This article originally appeared in The New York Jewish Week on March 21, 2018.
By Hannah Dreyfus
Eric Thurm, a 25-year-old Brooklynite and writer, has been hosting seders for his contemporaries since his college days.
This story originally appeared on News 12 Brooklyn on February 5, 2018.
By Amanda Bossard
CROWN HEIGHTS – Fourteen classic works of American art have been transformed by Brooklyn artists to reflect gun violence in modern day society. The exhibits named “Guns Don’t Kill –a re-imagining” is on display at the Repair the World NYC offices in Crown Heights.
This radio segment originally appeared on CBS New York on January 14, 2018.
By Kelly Waldron
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day coming up on Monday, many volunteers hit the streets this weekend to honor the civil rights leader. As WCBS 880’s Kelly Waldron reported Sunday, 2,500 volunteers have been working across the city this weekend to take part in Hunger Free America’s MLK Serve-a-Thon.
This post originally appeared in Bedford and Bowery on January 12, 2018.
By Dabuek Maurer
You’ve seen what happens when Hollywood guns are replaced by thumbs ups or, even better, selfie sticks. Now see what happens when guns are swapped in to famous works of art.
An exhibit coming to Brooklyn will feature artwork where pistols, rifles, and other weapons and violent imagery are inserted into interpretations of works by Norman Rockwell, Edward Hopper, Winslow Homer… even Dr. Seuss.
This post originally appeared in e-Jewish Philanthropy on November 22, 2017.
By Raffaella Glasser
After over two months as a Repair the World Fellow it still feels like yesterday that I sat at Capital Camps at the Repair the World national orientation surrounded by my fellow fellows. We each were embarking on our year of service with Repair the World. I was in awe of the people I was meeting – each fellow coming from across the country with an incredible set of skills, amazing experiences and drive for the work they were about to begin. I couldn’t help but wonder how I would fit into Repair. Would my skills and experiences prepare me for the year to come?
In the month leading up to MLK Day, our blog will be exploring diverse expressions of art created by people of color. The blog will highlight artists, collaborators, performers, poets, filmmakers, and everything in between. We will be exploring creative outlets that express the various ways racial injustice exists today.
Shabbat dinner naturally has a lot going for it. The food (challah! matzo ball soup!), the singing, the camaraderie, the chance to truly rest and enjoy friends and family after a long week – it’s hard to improve upon. But one recent Shabbat dinner held in Atlanta, Georgia last week stands out from the pack.
On November 11, Repair the World hosted a #TurntheTables Shabbat dinner as part of our time at Facing Race: A National Conference – a multiracial, intergenerational gathering focused on racial and social justice. We had spent time at the conference engaging with and learning from community organizers, educators, interfaith clergy members, and other leaders of the racial and social justice movements, and it was time to rest and recharge.
As night fell and the Shabbat candles were lit, more than 100 people joined together around the table (or rather, many tables!) for dinner, discussion, and a conversation with culinary historian and writer, Michael Twitty.
Twitty focuses much of his scholarship on the history and culture behind African and African-diaspora cuisines, as well as on the idea of “identity cooking” – his theory about the way people construct and express their complex identities through food. As a Black Jewish man, Twitty often writes about his own experiences melding the, as he writes on his website, “histories, tastes, flavors, and Diasporic wisdom of being Black and Jewish.”
With the results of the national Presidential election just 3 days old, he spoke about the commonalities and distinctions between the Jewish and Black experience as minorities in America, and the critical importance of loving and protecting one another as full and complex human beings.
During dinner, guests were also prompted to discuss questions around the table like, “Where are you coming from in your racial justice journey?” which gave them a chance to get to know one another on a deeper level. The dinner closed with an alternative take of the Birkat Hamazon – or the grace/thanks traditionally said after meals in the Jewish tradition. The words of the blessing said it all:
“Giving and receiving we open up our hands / from seedtime to harvest we’re partners with the land.
We all share a vision of wholeness and release / Where every child is nourished and we all live in peace.”
For more information about Repair the World’s #TurntheTables Shabbat dinner, check out the article in the Atlanta Jewish Times, read through the dinner guide Repair the World created, and listen to Twitty’s speech in full.
Last month, the current class of Repair the World Fellows held their final closing circles and said so long – but not goodbye! We’ve been incredibly inspired by their work as change makers during their fellowship year, and are excited to keep up with them in the months and years to come.
First up, here’s Shannon Ferguson who was one of Repair the World’s Education Justice Fellows in New York City. She took some time to share the impact she was able to have on others over the course of the year, and the impact the fellowship had on her – including inspiring her to pursue a dream of sharing her passion for the ukulele with students across the United States! Check out her story below (and learn more about her uke tour on her GoFundMe page!), then find out more about becoming a Repair the World Fellow.
What drew you to being a part of the Fellowship?
I graduated college in 2014 and the following year became a full time teacher in New York City. I enjoyed my work but felt there was a lot more I needed to learn in order to be as effective as I wanted to be. I thought about switching from teaching and went to a food justice conference where I ended up meeting a Repair the World fellow. When I realized that there was an organization that focused on both education and food and social justice, it felt perfect. I am Jewish so that was a nice addition, but that is not what originally drew me to the program.
