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Archive for : Healthcare

Weekly Torah: Parshat Bamidbar 5770

This post is part of a weekly series of Torah commentaries presented by the American Jewish World Service. It was contributed by Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster.

At the beginning of Parshat Bamidbar, God asks Moses to “take a census of the whole Israelite community” ((Numbers 1:2.)) in the desert as a prelude to the people’s eventual entry into the Land of Israel: The Hebrew word for community, edah, is most often used to mean the entire nation; ((Milgrom, Jacob. The JPS Torah Commentary: Numbers. The Jewish Publication Society: Philadelphia, 1989, p. 4, comment on Numbers 1:2.)) but here, rather than serving as a comprehensive detailing of the entire people, the census has a narrow focus. Those to be counted are “every male…from the age of twenty years up, all those in Israel who are able to bear arms.” ((Numbers 1:2-3.)) The snapshot of the Israelites that Moses is being asked to take includes only those adult males who can serve in the army. Everyone else just doesn’t count.
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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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Thursday Link Roundup

Here are some inspiring service-related bits and bytes to read with your morning coffee:


  • By now you’ve likely seen Google’s amazing new “Search On” advertisement tracking a US to Paris love story. Now check out the cute parody about radical Jewish activist Emma Goldman.
  • JTA: Read this inspiring story about Jewish doctor, Rick Hodes’, lifesaving work in Ethiopia – and the new HBO documentary film and book about him.
  • The state of Michigan is facing serious budget woes and high unemployment rates. In a wonderfully proactive move, the government is conducting a 10-city listening tour called “Michigan’s Voices for Volunteerism” to hear public input about how to expand service and people-to-people support within the state.
  • Forward: The first woman ordained as a Conservative rabbi, Amy Eilberg, reflects on her past 25 years in service, and the state of women’s rights within the Jewish community.


  • Philanthropy News Digest: Nominations are now being accepted for the 2010 Mario Savio Young Activist Award. If you know an young (16-26) activist who is doing outstanding work in the fields of social change, promoting peace, human rights, economic or social justice, or freedom of expression, nominate them by June 30, here.
  • To Mama With Love In honor of Mothers’ Day – coming up this Sunday, May 9 – an amazing organization is offering people the chance to send their mom a sweet online shout out, while raising money to build homes for kids in need.

Yaldeinu Young Leaders Travel to Cuba

Last month, six young Jewish leaders travelled from their home in Canada to Cuba. Along with them, they brought thousands of dollars worth of medical equipment (to donate to families in need) and a curiosity about Cuba’s small, but tight-knit Jewish community.

Their trip was organized by Yaldeinu, a Toronto-based organization “dedicated to providing formal and informal Jewish education to Jewish children and young adults in Israel and developing countries.” Yaldeinu’s main programs center around providing scholarship money for students in developing countries to attend day school education and bringing kids from countries with a small Jewish population (e.g. Bolivia, where the community stands around 300 people) for a summer camp experience in Canada.
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NYC Hillels Join Together for Social Action Sunday

Last Sunday, more than 80 students from seven New York City Hillels joined together in a day of service and study in the Big Apple.

Social Action Sunday offered a wide array of service projects throughout the five boroughs in the morning (partnering with local Jewish and non-Jewish organizations), then drew the students together for an afternoon program at Columbia/Barnard Hillel, which included a speaker and a service fair where they met with organizations that offer further opportunities for social action and service.
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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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