Archive for : Opportunities

Supporting Workers’ Rights on the 100th Anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

100 years ago today, a fire struck New York’s Triangle Shirtwaist Company building. The fire, which was likely caused by an accidental cigarette tossed into a waste bin, spread quickly – trapping hundreds of garment workers (mostly women) inside, and killing over 150 people.

The Forward (then called The Forverts) founder, Abraham Cahan, wrote a stark editorial two days after the fire which read: “The entire neighborhood is sitting shiva. Every heart is torn in mourning. The human heart is drowning in tears. What a catastrophe! What a dark misfortune!”
Read more

Help Japan Now!

This morning, the island nation of Japan was hit by a series of severe earthquakes — including its largest in over 100 years (8.9 magnitude) — which was subsequently followed by a devastating tsunami that has wreaked untold havoc upon Japan’s coastal cities. While the full scale of the destruction is still uknown, over a thousand people have already been pronounced dead, hundreds more are missing, and thousands are now left without homes, schools and jobs. At this time, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this tragedy and their loved ones.

While, with any disaster, it is far too early to assess what opportunities may exist for both skilled and unskilled volunteers to assist in recovery efforts, one can take immediate action by giving charitably to organizations that are providing assistance to agencies on the ground in Japan.
Read more

Three Voices, One Goal: Jewish Service in Participants’ Own Words

What does Jewish service look like? Turns out, the answer to that question is as varied as the people engaging in the service itself.

For some, it’s about digging their hands in the dirt and literally repairing the world by planting a community garden; for others, it’s about helping under-served Jewish populations connect to their faith; and for others still, it’s about deepening their understanding of an important – and sometimes painful – global issue, and then acting on what they’ve learned. Below the jump, you’ll find quotes from participants of three recent service trips. Their inspiring words and stories help to illuminate the many diverse faces and experiences of Jewish service today.
Read more

Finding Service in the Garden

In Jewish tradition, a Bar Mitzvah is typically considered to be a celebration of religious achievements, and an affirmation of one’s membership in the Jewish community. For me, on the other hand, becoming a Bar Mitzvah meant a celebration of the end of my religious school obligations. By the time I turned 13, Judaism had come to connote confusion and duty in my life. I was plagued by the intangibility of spirituality and faith, and bothered by the sense that there was a certain way to “be a Jew” in my community. I had never been encouraged to pursue my faith beyond the boundaries of attending synagogue on the High Holy Days or sitting obediently in services. I saw no appealing options to find Judaism outside of the “cookie-cutter” model of suburban Judaism I’d always experienced. Following my Bar Mitzvah, I felt minimal desire to continue my pursuit of religion.

Then in December 2008, while I was a sophomore at Michigan State University, I decided to join an alternative spring break program in California hosted by Hillel and facilitated by The Jewish Farm School. Maybe it was the weather that attracted me – golden California sunshine certainly seemed like the prefect antidote to Michigan’s ice and snow. Or perhaps it was the opportunity to spend spring break at Oz Farm (an organic farm about three hours north of San Francisco), planting the fields, cooking, eating and singing with the other participants. I did not feel a particular draw to advance my Jewish studies, but as a kid from suburban Detroit, farming was foreign and the thought of spending a week on a farm was an intriguing concept. So with the help of the Hillel staff I signed up and, luckily, was accepted to attend.
Read more

Service Opportunities for Winter/Spring

Warm weather may still be several weeks away, but the opportunities for service and learning this winter/spring are definitely beginning to heat up. Read below and find out how you can plug into a season of service.
Read more