Archive for : Issues

Sukkot: The Original House Party

This post was created in partnership with NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation. Repair the World teamed up with NEXT’s Sukkot Holiday Guide to offer ways you can give back this holiday season. Find out how below. 

Sukkot is the Jewish calendar’s official “house party” holiday. During the week-long celebration, people invite friends and family over to eat in their Sukkahs and stargaze through the roof, which is made of natural materials woven loosely enough so that the stars peek through at night. Some particularly hearty folks even sleep in their Sukkahs!

With all its focus on the outdoors, Sukkot also gives us a chance to think more deeply about a basic human need: shelter—and about our good fortune in having permanent housing. On any given day, nearly 700,000 Americans have no home in which to sleep. And according to United Nations estimates, nearly 1 billion people worldwide live in inadequate or unsafe housing situations like slums.

During Sukkot, we have a week-long opportunity to fulfill the Jewish obligation to “welcome the stranger” into our temporary dwellings. Although this custom is rarely taken literally, it reminds us to remember the needs of others in the midst of our celebration. In that same spirit, check out these resources and organizations working to fight homelessness in America and abroad:


  • On1Foot – Find out more about the Jewish tradition’s views on homelessness and hospitality during Sukkot from AJWS’ social justice text database. (Search “Sukkot”)
  • My Jewish Learning – Read about the Jewish mandate that everyone have access to adequate and permanent housing.
  • National Coalition for the Homeless – Find more statistical information about homelessness in America.
  • Sulam Center – Check out this comprehensive round up of Jewish texts relating to homelessness.


  • Habitat for Humanity – A nonprofit organization that builds simple, decent, affordable housing in partnership with people in need.
  • Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty – One of New York’s largest human services agencies fighting against poverty, which runs several residencies for people who are homeless throughout the city.
  • National Alliance to End Homelessness – A nationwide federation of public, private and nonprofit organizations all devoted to ending homelessness in America.
  • National Coalition for the Homeless – A national organization advocating for the rights of people who are homeless.
  • Veahavta – A Jewish humanitarian organization in Toronto that runs a “mobile Jewish response to the homeless van,” delivering meals, clothing and support to homeless people across the city.
  • Washington, D.C. JCC – The JCC runs the “Behrend Builders” program, which connects volunteers to service opportunities helping to rebuild low-income family homes, homeless shelters, and other vital community spaces in the city.

More on Sukkot from Repair the World:

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Monday Link Roundup

Happy Monday! Get your week started off right with your regular dose of inspiring service and social justice-related posts from around the web.

  • The Huffington Post featured an article and video about an awesome kid in Detroit who hosted a popcorn and lemonade stand to raise money for his city.
  • TakePart indulged people with Olympic fever by rounding up a list of do-gooding Olympic athletes who give back to their communities.
  • GOOD shared the hidden costs (to the environment and our health) behind the hamburgers we eat. Turns out, eating one less hamburger per week makes a BIG difference.
  • GOOD also made the case that the green movement needs their equivalent of a “Marlboro Man.”
  • Hands On Blog reminded readers that volunteering as a family is not only fun, it benefits everyone involved.

Your Guide to Pride

June is LGBT Pride Month, – a month that remembers the Stonewall Riots of 1969, while honoring the impact that LGBT community has had – and are having – around the world!

Repair the World wishes to honor this special month by offering some exciting ways you can get involved to advocate for a life of equality. We’re also highlighting some amazing LGBTQ heroes who are working to end hate across the world.