Tell me about the projects you worked on during your fellowship year?
One of the organizations I worked with was Brooklyn Community Services. They are a non profit that has been around for 150 years working with youth at risk and adults with mental illness and developmental disabilities. We worked with their Gary Klinsky Children’s Center, which runs an after school program from kindergarten through eighth grade. We brought volunteers there to tutor and play with the kids. I was also there every week working with the classroom teachers, helping kids with their homework, and teaching them ukulele.
Every day, we are energized by the incredible, work going on in our five Repair the World Communities. In each of these cities (NYC, Detroit, Philly, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore), our fellows and organizational partners are building more connected, more just, and more vibrant communities from the ground up. Want to get involved, or get your daily dose of inspiration? Check out these upcoming events and plug in!
Repair the World: Pittsburgh
On May 17, Repair the World’s fellows are co-hosting an evening of learning and sharing about how early childhood education impacts local families and communities. Join in for great conversation and a chance to ask questions and hear from a panel of early education experts. And get clued in about education justice volunteer opportunities. Plus, snacks.
Repair the World: Philly
On May 18, join Repair the World’s Philly education justice team for a close look at the current challenges faced by Philadelphia public schools. The event will focus on the current budget crisis and how that it directly impacted students in their everyday experiences.
Repair the World: Baltimore On May 20, join Repair the World and JUFJ for a Shabbat service, a vegetarian Shabbat dinner, and a conversation and info session about how the international refugee crisis is playing out in Baltimore – and how you can get involved.
Repair the World: Detroit
On June 4 join Repair the World for an afternoon dedicated to celebrating the community. With food, music, button making, and lots of great people, this one is all about neighborly fun!
Repair the World: New York City
On June 10, join in for an outdoor Shabbat dinner in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Co-hosted by One Table and Repair the World’s fellows, the dinner will focus on the importance of knowing where our food comes from and offer opportunities to foster sustainable food practices across the city.
This story is being shared as part of #SupportforRefugees, Repair the World’s campaign focusing on the global refugee crisis.
Calling all Brooklyn art fans: Repair the World’s Brooklyn Community Space recently took on an exciting new identity: socially-conscious art gallery. Working in conjunction with local Brooklyn artist, Jonathan Allen, who curated a collective exhibit as part of our #SupportforRefugees campaign, our walls are now adorned with exciting, thought-provoking, and moving pieces all focused on the global refugee crisis. If you’re in or near Brooklyn between now and June 24, check it out. Meanwhile, we checked in with Allen to find out more about this exciting exhibit.
What was the inspiration behind the exhibit?
No Place Like Home was developed in concert with Repair the World and HIAS national #SupportforRefugees campaign and explores the global refugee crisis. The exhibit features the work of two aid organizations, three artists, and one collective. Their photographs and videos tell personal stories of refugees and people who offer shelter, advocacy and other resources to them in order to shine a light on broader themes of home, safety, politics, war, family, and culture.
How did your partnership with Repair the World come about?
I was awarded a 2015 Brooklyn Arts Council Grant; my proposal called for curating and mounting a group art exhibition about gentrification. I’ve lived in Crown Heights for almost 13 years, and the neighborhood has gone through a lot of changes over that time. It felt like the perfect location to explore this theme, so I contacted 11 local Brooklyn artists and asked them to contribute work. Finding a venue proved more of a challenge. I really wanted the exhibition to happen in Crown Heights, and I was also trying to avoid traditional art galleries. A friend recommended I stop by Repair The World, and I fell in love with the space and staff. They were extremely enthusiastic about hosting the exhibition.
How did you go about selecting artists and pieces to include?
I talked to curators and artists, and also looked online for exciting work that artists were making in response to the crisis. Georgia Lale, for example, has gotten quite a bit of attention for her #orangevest performance series, which draws attention to the European refugee crisis.
Can you describe one piece that you think particularly captures the exhibit’s vision?
Well, there’s not a monolithic, single work that can possibly convey the sweep and complexities of the refugee crisis. I really view the show as a chorus of voices speaking to different dimensions of it. For example, The Refugee Project uses data visualization to map the numbers and figures we hear so often about the crisis. You get a much clearer sense of the history and global scale of what’s been happening for generations. In contrast to this approach, however, is the work of Hidemi Takagi. She made portraits of recent refugees who have relocated to the United States, and the result is a more intimate, nuanced glimpse into the human, personal side of the crisis.
What surprised you most about the exhibit as you worked on it?
The depth and scope of the crisis, once you get beyond the numbers, is staggering. We could have mounted dozens of shows about scores of communities, neighborhoods, countries that have been ravaged and displaced.
What role do you see Repair the World’s Brooklyn Community Space playing in the neighborhood
There is a tremendous spirit of inquiry, openness and social responsibility that envelopes you when you enter the Repair the World space at 808 Nostrand Avenue. It is refreshing and invigorating to see community groups, religious organizations, students and local residents constantly use and circulate through the space. Whenever I am there, people are constantly being greeted and welcomed at the door. I see that warmth and helpfulness extending out daily into the neighborhood: the Repair The World Fellows are responsive to the needs of the community, and extremely dedicated to this work. All in all, I feel the space is a nexus of social, artistic, and community engagement.