements of the country’s investment in service — I used to talk about moving our collective perception of service from “nice to necessary.”

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Repair the World Partners with JVC

This post originally appeared on The Baltimore Jewish Times on February 5, 2016

By Marc Shapiro

Repair the World, an organization that launched in several major cities in the fall of 2013 with the mission of engaging young Jewish adults in volunteerism, has refocused its Baltimore operations and will now operate under the auspices of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore as part of Jewish Volunteer Connection.

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How Repair the World Plans to Mobilize 400 Volunteers This MLK Day of Service

This post originally appeared on Generocity on January 7, 2016

By Julie Zeglen

Get your gardening gloves ready, your mural-painting brushes clean.  This year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is coming up on Monday, Jan. 18, and with it comes the 21st annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service. It’s a big day for many nonprofits and service-oriented organizations in the city that want to kickstart support for their work. The question is, though, how they should best attract volunteers.

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Repair the World Launches Racial Justice Campaign for MLK Commemoration

This post originally appeared on Jewish Telegraphic Agency on December 29, 2015

By JTA

Repair the World has launched a national campaign to “Act for Racial Justice on MLK Weekend.” The nonprofit organization, which engages young Jewish adults as volunteers, will provide volunteer opportunities throughout the weekend remembering the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to address racial injustice. The campaign will also offer the opportunity for volunteers to host a “Turn the Tables Shabbat Dinner,” to discuss the difficult issues of the day, on Jan. 15.

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High Holidays For Millennials, But Far From Shul

This post originally appeared on The New York Jewish Week on September 16, 2015

By Hannah Dreyfus

Repair the World, a national Jewish service nonprofit focused on food justice and education, intends to redefine “service” all together. Its newest branch in Crown Heights launched just last week.

“We’re taking service out of the synagogue,” said Cindy Greenberg, Repair the World’s New York City director. “Increasingly, young Jews are asking about their role in the world on a more universal level. We’re giving them a hands-on way to address injustices — it’s a new way to mark the High Holidays.” Over the next few weeks, the organization’s nine fellows placed in Crown Heights will volunteer at a food pantry, composting event and even a bone marrow drive that takes place specifically on Yom Kippur.

“Yom Kippur speaks a lot about who will live and who will die — this is a very literal way to ensure someone else can live another day,” explained Greenberg. The hands-on activity provides appeal and meaning that conventional services simply can’t, she said.

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Featured Grantee: Repair the World

This post originally appeared on Jim Joseph Foundation on September 8, 2015

By Jim Joseph Foundation

“It’s not that the Jewish piece makes me like volunteering more, the volunteering makes me like my Judaism more.”
– Volunteer with Repair the World

Since 2009, Repair the World has worked to make volunteer service a defining element of American Jewish life. Through Repair, tens of thousands of young adults engage in meaningful service opportunities infused with Jewish values and learning that help make the world a better place.

Repair the World’s flagship Communities program, launched in 2013, is a driving force behind this national Jewish service movement. Focused on food and education justice, the program places full-time fellows in cities (Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and New York City) to build volunteer initiatives alongside local non-profit organizations. As fellows and volunteers help communities in need, they also engage in Jewish and civic learning about personal reflection about their service work.

Building Jewish Community through Volunteer Service—a summary of an independent evaluation of the first two years of the program—shows that the Communities’ model is bearing fruit. The program’s efforts to connect Jewish volunteers with pressing local needs drives positive outcomes both for Jewish engagement and for serving communities. An especially critical finding is that these service opportunities are highly attractive to young Jewish adults who have had little or no previous engagement in Jewish life. Other important findings from the summary report are that:

  • Service through a Jewish lens can be “sticky” and keep participants engaged.
  • Participants build new forms of Jewish communities around their service.
  • Service connects meaningfully to Jewish identity formation and Jewish values.
  • One-time and ongoing volunteers positively impact each other.

“Repair’s program in Pittsburgh is empowering young adults to help others, to organize, to learn and to connect with peers. We like seeing these young adults feel more connected to Jewish values, and we really like knowing that these activities are turning into deeper, more ongoing forms of connection and community.”
– Jeff Finkelstein, President/CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh

Part of the Slingshot Class of 2016 in recognition of its innovative approach to Jewish life and engagement, Repair the World is the only organization devoted exclusively to engaging young Jewish adults as volunteers. Repair will hold a Jewish Service Summit September 15th in New York to bring people together to further explore volunteer service infused with Jewish values. Stay tuned for more information.

The Jim Joseph Foundation has awarded $10 million to Repair the World. Read Building Jewish Community through Volunteer Service.

The Makings of a Social Entrepreneur

This post originally appeared on My Jewish Detroit in September of 2015

By Vivian Henoch

A grassroots initiative of Federation in partnership with Repair the World and area congregations, PeerCorps Detroit launched its teen service program in the city two years ago with the support of the Hermelin Davidson Fund for Congregation Excellence. At that time, Nora was recruited, along with Blair Nosan, to run with the program and to nurture its mission of inclusion, inviting Jewish teens and b’nai mitzvah students and their families of all denominations to build relationships with one another by engaging in community-based work in the city of Detroit.

“PeerCorps Detroit grew out of a community need to invest in young leaders, starting early with teens,” Nora explains. “Our program works as capacity to build bridges and lasting relationships between the suburban Jewish community and the city of Detroit while fostering a culture of curiosity, critical thinking and understanding through the lens of Judaism.”

Acknowledging the age-old tension that exists in Judaism to maintain the balance between tradition and innovation, Nora observes, “When we speak of tikkun olam – the traditional Jewish idea of repairing the world – the concept has largely come to mean tzedaka – charity or good deeds. What PeerCorps offers is something more profound, not just in the doing, but in the giving of something deeper. We strive for building relationships, understanding the community, becoming a part of it, then sharing it with family and school. That’s leadership.”

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Repair the World Fellows Get As Much As They Give

This post originally appeared on Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on June 15, 2015

By Anicka Slachta

Against a worn brick wall in Repair the World’s office space in East Liberty sit a mural, a collage of quotes and magazine cutouts sprawled across a painted background. “Save yourself, save the world,” one corner reads, alongside printed quotes like “Justice is what love looks like to the public,” a photo of Caitlyn Jenner and a rainbow flag.

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