Archive for : Opportunities

High Holidays 2013: 10 Days of Awe, 10 Ways to Serve

The high holidays are nearly here! In just a few days (starting the evening of September 4), Rosh Hashanah – aka the Jewish New Year – kicks off of the high holiday season. A little more than a week later we come to Yom Kippur, which is considered the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.

The 10 days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, often called the “days of awe,” are a joyful time filled with family and celebration. They are also a very solemn and important time when Jewish people turn inward and reflect upon their lives, relationships, and spirituality. In doing so, they aim to return to the best versions of themselves, and set good intentions for the coming year.

The high holiday season also offers an amazing opportunity to make a commitment to service and helping others. So in honor of the 10 Days of Awe, Repair the World is bringing you 10 ways to serve during – and after – the high holiday season. To amp up the high holiday spirit even further, each service opportunity is linked to a symbol of either Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur.

Learn more about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur’s significance, traditions, and connections to service, and have a shana tova / happy new year!

APPLES
Tradition: There is a custom of eating apples on Rosh Hashanah. Their sweetness and round shape represent our hopes for a sweet and full New Year.
How to serve: Help the farmers who grow those apples – and all the produce we eat! Shop at the farmer’s market, find where to get local food near you via Local Harvest, and check out our partner organizations, Jewish Farm School, Adamah, and Urban Adamah.

HONEY
Tradition: Those delicious apples get dipped in honey, which represents even more sweetness.
How to serve: Support the pollinators! Sponsor a honeybee hive through The Honeybee Conservancy.

SHOFAR
Tradition: The shofar, a sacred instrument made out of a ram’s horn, is blown throughout the high holidays to punctuate the services, focus our thoughts and prayers, and call people to justice and action.
How to serve: Volunteer for campaigns and organizations that work to “sound a call for justice” in their own way – check out the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable, Bend the Arc, and Jews United for Justice.

PRAYER BOOK
Tradition: Throughout Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we read from a special prayer book called the machzor.
How to serve: Books and reading are important for everyone! Volunteer at your local Reach Out and Read chapter to support early childhood literacy.

SYNAGOGUE
Tradition: Many people attend spiritual prayer services during the high holidays – it’s kind of like Superbowl Sunday for synagogues!
How to serve: If you belong to or attend a synagogue, check out their event calendar online. Chances are, there are lots of ways to plug in and help out. And read this awesome story in Tablet about how a bar mitzvah boy focused his mitzvah project on saving a synagogue in Selma, Alabama.

POMEGRANATES
Tradition: Some communities have a custom of eating pomegranates on the second night of Rosh Hashanah. The bountiful seeds inside represent our wishes for abundant joy in the coming year. Some people also say that a pomegranate has 613 seeds, which represent the 613 commandments in the Torah.
How to serve: Think about ways that you could bring “abundant joy” to someone you love. Do one of them during the Days of Awe, and watch their face light up.

TASHLICH
Tradition: On Rosh Hashanah, there is a custom of symbolically casting off one’s sins, by throwing bits of bread into a natural body of water.
How to serve: Help to ensure that all people have access to clean water. Support the work of organizations like Charity Water and take action by writing a letter to Congress in support of the Water for the World Act.

FASTING
Tradition: There is a tradition of fasting on Yom Kippur as a way of putting aside bodily needs for the day and focusing instead on reflection and prayer.
How to serve: Make a commitment to ensure that people have access to the food they need to survive. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, contribute to the work at the Food Bank for New York City, or a local food bank near you, or make a donation to Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger.

FORGIVENESS
Tradition: On Yom Kippur we ask forgiveness of others and of God for any wrong doings from the previous year. We also are asked to forgive – an act that can be even more difficult!
How to serve: Write a list of people in your life you would like to ask forgiveness from. Call them, email them, or meet them in person and tell them how you feel. You might be surprised by how good you feel after.

FAMILY
Tradition: Both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur offer opportunities for people to gather together and spend time with family and friends.
How to serve: Support families by supporting women and children in developing countries. Check out the Half the Sky Movement to find out how you can make a difference.

The Winners of our National Volunteer Month Photo Contest!

This, April, we challenged you to put 5 minutes, a week, a year, or whatever you could to join us in celebrating National Volunteer Month – and we hope that you’re a little more inspired to continue volunteer activities not just in April, but all year round!

