Archive for : Criminal Justice

A Year in the Life: Avodah Fellow

Ever considered applying for a long term immersive service program, but wondered what exactly service fellows really do? The audio slideshows below capture a year in the life of two Avodah corps members: Diana Levy in New York and David Eber in New Orleans. Follow their experiences – living in the Avodah house with other Corps members, working on urban poverty issues, and connecting their personal and professional experiences to Jewish life. (Prepare to be inspired!)

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Pursue’s New Blog Shines a Spotlight on Service

Justice justice, thou shalt pursue (Deut 16:20) – or at least, that’s how the folks at Pursue see things. Founded in 2006 as a partnership between two powerhouse Jewish service/social justice organizations, AJWS and AVODAH, the newly named Pursue has evolved into an online and on-the-ground initiative for young (20s-30s) Jewish change-makers.

Their programming – everything from founding a social justice book club and the popular Inside the Activist’s Studio series, to co-sponsoring innovative events like Love, Hate & the Jewish State – works to invigorate a new generation of Jewish leaders engaged in creating a more just world.

Pursue’s new blog, PursueAction is the online home for the conversations around Jewish life and social change. Over the next several months, Repair the World will feature a series of “Pursue profiles,” interviews with active Pursue participants who are doing world-repairing work. To get things started, here’s an interview with Nathaniel Berman, an inspiring young professional and committed volunteer.

Tell us what you’re doing right now.

I’m an attorney working at the U.S. Department of Labor. I’m also a Jeremiah Fellow, one of a cohort of 16 socially conscious Jewish individuals in the D.C. area who are in a nine-month course developing organizing skills, storytelling skills, and learning about affordable housing and immigration issues.
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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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Repair Interview: Elana Baurer and Avodah

Service has always been a part of Elana Baurer’s life – from her mother’s involvement with their synagogue’s social action committee, to her decision to major in African American studies at Wesleyan. But until recently, she always struggled to locate herself and her service work within a larger, like-minded community. Then she joined Avodah, the Jewish Service Corps – a year-long service fellowship that came with an instant community of 17 other people.

Bauer, whom Avodah helped to place for the year as a paralegal at the New York Legal Assistant Group, took the time to share her thoughts on serving communities in-need, the dangers of making assumptions, and how she hopes to bring the lessons she learned at Avodah with her next year.
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An Investigator Seeks Justice in the Public Defender Service

Eleanor waved her hands in front of her chest and shook her head, “I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to get involved. I don’t want anything to do with this.” The grief on her face broke my heart – I didn’t want to make her go through this pain again. She was a seventy-three year old woman, and I felt terrible. But I also felt like I wasn’t doing my job.

I interviewed Eleanor one week after finishing my training as an investigator for the Public Defender Service for DC (PDS). I no longer remember the specifics of the case, but the look on her face will stick with me. Most likely, she was the complaining witness in a case – the victim, in other words. In most cases victims are victims, but in some cases they aren’t. Sometimes incidents don’t take place the way they are reported. And that’s why my job matters.
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Tuesday Link Roundup

This past Sunday was Yom Hashoah, also called Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance day. In honor of the day, here are some interesting service and heroism bits from around the web, plus two opportunities to get involved.

Things to Read

  • (JTA) Rumor has it that two of the three leading candidates to replace Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court are Jewish women.
  • (NYTimes) A touching article about a Haitian dancer who lost her leg in January’s earthquake highlights the importance of international charity in Haiti’s recovery.
  • (Mashable) For the first time ever, online journalists received an illustrious Pulitzer Prize for their work. The history-making stories included: a piece on ProPublica about “the urgent life-and-death decisions made by one hospital’s exhausted doctors when they were cut off by the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina,” and a series of editorial cartoons on SFGate.com
  • (NY Jewish Week) An article in the Jewish Week reports how many Holocaust survivors in NYC are living in poverty, and often fall below charity’s radar screens. The article also includes resources for survivors and places to donate.
  • (Joshua Venture) The Joshua Venture Group just announced their eight fellows, who will receive funding and support for their groundbreaking programs in social and environmental justice, community building, spirituality, education and the arts. Meet the fellows here.

Things to Do

  • (TED) The inspiring TED Conference, which is dedicated to convening the world’s most inspiring thinkers, is coming to Tel Aviv on April 26. The conference called “Thriving in Turmoil” will focus on the country’s catalysts for innovation and creativity. You can register to attend here (attendance is based on an application), or attend via simulcast here.
  • (Sparkseed) The non-profit organization dedicated to developing the next generation of social entrepreneurs is currently accepting applications for summer interns. Find out more and apply before April 30 here.

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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