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Archive for : Disaster Relief & Recovery

Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future Engages Students in Service

Yeshiva University may be best known as a college that combines Torah learning with serious secular studies, and a premiere institution for training orthodox rabbis. But in recent years, YU has also become a hotbed of service and volunteerism.

Founded in 2005, YU’s Center for the Jewish Future “draws on Yeshiva University’s rich intellectual resources to renew and refresh, strengthen and support…” Jewish communities through learning and service work. The Center is responsible for creating many innovative programs, including direct service trips like their upcoming mission to New Orleans (May 25th-June 1) where students engage in volunteerism and disaster recovery, meet with Jewish communal leaders, and discuss tzedakah and sustainable aid.
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Report from the Field: A final dispatch from Haiti

Micha Odenheimer, founding director of Tevel b’Tzedek, is blogging from Haiti this week for Repair the World. For the past two months, nine volunteers from Tevel b’Tzedek have been working to support the communities devestated by the January 12 earthquake, running the only school in the Petitionville refugee camp. Read the previous post here and check back tomorrow for more.

Tevel b’Tzedek works in teams. Although there are volunteer organizations that believe that it is best to send one person at a time into the field to work in local organizations, and I understand and respect their reasoning, we have a different approach—perhaps influenced by the Israeli/Jewish experience. We think that teamwork is essential, that building community among the volunteers (as well, of course, within the target population) is a crucial party of the volunteering experience. Israelis and Jews as well know how to create community—and how to draw strength from what community has to offer.
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Report from the Field: Making the Next Move in Haiti

Micha Odenheimer, founding director of Tevel b’Tzedek, is blogging from Haiti this week for Repair the World. For the past two months, nine volunteers from Tevel b’Tzedek have been working to support the communities devestated by the January 12 earthquake, running the only school in the Petitionville refugee camp. Read the previous post here and check back tomorrow for more.

On the road back from Jacmel to Port au Prince, I talk to Ted, a young man we brought along to translate as we visited rural villages and the earthquake affected area outside the capital city in order to figure out what our next move in Haiti should be. Ted is a Haitian immigrant to the United States—he had a green card, but no citizenship, and moved back to Haiti several months before the earthquake after some trouble with the law.
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Report from the Field: More from Haiti

Micha Odenheimer, founding director of Tevel b’Tzedek, is blogging from Haiti this week for Repair the World. For the past two months, nine volunteers from Tevel b’Tzedek have been working to support the communities devestated by the January 12 earthquake, running the only school in the Petitionville refugee camp. Read the previous post here and check back tomorrow for more.

The streets of Port au Prince are far emptier than on any “normal” day—there’s a gas shortage, so buying gas means a wait of hours at a gas station, or buying “loose” gallons on the black market for 12 dollars and fifty cents. Still, on the way to a meeting, traffic is slow enough to be startled and delighted by the names the Haitians give their businesses: The Shekhina Food Shop, Adonai hardware and utensils, the El Shaddai School. Biblical language—and especially, apparently, sundry and profound varieties of Hebrew divine names—are burned into Haiti’s consciousness. The Biblical story of liberation from slavery resonates here. I wonder how it feels for my secular Israelis compatriots to see their own religious language—both strange and familiar to them writ large on sign boards in a place so far from home.
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Report from the Field: Tevel B’Tzedek in Haiti

Micha Odenheimer, founding director of Tevel b’Tzedek, is blogging from Haiti this week for Repair the World. For the past two months, nine volunteers from Tevel b’Tzedek have been working to support the communities devestated by the January 12 earthquake, running the only school in the Petitionville refugee camp. Read more about Tevel b’Tzedek’s work in Haiti tomorrow.

The Petionville refugee camp, stretched across what was, before the earthquake, a country club for the Haitian elite, houses some 60,000 people – it’s the largest refugee camp for the earthquake victims in country. Thousands of tents, constructed of red, yellow, blue or orange tarp, cover the rolling hills of the camp like strange plastic flowers; in the distance, you can see the sea. People from all over Port au Prince and from a cross section of Haitian society are living here—some come from crowded slums not much different than the camp, others are middle class families; all of their former lives, and often some of their closest relatives are buried in the rubble of their homes.

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