Here at Repair, we loved seeing the awesome stuff you were doing in your communities – and around the world in our National Volunteer Month Photo Contest, which really highlights just how much you could not only give of yourselves, but share.

We were inspired and impressed by your awesome volunteer stories (and photog abilities!) and you’re all winners in our book! Alas, we could only choose a few folks — those who really stood out by getting the word out about their great work. Check out some of the outstanding entries we received, followed by our official announcement of the Biggest Sharers! Drumroll please….

NVM Contest Conclusion

 

The Biggest Sharers!

SWAG BAG Grand Prize……………Francesca Garrett for her photo of Medic Mobile!

Tote Bag Winner…………… Gary Rozman

Tote Bag Winner…………… Mallory Brown

Tote Bag Winner……………Marci M.

Tote Bag Winner……………Jacob S.

Tote Bag Winner……………Michael H.

Tote Bag Winner……………Lisa Podell

Tote Bag Winner……………Erica M.

MANY thanks to ALL who participated! To learn more about the photos featured, visit our Photo Contest Facebook Album, or follow us on Twitter @repairtheworld.

…And good news: we think EVERY month should be national volunteer month! Continue to submit your photos ALL YEAR ROUND for a chance to win Repair swag and show off your service snapshots!

 

 

Help Boston Recover

This morning, President Obama visited Boston to attend an interfaith service in honor of the people who were injured or killed during the bombing at the Boston Marathon. As of now, the details of the two bombings remain unclear. What is clear is how, as always happens in times of tragedy, the people of Boston and people across the country came together to help one another and show that love is stronger than fear. Here are some ways you can help now:

DONATE
One Fund Boston – Help the impacted families recover from injuries sustained during the marathon. This fund, set up by Massachusetts’ Governor Deval Patrick, and Boston’s Mayor Tom Menino will help the families most affected.
Give Forward – Support one family that was seriously impacted by the bombings.

DO:
Run in Brooklyn for Boston Join other runners this Saturday for a solidarity run. There are similar runs going on across the country.
Register your family Register at the Red Cross’s Safe and Well listing, a central location for people to find out news about their loved ones after emergency events.

Do you know of other opportunities to help the victims and families impacted by the Boston marathon bombing? Let us know by tweeting @repairtheworld #Boston.

National Volunteer Month: Take GOOD’s Service Pledge

goods pledgeHappy National Volunteer Month! All April long, Repair the World will be sharing stories, fun opportunities and tips to help you give back  in all sorts of  ways. We’ll also highlight great causes to get involved with. Check out today’s feature , and tweet your service tips and stories to @repairtheworld #NationalVolunteerMonth.

Got 20 hours to spare? (Over the course of a year that is…). We have a feeling you do.

GOOD is challenging people to put those hours to productive use by taking the 1% pledge. This cool campaign asks that you spend 1 percent of your work hours this year “changing a small corner of your world for the better.”

Sounds good to us.

Think about it: 20 hours is just half of a standard work week; it’s less time than it takes to watch a season of your favorite television show. Heck, it’s fewer hours than there are in the day! If you dedicated those hours towards doing good, how might you change your community? Or the world?

Head on over to GOOD and take the 1% percent challenge. Chances are, you’ll feel pretty “good” that you did.

National Volunteer Month: Pro Bono Volunteering

Happy National Volunteer Month! All April long, Repair the World will be sharing stories, fun opportunities and tips to help you serve at all different levels and in all different ways. We’ll also highlight great causes to get involved with. Check out today’s feature, and tweet your service tips and stories to @repairtheworld #NVM.

All volunteering takes skill and energy. But beyond signing up to staff a soup kitchen for one evening, spending the afternoon at an animal shelter, or organizing a book drive, another type of service helps make a big difference by using our skills and talents: pro bono volunteering.

According to Idealist.org, pro bono volunteering refers to people “volunteering their professional skills to assist nonprofit organizations in creating or improving their business practices.” Examples of pro bono volunteering include a lawyer who advises on cases for a non-profit organization, free of charge, a doctor who volunteers abroad, or a social media whiz who helps a community group spread their message. More and more organizations are beginning to rely on pro bono help. With resources and budgets shrinking all the time, this free, skilled labor becomes increasingly necessary to help organizations meet their goals and change the world.

