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Archive for : Repair the World

#Give828 – Support Black-led Service Partners

At the heart of our work of mobilizing Jews and their communities to take action to pursue a just world is a commitment to service through an anti-racist lens. Today, Repair the World is joining #Give828, a national day of giving focused specifically on supporting Black-led and Black-benefitting organizations. 

#Give828 isn’t like other fundraising campaigns. This day takes place during Black Philanthropy Month and commemorates multiple important events in Black American history, including the murder of Emmett Till, the delivery of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, DC, the landfall of Hurricane Katrina, and then-Senator Barack Obama’s acceptance of the Democratic nomination for president.

#Give28 2020 comes at a critical time. The disproportionate deaths in Black communities from COVID-19 and the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many other unarmed Black Americans that have sparked waves of protests illustrate the urgent and ongoing need for resources that directly support Black communities. Today, we’re highlighting Black-led service partners throughout our Repair the World Communities, and we hope you’ll join us in making a gift to support their critical work as we express the Jewish value of התחזקות [heet-chaz-koot], strengthening one another.

Atlanta

  • The Southwest Ecumenical Emergency Assistance Center (SWEEAC) serves more than 48,000 families & distributes over 1,000,000 pounds of food to families in the communities of Atlanta. https://www.sweeac.org/donate
  • Rebecca’s Tent provides basic comforts and offers life skills training, access to community resources and the essential human services needed to help women rise up and work toward stability and independence. https://rebeccastent.org/
  • PAW Kids provides community support and activities to support holistic development and build self-confidence. https://www.pawkids.org/get-involved

Baltimore

  • The Safe Alternative Foundation for Education provides learning opportunities in West Baltimore and hosts one of Repair Baltimore’s VolunTeams, a group of volunteers who visit the center once a month to do career workshops. https://www.safealternative.org/donate

Brooklyn

Chicago

  • My Block, My Hood, My City provides underprivileged youth with an awareness of the world and opportunities beyond their neighborhood by taking students on explorations focused on STEM, arts & culture, citizenry & volunteerism, and more. https://www.formyblock.org/

Detroit

  • The Georgia Street Community Collective combines community gardening and gathering spaces for youth in Detroit,. http://www.georgiastreetcc.com/
  • N.E.W. L.E.A.F. Detroit is an environmental organization that aims to educate people about climate change, as well as assist them in adapting to a more eco-friendly lifestyle. https://www.newleafdetroit.org/take-action

Harlem

Miami

  • Miami Children’s Initiative seeks to break the cycle of poverty in Liberty City, Miami with a “block-by-block approach”, and by focusing on the growth and development of the city’s youth through the establishment of community partnerships. http://miamichildrensinitiative.com/
  • Health in the Hood provides access to fresh foods and health education in low-income neighborhoods, putting children on the path to healthy futures. [12/18] https://www.healthinthehood.org/donate
  • GreenWorks (a fund of the Miami Foundation) provides environmental programs and green job training to incarcerated men and women, youth remanded by court to drug rehab and at-risk high-school youth in low-income neighborhoods. https://miamifoundation.org/

Pittsburgh

  • The African Healing Garden in Pittsburgh is a place to restore wholeness to mind, body, and spirit, and will provide an outdoor classroom for children’s activities. https://www.gofundme.com/f/african-healing-garden 
  • Grounded PGH transforms vacant lots into vibrant community spaces and provides tools, resources, and connections so individuals can create the change that’s best for their community. https://groundedpgh.org/donate/
  • 1Hood Media is a collective of socially conscious artists and activists who utilize art as a means of raising awareness about matters affecting people around the world. They build liberated communities through art, education, and social justice. https://www.1hood.org/

Jewish tradition implores us to come together as a community in our efforts to tackle the difficult work of building a more just world. To learn more about #Give828 and to support their work, visit their website. Thank you for helping us as we take action to pursue a world grounded in racial justice and Jewish values.

Our Commitment to Racial Justice

Now is the moment for clear and decisive action against anti-Black racism. We uplift the lives and memories of Ahmaud Arbery, Sandra Bland, Rayshard Brooks, Mike Brown, Philando Castile, George Floyd, Eric Garner, Tyquarn Malik Graves, Marsha P. Johnson, Trayvon Martin, David McAtee, Elijah McClain, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Tamir Rice, Antwon Rose, Breonna Taylor, and too many others who have been murdered. We must do our part to dismantle the anti-Black racism upon which this nation was built, and unite against the violence and racist policies that Black people in this country continue to face every day. Black Lives Matter. 