Inspiring People from the LGBTQ Community

Fagyele Ben MiriamFaygele Ben Miriam, Same-Sex Marriage’s Jewish Pioneer
Tablet Magazine profiles the incredible activist career of Faygele ben Miriam – a man who started Washington state’s battle over marriage more than 40 years ago. Written by Pulitzer Prizer winner Eli Sanders. This is a MUST read. Read more »

Brittany McMillanBrittany McMillan, Founder of #SpiritDay
At just 15, Brittany ignited a national movement in support of LGBTQ youth when she started Spirit Day. What began in 2010 as a Tumblr page devoted to the memory of LGBTQ or LGBTQ-perceived teens who lost their lives to suicide, turned into a global event that inspires millions of people to wear purple each year in a stand against bullying. Learn more »

Noam ParnessNoam Parness, LGBTQ community organizer, activist, volunteer & all-around rock star
Noam Parness is a 22-year old rising senior at Queens College (and all around inspiring guy), who organizes for the LGBTQ community – both on campus and off. Noam took some time out of his schedule to talk about speaking on National Coming Out Day, the importance of building coalitions within a movement, and how Jewish tradition fuels his work. Learn more »

Upcoming LGBTQ events and opportunities

BornsteinKate Bornstein at Beit Simchat Torah Congregation
On June 22, meet the inspiring Kate Bornstein, Jewish transgender activist, theorist, playwright & performer. Her book, “Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws” is an underground best seller, propelling Kate into an international position of advocacy for marginalized youth. She’s been honored by the NYC Council, received Keshet’s Hachamat Lev award, and garnered praise from civil rights groups around the globe. Learn more »

LGBTQ Teen ShabbatonCelebrate being yourself! Jewish LGBTQ Teen Shabbaton
This August, join Jewish LGBTQ and allied teens for a weekend of fun, social activities and supportive learning sessions at the Isabella Freedman. Presented in partnership with Keshet and UJA-Federation of New York. Learn more »

Camp PrideCAMP PRIDE Summer Leadership Camp
Let’s go camp! Now you can develop friendships for a lifetime with other LGBTQ and ally college students, build your leadership skills and take action as a social justice advocate for a safer and more inclusive campus. Learn more »

Ways to Get Involved

GLSENStart a GSA at your school!
Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) are student clubs that work to improve school climate for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Did you know that the first GSA was the idea of a straight student? Find out how to start your own GSA or join an existing network. Learn more »

Trevor ProjectVolunteer with The Trevor Project!
Every day, The Trevor Project saves young lives through its free and confidential lifeline, in-school workshops, educational materials, online resources and advocacy. Trevor recognizes that volunteers are the backbone of the organization, and offers ways to get involved at all ages. Are you interested in volunteering? Learn more »

Human Rights CampaignVolunteer with Human Rights Campaign!
Volunteering with HRC empowers you to be an important part in creating change for our country. Work with HRC to educate the public about critical issues in the LGBTQ community, mobilize your community to take action, expand the voice and visibility of the LGBTQ community, and bolster a a nationwide effort to end hate and discrimation. Learn more »

Pledge to Speak out against intolerance!

It Gets Better ProjectIt Gets Better Project
Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are, and growing up isn’t easy. The It Gets Better Project was created to show young LGBTQ people the leavels of happiness, potential and positivity their lives will reach – if they can just get through their teen years.. Pledge to speak up against hate and intolerance. Learn more »

The Bully ProjectThe Bully Project
A year ago, BBYO teens launched Stand UP for Each Other: A Campaign for Respect and Inclusion, a grassroots effort focused on creating safe and welcome communities for all Jewish teens. Show your support for the Stand UP Campaign by helping BBYO and The Bully Project raise awareness around this very serious issue and put an end to bullying. Learn more »

Do Not Stand Idly ByDo Not Stand Idly By, a Jewish Community Pledge to Save Lives
Do Not Stand Idly By asks the Jewish community to pledge to end homophobic bullying and harrassment of any kind in our synagogues, schools, organizations, and communities. As a signatory, you are supporting an fully inclusive Jewish community, and pledging to speak out when witnessing intolerance. Learn more »

More resources

Check out these additional resources on how to help make this world a more inclusive society for all.

So, how will you make this world a better place? Let us know @repairtheworld.


