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Archive for : Israel

Carmel Fire Relief: What You Can Do

Tonight is the 8th and final night of Hanukkah. As we light our candles and watch them burn slowly down, we do so with a heavy heart, aware that in Northern Israel a fire raged out of control for days, killing 42 people and destroying thousands of homes and businesses.

As many of us followed the destruction on the news, several organizations both in the U.S. and Israel, were mobilizing to help with the disaster response efforts, and all of them could use our assistance. Here is a list, which is by no means exhaustive, that covers a range of issues related to the recovery work being done, from housing to environmental restoration to animal welfare.
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Repair Update: Bring It In–Israel

In September, Repair interviewed David Lasday, the founder of Bring It In–Israel, which uses sports to connect kids and communities in Israel with young adults in the States. One of the key features of his program and organization is the Israel Fellowship, which lasts four months and offers Jewish adults (18-24) who are studying and working in the country the opportunity to be certified as Israel Education Sports Coaches by volunteering with underprivileged youth. Lasday hopes to teach “life skills” to the children through athletic, team oriented activities.
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Repair Interview: David Lasday and Bring it In

David Lasday has been playing sports his whole life – now he is using his passion to inspire kids and connect communities in Israel and the States through his new organization Bring it In – Israel. The organization’s Israel fellowship offers young Jews (18-24) the opportunity to become certified Jewish sport coaches by volunteering with disadvantaged youth throughout Israel.

David took a few minutes to talk to Repair the World about the power of sports in community building, the values and life skills one learns on the court, and his intention to help “create a new kind of sports hero.”
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Report From the Field: Latest Dispatch from HIAS Volunteer in Kenya

Amy Schwartz, PR/Communications fellow at the HIAS Refugee Trust of Kenya (HRTK), is blogging from Kenya this summer for HIAServe and Repair the World. This is her second update, you can read her first post here. Amy will be a fellow at HRTK until the end of August, and will continue to update us from the field.

To begin, check out the mini-documentary about the dreams and struggles of a Jewish youth group in Uganda, the Abayudaya Youth Association.
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Tuesday/Elul Link Roundup

As we enter into the month of Elul – the month leading up to the high holidays – self-reflection is on the brain. Did we live the past year in the way that we hoped? Where are we now, and where might we like to be in the coming year, personally, professionally, spiritually and inter-relationally?

Amichai Lau Lavie, founder of the organization Storahtelling thought up (and will be blogging daily over at Jewcy.com about) the brilliant notion of pre-penting: “a 40-day self-reflection project, a journey/crash course/blog/conversation, off and online.” Check it out over at Jewcy, and to get your started in a reflective mindset for today, here are some service related stories and opportunities to get involved from around the blogosphere.

CHECK IT OUT

  • (JTA) The media has been buzzing lately about billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s commitment to give away vast amounts of their fortunes to charity, and their call to the world’s other uber-elite to do the same. JTA’s philanthropy blogger, The Fundermentalist looks at the dozens of Jewish millionaires and billionaires who took the pledge.
  • (Rocket Lance) An online job board for freelance computer developers takes a look at the company’s real impact – and decides to make some positive changes.
  • (Jewish Agency for Israel) A group of people from the Jewish Federation in Rhode Island travelled to Israel to meet the people behind the programs they support.
  • (Learn and Serve) An inspiring personal essay about choosing to do service-learning. (And an opportunity to share your own service-learning story.)
  • (Forward) A sweet and funny poem about the three Jewish Supreme Court Justices.

GET INVOLVED

  • (Global Giving) Give financial support to the people impacted by the recent flooding in Pakistan. Just $15 will help provide a whole family with necessary personal hygiene supplies.

Influential Women Rabbis: In Service as Well as Congregations

Last month, Newsweek released it’s list of the 50 most influential rabbis in America. And as in other years, the list fell short in fully capturing the accomplishments of the country’s female rabbis. So the Forward took things into its own hands, releasing the Sisterhood 50, which focuses solely on 50 women rabbis in America (and 5 in Israel for good measure).

Just like the New York Jewish Week’s 36 Under 36 list, the Sisterhood 50 is chock full of women rabbis who are using their influence to inspire strong service-minded communities. Of course, becoming a rabbi is in itself a lifelong commitment to service, but these women are going above and beyond. Here are some of the highlights:
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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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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.

CHECK IT OUT

  • (NJ.com) 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.

GET INVOLVED

  • (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!

Young Judeans Reach Out to Israel’s Sudanese Refugees

Young Judea’s Year Course – a nine-month program for recent high school graduates who want to immerse themselves in learning, cultural exchange and service in Israel – is an increasingly popular way for students to spend their “gap year” between graduating high school and starting college. There are numerous program options that allow students to tailor their trip to their interests. And then there are students like Noah Berman and Sean Macdonald who start their own.

A year prior to starting Year Course, Berman and Macdonald participated in a Young Judea summer program Machon, where they were exposed to many facets of life in Israel, including the community of Sudanese and Darfurian refugees living in Israel. Inspired by the plight of this community, many of whom have faced discrimination and poverty throughout their lives, they and a group of other students decided to create an extra volunteer track for Year Course participants.

The result was Garin Tzedek, a program that engaged more than 50 Year Course volunteers in working with the refugee community. According to Berman, there are approximately 20,000-25,000 African refugees currently living in Israel, of which 35-45% are Sudanese or Darfuri. They primarily live in Tel Aviv’s Shapira neighborhood, Eilat, Be’er Sheva and Arad (where the Year Course participants primarily worked.) During their year, the volunteers taught English to members of the community, helped to set up a health clinic, fundraised and raised awareness across Israel about the community’s needs.
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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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