As part of our ongoing commitment to racial justice, and with renewed inspiration from Black and Jewish leaders who are calling for systemic change, we are committed to much more deeply embedding anti-racism into our practices both internally and externally, taking action to improve the working environment for our Black Fellows and staff, and interrogating the propensity for white saviorism in our work.  

Our Commitments:

Saying proudly Black Lives Matter

We recognize that Black Lives Matter is a statement that is inherently true and should be accepted without caveat or qualification. 

Anti-Racist Approach to Service

  • At the heart of our work of mobilizing Jews and their communities to take action to pursue a just world is a commitment to service through an anti-racist lens. This means, across all of our programs and initiatives, we commit to:
    • Listening to community leadership and supporting the agendas set by our partners. Our volunteers do not propose solutions; rather, they follow the lead of those most impacted by systemic inequality who are experts in their own experiences and best positioned to drive change. Our volunteers build the capacity of community-driven initiatives. 
    • Challenging all our volunteers to examine racial inequity as part of our service learning. Our service always includes issue-area education because it allows participants to better understand the systemic causes at play. 
    • Intentionally designing our programming to reflect the inherent multiracial identity of the Jewish community and the communities in which we serve. This means we design our programming to be inclusive, make a careful effort to recruit and support diverse cohorts of participants, fellows, staff, and leadership, and regularly evaluate our successes and failures in this area.

Additional Expertise in Racial Justice Work

  • We are pleased to share that we have hired Yolanda Savage-Narva as our new Senior Advisor on Racial Justice. Yolanda Savage-Narva has devoted her professional career to promoting understanding, cooperation, and respect while fighting to eradicate racism, anti-Semitism, and all forms of discrimination. Yolanda will advise our Internal Racial Justice Working Group (IRJWG) as well as the Jewish Service Alliance, a project recently launched to engage the Jewish community in service in response to COVID-19.
  • We commit to consistent anti-racist training for our staff, fellows, corps members, and volunteers, and to anti-racist program design for the Fellowship and other initiatives.

Expanded Role for Internal Racial Justice Working Group

  • Repair went through an extensive, formal internal Racial Justice process, led by external racial justice facilitators, that concluded about a year ago. This process resulted in concrete recommendations for moving forward. Our Internal Racial Justice Working Group (IRJWG), made up of a group of cross-departmental staff members, is responsible for implementing those recommendations. Recent work completed by the IRJWG includes:
  • A shared language guide around identity, racial justice, and understanding of terminology important to addressing racism which will be ready for the fall;
    • An internal workshop for staff about combating anti-Black Racism and how it interacts with combatting anti-Semitism;
    • Revamping our goal-setting process to include an equity lens for all staff; and
    • Prioritizing purchasing from and contracting with POC-led businesses and organizations.
  • The IRJWG will be expanded to include interested Fellows and will be advised by our new Advisor on Racial Justice and Equity. 
  • The IRJWG created talking points for Repair staff and Fellows with direct language, statement of values, and action steps to support Black Lives Matter and racial justice. This is a tool for our team to increase their ability to communicate about what’s happening and work more effectively towards racial justice. 

Supporting Black Fellows and Staff

  • We are creating a new fund to support the emerging needs of our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Fellows and staff. Details of this fund will be determined by the IRJWG, with support from our Racial Justice and Equity Advisor, based on best practices and with input from Black and POC Fellows, alumni, and staff. We intend for it to cover such items as mental health, coaching, mentoring, emergencies, and additional cost of living needs. This will be ready by the start of our program year, August 1, 2020.

Governance

  • Repair’s Board of Directors has committed to building out a pipeline of BIPOC prospects for our Board, and to adding at least three BIPOC members to our Board by next Juneteenth, so that our Board reflects the multiracial diversity of our communities. We recognize that much of our service work is situated in Black and Brown communities and that we need Black and POC leadership at the highest level to do our work responsibly and effectively.
  • The Board has committed to revisiting the minimum giving level for Board membership in order to advance inclusion and promote socioeconomic diversity in Repair’s leadership.
  • The Board has committed to training and deepening their education on anti-racism.
  • The Board has committed to rewriting Repair’s bylaws to ensure they incorporate antiracist principles and policies.

Anti-Racist Hiring and Compensation

  • We are implementing protocol recommended as part of our internal Racial Justice process to strengthen our pipeline of Black and POC candidates for open positions, including posting all new staff positions on job boards designed for recruitment of BIPOC. 
  • All staff responsible for supervising fellows or staff will participate in training on managing for racial equity by the end of the year.
  • Last year, we established salary bands and a compensation philosophy to protect against bias in compensation and promotion. We will continue to periodically review for compliance with these bands.