Sure it helps to have a specific degree or lots of professional experience in the field you’re offering to volunteer in, but almost anyone can be a pro bono volunteer. Idealist suggests considering the following questions:

What are you good at?
What comes easy for you?
What aspects of your professional life might be assets to an organization or community effort?
What personal or interpersonal talents do you have?

Once you have these questions figured out, you can find an organization that is looking for someone with exactly these skills. Put your expertise to use! Find a pro bono volunteering opportunity via Taproot, Idealist, or Catchafire.

Already a pro bono volunteer? Let us know how you serve by tweeting @repairtheworld #NationalVolunteerMonth.

JustCity Offers a Pre-College Summer Program in Service and Social Justice

Hey high school sophomores and juniors: what are you doing this summer? If the idea of living in NYC, learning about social change, and making a difference sounds like an ideal way to spend your break, then consider JustCity: A Fellowship for Jewish Social Entrepreneurship.

Created by the Jewish Theological Seminary in partnership with AVODAH, USY, and the National Ramah Commission, JustCity is a brand-spanking new pre-college summer program that offers the opportunity to deepen Jewish learning, live on a college campus, strengthen leadership skills, learn from change-makers in every field, and be a hands-on part of advancing service and social justice.

JustCity’s Director, Aliyah Vinikoor, filled us in about this innovative and exciting summer opportunity. Find out more, and learn how to apply (before May 1) below!

How did the JustCity program come about?
Tikkun Olam is really woven into JTS’ mission as a school. We already have a Fellowship in Jewish social entrepreneurship, which is a year long intensive program for students who want to develop the skills they need to go into Jewish service and leadership. That’s a program that helps our students cultivate a connection between social action and Jewish identity. More recently we realized that high schoolers are also participating in this work, and have a desire to put their passion for Jewish social justice into action – but don’t necessarily have a forum to develop leadership and organizing skills. We developed JustCity as a pre-college summer program to provide that.

What are the what/when/where/why/who specifics of the program?
The program will run for the month of July, and is meant for Jewish high school students going into their junior or senior years. They will live in the dorms, eat in the cafeteria, and get a good sense of college life. In the mornings they’ll take a text-based course on social action. These classes will be taught by leaders in the social justice field, and will lay the ground work for the work they do later in the day. In the afternoon they’ll volunteer for organizations that do environmental work, community organizing, work with the elderly, work with kids, and work in many other fields.

What about social time and down time?
For our launch year, which is this year, we’re hoping to have a small cohort of 25-50 participants, so that we can really build community. In the evenings a couple times a week they will have a formal dinner with a JTS professor or a leader in the Jewish social justice community. There will also be field trips, fun excursions like going to a Mets game or going fishing in Central Park, networking opportunities, and a lot of free time for them to just explore the city independently. We’ll also offer a college prep component with skills based classes in how to write an essay or resume, how to put together a portfolio or start a job search.

How can people apply?
Applications are up online right now. The deadline is technically May 1, but we’re accepting students on a rolling basis. I’ve been getting a lot of calls and emails from interested students, so there’s a lot of momentum – we’re really excited to see where the first cohort goes!

Hey NYC: Here’s Your Chance!

You asked us to make it easy to make a difference, and now we’re asking you to show up (for our iMentor info session!)

You’ve heard us wax poetic about how students with mentors do better in school, how they have higher self-esteem, and how they go to do great things in college. If statistics like these or our slew of blog posts have sparked your curiosity, then join us on Tuesday, February 5th to find out how you can make a major impact on the life of a local teen.

From 7:00pm – 8:15pm at Repair the World headquarters, representatives from NYC’s premiere mentoring organization, iMentor, will join us to explain why busy young professionals really do have the time and resources it takes to be an awesome role model. By combining virtual mentoring with pre-organized, in-person group meetings, iMentor makes mentoring easy and impactful for both mentors and mentees.

iMentor is an incredible organization that builds mentoring relationships that empower students in low-income communities in New York City to graduate high school, succeed in college, and achieve their ambitions. Students work with their mentors one-on-one, in-person and online to develop strong personal relationships, nurture a college aspiration, navigate the college application process, and build critical skills that lead to college success. iMentor supports both student and mentor with a college success curriculum, and support from their rock star staff. Best of all, they have the track record that proves you’ll be making an impact:  74% of seniors in their College Transition Program enrolled in college in 2011.

Convinced? Sign-up to attend our joint info session HERE!