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Archive for : Serve the Moment

Strengthening Communities and Jewish Values

At the start of the pandemic, Rafael found himself thinking intensely about how to get his neighbors and community through an incredibly difficult reality. “It’s pretty easy to be wrapped up in your own life, but something I truly value is realizing that your time should also be dedicated to helping others. That can take shape in many different ways,” said Rafael. For Rafael, who lives in Denver,  joining the Service Corps was a way to support his community in significant ways and be connected to the Jewish community in a way he hadn’t been in a long time. 

There were several moments of being a Corps Member that solidified Rafael’s Jewish value of strengthening members of his community but most recently, Rafael was placed to serve at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic which was launched to more equitably disseminate the vaccine to marginalized populations. “Communities at higher risk or with an increased level of skepticism were able to come and get vaccinated in a setting that was more comfortable for them,” said Rafael. “Many of the patients were Spanish speaking or didn’t speak much English and I served as their interpreter and helped them book appointments for the second dose of the vaccine.”  

While serving at the vaccine site, Rafael met a 63 year old man who had never been vaccinated before. Like Rafael, he was born in Mexico and they immediately connected through their common nationality. He shared with Rafael that this was his first time getting vaccinated and he was motivated to get the shot because he had lost someone close to him to COVID-19. “I could see the struggle and the pain he was in and I believe having someone there he felt comfortable sharing his story with made a huge difference.” Rafael worked with several people at the site who were nervous or scared for many reasons, including being reported for being undocumented or general fear and misunderstanding surrounding the vaccine. “My job was to also reassure them. We needed to make sure they came back for their second shot.” One woman he scheduled broke down in tears. “She expressed to me how relieved she was because now she would be able to see her family for the first time in over a year.”

Since volunteering at the vaccine site, Rafael has dedicated his time as a Corps Member towards pursuing food justice in the Denver community through his placement with Denver Urban Gardens (DUG). “I’ve seen the positive impact of people addressing food insecurity by building their own urban gardens and ensuring that nutritious food gets to the hands of those who need it the most,” said Rafael.  

Rafael continues to strengthen his connection to the Jewish community and his values through Serve the Moment. “My work as a Corps Member has opened my eyes to many things that define what a community is. I’ve not only become closer to my community members but I’ve also learned how powerful service is in making a positive impact in the lives of everyone here in Denver.”

Rafael Levy is originally from Mexico City and moved to the U.S. seven years ago. He is currently a student at CU Denver and manages a coffee shop. He is passionate about serving his community and is eager to use his time to learn and uplift those around him.

Summer 2021 Repair the World Teen Service Corps

Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens & Long Island Cohorts
July 12- August 20

Do you know a rising 9th-12th grader in Manhattan/Brooklyn/Queens/Long Island who wants to volunteer, make new friends and learn about justice this summer? Earn up to 80 community service hours while making a difference! The Teen Service Corps is a 6 week service learning program with 25 person cohorts in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island. Throughout the program teens will learn about systemic injustice through a Jewish lens, hone leadership skills and volunteer in various neighborhoods to promote food and education justice, and combat social isolation. 

Volunteering will follow strict COVID safety compliance guidelines and may pivot to a virtual format. 

In-person service may include urban farming, volunteering at food pantries, canvassing for food benefits and packaging essential supplies for service partners. 

Virtual volunteering may include connecting with seniors experiencing social isolation, supporting youth in online camps & tutoring, phone banking for nutrition benefits and housing rights and supporting youth experiencing incarceration through responding to their creative writing.

July 12 – August 20

  • Tuesdays: Small group volunteering at service sites or independent virtual service (4-5 hours)
  • Wednesdays: Full group service project and learning (2-3 hours)
  • Thursdays:  Small group volunteering at service sites or independent virtual service (4-5 hours)

What Former Corps Members have to say!

“It was inspiring to be a part of a group of teens who truly seemed to care.”

“I loved that this program was educational but not in a stressful type of way like school is.”

“This program not only introduced me to the issues but it gave me an opportunity to personally make a difference.” 

“I feel a lot more proud to be a Jew right now, probably the proudest I have felt in my life.”

“When it ended, it felt kind of like camp was ending.”

Apply Here! Applications received on a rolling basis | Please email [email protected] with any questions.

Serving The Moment at Shemesh Farms

This article originally appeared in The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles blog on December 18, 2020.

When the pandemic first started, the Jewish community — from coast to coast — responded with Serve The Moment (STM)* to give opportunities to young adults who are eager to help make an impact while staying true to Jewish values such as tikkun olam (healing the world) and rachmanut (compassion). Our Federation’s second Serve the Moment L.A. cohort concluded on December 11th. Our 18 passionate young Jewish Angeleno corps members were matched with a variety of nonprofit organizations in L.A., spending a month volunteering, either virtually or in person, and undergoing personal and professional growth.

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Seize the Moment

This article originally appeared in Jewish Federation and Endowment Fund blog on December 18, 2020.

Serve the Moment is a program launched by Repair the World that mobilizes Jewish young adults to engage in critical racial justice work, tackle food insecurity, strengthen our education system, combat social isolation, and address the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a Service Corps member, I had the opportunity to volunteer with Youth Spirit Artworks (YSA), a nonprofit organization based in Oakland. YSA is responding to the homeless crisis by building a “Tiny House Village” to provide shelter, community, and job training for homeless youth. My city coordinator and the team at YSA employed my interest in nutrition and passion for service to curate a plant-based cookbook for the village community to provide healthy recipes for communal dinners.

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