Jewish tradition implores us, during times of greatest aspiration, and also discord, to come together as a community in our efforts to tackle the difficult work of building a more just world. We must continually engage in the work, knowing there will be mistakes along the way. We commit to learning from these mistakes, acknowledging them, apologizing, and seeking to repair harm. The learning we do in chevruta, engaging in conversation with the different voices and experiences of our community, will help us strengthen our work and also one another.

Please know that we are all eager to hear your suggestions, responses, and feedback now and in the future. They can be shared directly with any of us. Again, thank you for your partnership. 

With gratitude,

Repair’s Shared Leadership Team 

Cindy Greenberg, President and CEO
Sarah Allyn
Laura Belinfante
Zack Block
Lily Brent
Rabbi Jessy Dressin
Rachel Figurasmith
Jordan Fruchtman
Dani Horn
Rachel Libros
Janu Mendel
Julie Mallis
Neeraj Nagpal
Kate O’Bannon
Samantha Pride

Board of Directors Executive Committee

Robb Lippitt, Board Chair
Allan Bloom, Vice Chair
Ryan Cohen, Vice Chair
Anna Kovinsky, Vice Chair
Rabbi Daniel Gropper, Secretary
Hayden Horowitz, Treasurer

How we are Repairing The World this National Volunteer Week

In honor of National Volunteer Week (April 19-25), we are highlighting the incredible stories happening around the country during this time of global pandemic. Our Repair the World communities are acting now to fight for the most vulnerable in our societies, read more to see our impact and find ways to get involved:

ATLANTA:

In the spirit of Earth Day, Abigail Natelson, Repair the World Atlanta Fellow, helped lead our first ‘Mindfulness in the Garden Series’ (a virtual version of Farm Crew) that encourages participants to zoom in while outdoors. 

We created “signs of solidarity” in support of a campaign launched by local artists that asked residents to create and display colorful signs with positive messages for neighbors to see.

 

BALTIMORE:

Repair the World Baltimore hosted a Virtual Cocktails with a Conscience that allowed participants to do some meaning-making around the Passover holiday, think about the theme of what it means to find one’s individual purpose within a collective narrative, and discuss how to get involved locally even during a time of great uncertainty. 

 

BROOKLYN:

Caitlin Garbo, Repair the World Brooklyn Fellow, facilitated our first Virtual Art program through the Brooklyn Community Services‘ TLC program! Participants joined in creating art and writing letters to women currently living in a Brooklyn shelter. 

Caitilin reflected on the program saying, “I was inspired to begin the virtual art hour while quarantining because I missed making art and chatting with the clients each week. Whether we were interpreting poems, beading bracelets, or making snowflakes, every season and holiday we put up decorations and created art that filled the communal spaces with cheer. Now, words of encouragement and pages filled with springtime colors will be delivered to the program to try to mitigate feelings of isolation and perhaps bring some inspiration until full programming and communal gathering can return to normal within the shelter.”

If you’re interested in joining a project to send art and letters to local shelters or isolated older folks, please contact [email protected].

CHICAGO:

On March 27, Repair the World Chicago and One Table collaborated on a digital “A Neighborly Shabbat”. 

Together, we reviewed Repair the World’s Neighborly Letter and discussed ways to support hyperlocal neighbors and neighborhoods during this time. Participants engaged in ritual, broke bread, and built community during their Friday night Shabbat meal. 

 

DETROIT:

With all in-person volunteer programming canceled for March and April, Madeline Turner, Repair the World Detroit Fellow, helped find ways for our partners to continue their essential work under these circumstances. 

Keep Growing Detroit, a garden resource organization working to cultivate a food-sovereign Detroit, has had to get creative to maintain its two-acre farm and prepare seeds and transplants to distribute to thousands of Detroit gardeners without its usual support from hundreds of volunteers a week. With staff adjusting their hours to spend much of their time working at the farm, Madeline stepped up to the plate and found ways alongside our Detroit site, to support their work from home. She took the rest of the seeds home to Ann Arbor and with the help of her family, she was able to divide the larger bags of seeds into thousands of individual seed packets for Detroit growers to pick up at distribution and take home to their gardens.

HARLEM:

With the COVID-19 Pandemic disproportionately affecting older adults, Haley Schusterman, Repair the World Harlem Fellow, partnered with DOROT to help support their clients who may be experiencing increased social isolation and loneliness during this challenging time.

Haley participates in their Caring Calls program and forms connections by phone with an older adult—they chat weekly! Haley also creates birthday and holiday cards for older adults. Particularly now, DOROT’s clients may not have many other important social interactions. 

