Archive for : Child Abuse & Neglect

Citizenship Day Coming Up This Friday 9/17

This Friday night, September 17th, is Erev Yom Kippur – the start of the Jewish calendar’s most sacred day. But September 17th also marks another notable event: Citizenship Day.

Founded in 2004, Citizenship Day marks the anniversary of the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. It’s history, however, stretches back a bit further. According to patriotism.org,

“The roots of Citizenship Day stretch much farther back beginning in 1940 when I am an American Day was initiated by Congress for the third Sunday in May. The day of September 17th was reached by citizens themselves. In 1952 Olga T. Weber of Ohio successfully convinced her municipality to name the date Constitution Day. The next year she went a step further and petitioned the Ohio government to celebrate the holiday statewide as Constitution Week from September 17-23 and the movement was soon passed.

Citizenship Day, which will celebrate its 14th year this year, gives all Americans an opportunity to express their pride in their citizenship and their country. And what better way to do that than with service? There are many ways you can get involved this Friday – from volunteering at a local retirement community or health center, to getting involved with a local campaign, or organizing a day of learning. And because of the timing, celebrating with service on Friday morning or afternoon is also a great lead into the spiritual services of Yom Kippur.

9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance

Last year, President Barack Obama amended the Patriot Day proclamation to make September 11th a nationally recognized day of service and remembrance. In the proclamation he wrote:

As we pay tribute to loved ones, friends, fellow citizens, and all who died, we reaffirm our commitment to the ideas and ideals that united Americans in the aftermath of the attacks… I call upon all Americans to join in service and honor the lives we lost, the heroes who responded in our hour of need, and the brave men and women in uniform who continue to protect our country at home and abroad…

Originated by the family members of those who lost loved ones on 9/11, the National Day of Service and Remembrance is an opportunity to salute the heroes of 9/11, recapture the spirit of unity and compassion that inspired our Nation following the attacks, and rededicate ourselves to sustained service to our communities.

In honor of the 9/11 day of service, people in towns and cities across the country are planning acts of service – large and small – to strengthen their communities and build stronger bonds with the issues and people they care about. The range of service projects being posted on 911dayofservice.org includes everything from reading to kids in an after school program, to organizing food drives, donating blood, spending a day visiting elderly people in the hospital, and giving funds to cancer research organizations.

Find out how you can help to make 9/11 more than “just another day” by doing an act of service or adopting a local charity here.

Read President Obama’s full proclamation here.

Weekly Torah: Matot-Masei 5770

This post is part of a weekly series of Torah commentaries presented by the American Jewish World Service. It was contributed by Aviva Presser Aiden.

Parshat Masei opens as the wanderings of the Israelites are coming to an end. The land east of the Jordan has been conquered and divided, and God is commanding Moshe regarding the procedures to be followed upon entering Israel. Included in these commandments is a verse that dictates that when the Jews enter Canaan, they should banish the Canaanites and destroy their holy relics and holy sites—raze them all, utterly and completely, or face God’s wrath for failing to do so: “You shall destroy all their figure objects; you shall destroy all their molten images, and you shall demolish all their altar-places.” ((Bamidbar 33:52.))

Reading this verse might well make us shudder, as the overt and deliberate destruction of sites holy to any faith is repellant to many modern readers. Israel’s 1967 Protection of Holy Places law and the international outcry over the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamyan, Afghanistan, ((Gall, C. “From Ruins of Afghan Buddhas, a History Grows.” New York Times, 6 December 2006.)) highlight this sentiment. Moreover, we have a strong tradition in the U.S. of respecting and enabling the religious and cultural practices of others.
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NY Jewish Week’s “36 Under 36” Full of Service Heros

It’s that time of year again: 36 Under 36 time! Each year the New York Jewish Week profiles 36 Jewish visionaries and innovators under the age of 36.” In the words of the Jewish Week:

“We shine a spotlight on a new crop of three dozen forward-thinking young people who are helping reshape the Jewish community. They’re revitalizing established Jewish organizations by launching new models of young leadership programs, empowering micro-entrepreneurs here and in Israel, fostering new forms of spirituality, and raising our eco-consciousness. Welcome to the future.”

This year, more than half of the impressive bunch were people working on the front lines of service – a clear indication that service work is an integral part of the Jewish community today, and will be into the future. Check out the list’s service super stars below the jump, and find the whole list here.
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