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Archive for : Pittsburgh

Beth Samuel’s small religious school perseveres through pandemic

This article originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle on February 15th, 2021.

Older students have hour-long Sunday experiential activities and discussions, complemented by asynchronous Hebrew language lessons, said Homich. During a recent session, a conversation about the Torah’s mandate to care for pets was followed by a crafting activity in partnership with Repair the World Pittsburgh. Participants made a chew toy for dogs and a catnip pretzel for cats. The items will be donated to the Beaver County Humane Society, and a future project is planned with PJ Library.

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Events to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

This article originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on January 15th, 2021.

Jewish nonprofit Repair the World and Shabbat dinner organizer OpenTable host a free virtual panel at 6 p.m. on unpacking and addressing racism in Pittsburgh’s education system in honor of Dr. King. Moderated by Benjamin Gutschow of Casa San Jose, a resource center for Latin immigrants, the panel includes Nina Barbuto, executive director of the arts and technology center Assemble, Allyce Pinchback Johnson of Pinchback Consulting and Amanda Godley of Pitt’s Graduate School of Education.

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Street Art and Agitprops

This article originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle on January 17th, 2021. 

Join Repair the World for Street Art and Agitprops, a temporary public virtual art workshop with DS Kinsel from Boom Concepts. Learn about temporary public art, discover how to express your voice, and create small scale public art to display in your neighborhood.

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Binds and Bonds: Processing Trauma with Art

This article originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle on January 17th, 2021. 

Join Repair the World for Binds and Bonds: Processing Trauma with Art, a workshop with Dafna Rehavia an artist, a counselor, and an art psychotherapist. Learn about Dafna’s creative practice and take a visual tour of her new art installation on display at BOOM Concepts. Participate in a creative and reflective activity using objects and materials from your home. You may want to create a 2 dimensional or 3-dimensional piece that will reflect on a significant event you experienced. You can also just let the materials lead you.

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Things to do this weekend from poetry unplugged to sweet honey in the rock

This article originally appeared in Next Pittsburgh on January 15th, 2021. 

Repair the World Pittsburgh MLK Day projects  were featured in  “Things to do this weekend” in NEXTpittsburgh. “There are so many ways to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by lending a helping hand in our local community. Volunteer in person or virtually during this four-day, citywide effort. Find an opportunity that’s right for you!”

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Community Agreements

Growing up with a strong commitment to both my Judaism and my desire to help others, I knew that after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2019 I wanted to serve with Repair the World. Before I began the Fellowship, I thought I had a good understanding of what it meant to serve my community and encourage others to do the same. I was wrong! There was more to learn about interacting with my community, especially while serving and engaging volunteers and community members. 

I have been serving with Repair the World Pittsburgh since August 2019 as an education justice Fellow, where I first was on a team with four other Fellows and served alongside nonprofit service partners. Now, in my second year as a Fellow, I am coordinating and facilitating our PeerCorps program, which provides meaningful service opportunities for Jewish teens. Repair works to mobilize Jews and their communities to take action to pursue a just world, igniting a lifelong commitment to service. 

At Repair, we have complex conversations and we are constantly learning by pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones to address the world’s injustices so we can better serve our communities. In order to have productive and respectful conversations around challenging topics, Repair has developed a best practice of Community Agreements. This practice involves thinking of and agreeing to a list of guidelines that all participants abide by during a conversation, enabling room for all people, thoughts, ideas and mistakes. 

What I slowly learned through these conversations and, by extension, Community Agreements, isthat while the practice aids in productive conversations, even more so it supports how we show up in our service work. 

I want to share five community agreement principles that have helped me not only in my work at Repair but also have enhanced the relationships I hold with my family, my friends, and the community at large. 

  1. Speak from an “I” place. Speak YOUR truth and YOUR experiences. When engaging in conversation with anyone, it is important that you don’t speak for anyone else. Show up with your own point of view. We know ourselves better than anyone else and it is important that we respect each other enough to not put words in their mouth.
  2. Make space, take space. If you have not shared your thoughts and experiences, move up, and participate in the conversation. If you have been speaking up a lot in conversation, take on the role of the active listener. In society, White people have dominated the conversation for hundreds of years. As a White person I had to understand that we have controlled the room, the conversation, the narrative, and have benefited from racist institutions. It is imperative now that we step back from the conversation and listen.
  3. Own your impact. While you may have not intended harm, you may have caused harm that impacted someone else. Even if you had the best of intentions, it doesn’t matter if you can’t take personal accountability for how your actions impacted someone else.
  4. Lean into discomfort. In life, we need to try new things, have difficult conversations, and admit mistakes in order to learn. It is hard to move forward in life if we do not try anything new or challenge ourselves. Ask for help, practice, and pivot when something is not working. It won’t always be easy, but the results are worth working for.
  5. Finally, attend to your needs. Take care of yourself first, before you can do the work to care for the people around you, your community. This will help you show up with the greatest resilience and deepest truth. This is not selfish and it doesn’t mean that you don’t care about others or want to help others. If you burn yourself out and do not take time to rejuvenate you can not effectively help others to the best of your ability. 

There are many more community agreements that are useful and important. To me, these five are the starting point. As you practice incorporating these into your life, remember one thing. Practice, practice, practice. (I guess that was really three things)! No one is perfect and conversations will not always go smoothly. But, if you try to integrate these community agreements into your daily interactions, I truly believe that the practice will only strengthen your relationships with your family, friends, and your community. 

Alyssa Berman is a Senior Fellow, coordinating and facilitating Repair the World Pittsburgh’s teen programing. She is passionate about building Jewish Community and you can usually find her on Zoom attending programs from the Young AdultDivision at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh or attending Repair events in other cities!

Community readies to commemorate two years since Oct. 27 shooting

This article originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle on October 19, 2020.

“The synagogue shooting was very traumatic for the community,” said Julie Mallis, city director of Repair the World Pittsburgh. “This service day is an opportunity for people to have something to look forward to where they can come together as a community and just do something that is going to make you feel good … It’s just basically a physical way of working through and processing grief and trauma.”

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Announcing the 40 Under 40 Honorees for 2020

This article originally appeared in Pittsburgh Magazine on August 25, 2020.

We are incredibly proud of Julie Mallis, City Director of Repair The World Pittsburgh, for being named one of Pittsburgh’s 40 Under 40 who through their life and work have enriched the Pittsburgh area!

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Repair the World’s Racial and Economic Justice Shabbat Dinner

This originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on January 20, 2020.

“The importance of this event was to understand the systemic roots of racial and economic injustices that have permeated our city,” said Savannah Parson, a senior fellow for Repair the World Pittsburgh. “We are proud to highlight the work that Open Hand Ministries, Circles Greater Pittsburgh and Cocoapreneur PGH are doing every day to eradicate these injustices.”

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Creating community through food

This originally appeared on Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle on November 20, 2019.

Coming from an observant Jewish family, tikkun olam — Hebrew for “repairing the world” — was central to my upbringing. My family regularly participated in social justice projects, including preparing meals for homeless shelters and packing food boxes at Manna, a community pantry in Potomac, Maryland.

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