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Archive for : Civil Rights

July 4th Link Roundup

Yesterday, many Americans celebrated Independence Day by watching the fireworks, eating massive numbers of hot dogs (upwards of 150 million of them), spending time with family and friends, and sporting stylish combinations of red, white and blue. But as a wise person on Facebook once said, independence day should really be called “interdependence day” – a day where we celebrate our relationships with and responsibility to others as well as our freedom. In honor of the holiday, here are some inspiring service-related bits from around the blogosphere.


  • ( Volunteerism as the ultimate form of patriotism? Absolutely.
  • (Sustainablog) 29 ways to “declare independence from ‘normal'” and help change the world.
  • (NY Jewish Week) Read about mizrachi Jews’ struggle for equal rights in Israel.
  • (JTA) A combined Israeli-Palestinian soccer team plays on the sidelines of the World Cup in the Football for Hope Festival.
  • (NY Jewish Week) Young Jewish leaders push for a seat at the non-profit boardroom table.


  • (Jcarrot) Like fresh vegetables, building Jewish community, and small organic farms? Start (or join) a Hazon CSA in your community.
  • (ROI) Keep tabs on all of the happenings at this year’s ROI Summit, a conference for young Jewish leaders who are “empowering innovation, and creating a more vibrant Jewish community all over the world.” Check out the participant profiles, the summit schedule, the live blog – and more!

Repair Interview: Eliza Parad and the Jewish Organizing Initiative (JOI)

Eliza Parad has social work in her blood. Literally everyone in her family – her parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brother and even sister-in-law – are committed social workers. And while, like her family members Eliza graduated college with a deep commitment to social change, she found herself growing deeply frustrated with the model of direct advocacy.

This past year through a bit of “right place right time” luck, Eliza became a fellow at the Jewish Organizing Initiative (JOI), a Boston-based organization that runs a year-long fellowship that engages Jewish activists in their 20s-30s in fostering “community organizing as a strategy for social change.” Over the past year, the JOI experience has surprised Eliza in more ways than one, and enlivened her enthusiasm for both her work and Jewish life. Eliza took a moment to speak with me about the importance of building power in a community, finding strength in numbers, and her experience co-leading her family’s seder for the first time.
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In Their Own Words: AJWS Volunteers

Traveling abroad is incredibly rewarding, but it can be frustrating to figure out how to share the amazing, life-changing experiences one has during the trip with loved ones back home. Sure there are photographs, blogs and lengthy group emails, but nothing quite captures the experience like telling someone about it in one’s one voice.

This frustration holds true for any vacation, but feels especially powerful after a service trip. Not only has the participant experienced a new place – it’s culture and people – but they have also made deep, lasting connections with a community and, hopefully, made an impact on that community. More often than not, the participant is often significantly shaped by the experience as well.

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Speak Your Mind: Ma’yan Political Theater Takes the Stage

That’s Not Fair! Virtually everyone has uttered that phrase once before, and likely many times – when someone cuts in line or says something intentionally hurtful; or when a hidden societal injustice gets exposed. Last night, that ubiquitous cry was further illuminated at The JCC in Manhattan during, That’s Not Fair: a performance by The Ma’yan Political Theatre Apprentices.

The cast of eight performers – junior high and high school girls ranging from age 12 to 17 – were in fine form, weaving together theatre, puppetry and music in an ensemble exploration of tough questions surrounding privilege, power and oppression. “Most of the content was taken from things we experience in our every day lives,” said performer, Esther Lenchner. From there, they collaboratively created images and scenes (along with their artistic director, political theatre veteran Jenny Romaine) that educated the audience without forcing them to a particular viewpoint. “We don’t have all the answers,” said Dylan Corn – so we wanted to let the audience draw their own conclusions.

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Repair Hero: Theodore Bikel

“Who, day and night, must scramble for a living / Feed a wife and children, say his daily prayers? / And who has the right, as master of the house, / To have the final word at home?” – Tevye, Fiddler on the Roof

In 1967, a 43 year old actor and singer, Theodore Bikel, helped to immortalize the barrel-chested, booming-voiced character Tevye in the Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof.

Bikel would go on to play the role more than 2,000 times – more than any other actor – but his career did not begin or end there. Born in Vienna in 1924, his family immigrated to then-Palestine after the Nazi’s occupied Austria (Bikel was 13). He started acting as a teenager, relocated to London to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and moved to America in 1954.

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