Haley shared, “I’ve enjoyed creating these cards so much that I’m running a virtual card making workshop this week to engage folks from around the country in supporting some of our most isolated neighbors!”

MIAMI:

Ella Fies, Repair the World Miami Fellow, engaged our community in Miami by teaching a virtual free yoga class with 40 people in attendance. The yoga class supports local organization Leap For Ladies who empowers incarcerated women. Ella mentioned, “I love teaching yoga and getting to share such an important practice with so many. It is totally a gift for me to get to do this every Sunday at 5!”

Join Ella in her efforts by heading to https://www.gofundme.com/f/leap-relief-fund

PHILADELPHIA:

On Friday, April 3rd, Repair the World Philadelphia, NextGen, and other local Jewish young professional groups brought together 102 community members to celebrate Shabbat with the uniting message of “even in isolation, we can still come together and welcome in the Sabbath.” Dani Horn, Program Director of Repair the World Philadelphia, led the Hamotzi, the blessing over the bread, and asked participants to think of those who may need nourishment at this time. As the virtual community reflected, people mentioned frontline workers, school children, and their own communities. It was important to acknowledge those in our community who may need support during this time. The program also included moments of joy and gratitude for blessings that have happened amidst the difficulty of COVID-19.

PITTSBURGH:

Maya Bornstein, Repair the World Pittsburgh Fellow, has been volunteering at the East End Cooperative Ministry’s Food Pantry, an interfaith coop which provides crucial access and services to meet the immediate needs of Pittsburghers, especially people experiencing homelessness and food insecurity.

Maya shared, “I have greatly enjoyed volunteering at the East End Cooperative Ministry’s Food Pantry the past month or so during the COVID-19 pandemic. Serving there has given me a sense of purpose and a safe reason to leave the house in order to work towards the goal of ensuring that every Pittsburgher’s human right to food access is met. The staff, other volunteers, patrons, and food donors give me comfort that even in tragic and uncertain circumstances people can come together to help each other and create meaning.”

Maya alongside Ilana Drucker (both Repair the World Pittsburgh Fellows) are also growing seedlings in the grow room above the food pantry to then plant in our nearby Sheridan Ave Orchard and Garden and to share with another community organization. The fresh produce harvested throughout the season will all go directly back to the pantry. Check out this virtual seed starting at-home program, video and directions! 

National Volunteer Week is coming to a close but it is not too late to volunteer and serve your community. If you are interested in additional ways to volunteer, virtually or in person, sign up for volunteer opportunities at werepair.org/volunteer.

A Racial Justice Shabbat Dinner with Michael Twitty

Shabbat dinner naturally has a lot going for it. The food (challah! matzo ball soup!), the singing, the camaraderie, the chance to truly rest and enjoy friends and family after a long week – it’s hard to improve upon. But one recent Shabbat dinner held in Atlanta, Georgia last week stands out from the pack.

On November 11, Repair the World hosted a #TurntheTables Shabbat dinner as part of our time at Facing Race: A National Conference – a multiracial, intergenerational gathering focused on racial and social justice. We had spent time at the conference engaging with and learning from community organizers, educators, interfaith clergy members, and other leaders of the racial and social justice movements, and it was time to rest and recharge.

Michael Twitty As night fell and the Shabbat candles were lit, more than 100 people joined together around the table (or rather, many tables!) for dinner, discussion, and a conversation with culinary historian and writer, Michael Twitty.

Twitty focuses much of his scholarship on the history and culture behind African and African-diaspora cuisines, as well as on the idea of “identity cooking” – his theory about the way people construct and express their complex identities through food. As a Black Jewish man, Twitty often writes about his own experiences melding the, as he writes on his website, “histories, tastes, flavors, and Diasporic wisdom of being Black and Jewish.”

With the results of the national Presidential election just 3 days old, he spoke about the commonalities and distinctions between the Jewish and Black experience as minorities in America, and the critical importance of loving and protecting one another as full and complex human beings.

During dinner, guests were also prompted to discuss questions around the table like, “Where are you coming from in your racial justice journey?” which gave them a chance to get to know one another on a deeper level. The dinner closed with an alternative take of the Birkat Hamazon – or the grace/thanks traditionally said after meals in the Jewish tradition. The words of the blessing said it all:

“Giving and receiving we open up our hands / from seedtime to harvest we’re partners with the land.
We all share a vision of wholeness and release / Where every child is nourished and we all live in peace.”

For more information about Repair the World’s #TurntheTables Shabbat dinner, check out the article in the Atlanta Jewish Times, read through the dinner guide Repair the World created, and listen to Twitty’s speech in full.