Remembering Haiti

Two years ago on this day, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake took the lives of over 300,000 Haitians, displacing thousands and thousands more, and causing vast amounts of damage to the region. Like many natural disasters and world-events, the earthquake may have happened two years ago, but its impact is still felt today. Today, one and a half million people are still displaced, 550,000 people continue to live in camps, and the number of orphans nearly doubled. Thanks to the support of devoted volunteers, NGOs and service-workers who rushed down, some progress has been made. According to the The Huffington Post, 50% of the debris has been removed and 20% has been recycled. Nearly 369,000 people have been provided access to clean water, 2.4 million with health services and hygiene education, and 3 million with cholera treatment prevention. But the work is far from done.

As global citizens – and as Jews – we are responsible for helping to alleviate each others’ suffering. Below are some ways you can still give your time and effort to help Haiti in its efforts to rebuild:

Volunteer, Support & Learn

  • AJWS: AJWS’ long-standing partnerships in the region made it possible for them to respond within 48 hours of the earthquake.  Today, AJWS funds 40 extraordinary organizations in Haiti and is a leader in the U.S.-based movement for Haitian-led redevelopment.
  • JDC’s Inside Haiti: Volunteer with JDC in the fields of medical assistance, educational support and humanitarian relief.
  • Tevel B’tzedek’s Haiti Program: The IsraAID – Tevel b’Tzedek delegation began its work in Haiti one month after the quake. They’ve been implementing community development techniques such as women and youth groups and informal education in three villages in the Leogan district ever since.
  • Habitat for Humanity: Habitat’s commitment to Haiti dates back 27 years before the 2010 earthquake. Today, they continue to be a leading organization in helping to rebuild Haiti.
  • Aid Still Required:  “Just because it left the headlines, doesn’t mean it left the planet.” Aid Still Required has helped support Haiti’s growth to self-sufficiency, including women’s empowerment efforts, child services, and reforestation. Use hashtag #AidStillRequired to spread the word about Haiti.
  • American Red Cross: Two years after the Haiti earthquake, the American Red Cross is helping Haitian people rebuild their homes and their lives and improving communities with health, water and sanitation projects.
  • Interested in hosting a text study on disaster relief in general? Check out this resource for texts which explore a moral obligation to respond to humanitarian crises.


Watch a Movie, Feed the Hungry

If you are fortunate enough to catch a screening of Ready, Set, Bag! in a movie theater, you will be doing more than just supporting a delightful independent film about state champions as they prepare for the National Grocers Best Bagger Competition. You will also be feeding the hungry. A dollar from each ticket sale is donated to a local food bank. This is the film distribution strategy of Oren Jacob, the film’s executive producer and his wife, co-director and producer, Justine Jacob.

The initial idea was not their own. It originated at film festivals in Austin, TX and Prescott, AZ where local organizers suggested that the pair do a fundraiser with the local food bank. “And it was just a really fun event,” Oren recalls of those first two screenings. “The audience was super stoked. They saw a fun, entertaining film and at the same time helped support the food banks and fed folks in their communities. When we decided to take the film out ourselves, we thought we should just do the same.” During the course of a single 100 person screening, they generate enough in donations to purchase 400-500 meals.
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Chile and Volunteer Fatigue

When an 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti in January, it seemed like the entire world jumped up to help. As the media swerved its attention to the devastated country, donations poured into relief agencies via websites and text messages, volunteer medical teams and people wanting to help flew in, and stars like Wyclef, Justin Timberlake, and Alicia Keys headlined high profile benefit concerts, all in support of Haiti.

The global response to last week’s earthquake in Chile, in contrast, has been rather muted. There have been no flashy benefit concerts and far fewer volunteers and donations funneling to the area. One tragedy captured the world’s heart, while the other seems to have fallen just below the radar screens.

And it got me wondering, have we been overcome by volunteer fatigue (and its cousin, donor fatigue)?
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