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Meet Repair the World’s Newest Board Members

Repair the World is excited to welcome Majestic Lane (he/him), Kathy Reich (she/her), and David Rittberg (he/him) as its newest national Board of Directors members as we continue to grow and expand our reach. This past year has been one of immense change and growth with many joining us to ‘Serve the Moment’ responding to the needs of our communities and pursuing justice. With the leadership of our Board of Directors and as we transition from a moment to a movement, we’re entering a transformed ‘Service Era’, boldly positioning ourselves to build additional strategic opportunities and further centering service as key to building a thriving Jewish life while amplifying service across our communities. 

These dynamic individuals bring with them a wealth of expertise in national service, Jewish engagement, philanthropy, community building, and social justice through a Jewish lens. They share a passion for mobilizing Jews and their communities to take action to pursue a just world while representing diverse backgrounds. Learn more about them and what motivates them to serve their communities. To see a list of all our current Board members click here.

Majestic Lane (he/him/his)
Deputy Chief of Staff & Chief Equity Officer, City of Pittsburgh

Majestic Lane serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief Equity Officer for Mayor William Peduto. As Chief Equity Officer and Deputy Chief of Staff, Majestic leads the Peduto administration’s focus on opportunity for all residents of the City of Pittsburgh concerning education, workforce development, safe & healthy communities, and digital inclusion. Additionally, he leads the administration’s engagement with national organizations regarding equity and inclusion strategies. Prior to serving as Deputy Chief of Staff, Majestic was the Deputy Chief of Neighborhood Empowerment where he coordinated the administration’s neighborhood equity efforts through community driven development and affordable housing initiatives. Majestic attended the University of Pittsburgh and lives in North Point Breeze.

What motivates you to serve? Why are you in this work?
I’m motivated by the importance of serving my community as well as the opportunity to grow while meeting the needs of those who need vital resources.

What’s your most memorable volunteering/service-related experience?
Volunteering to teach tennis to children from my neighborhood when I was a young adult.

What’s something completely unrelated to Repair that people should ask you about?
My love of music!!

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Salads!

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A lawyer!

Kathy Reich (she/her/hers)
Director, BUILD, Ford Foundation

Kathy Reich leads the Ford Foundation’s BUILD initiative in the United States and in the foundation’s 10 global regions. BUILD is a 10-year, $2 billion initiative to strengthen key institutions around the world that fight inequality. Kathy manages a team of 11 people, guiding Ford’s efforts to support the vitality and effectiveness of institutions and networks that serve as pillars of broader social movements.

Before joining Ford in 2016, Kathy worked for 15 years at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, most recently as organizational effectiveness and philanthropy director, where she led a cross-cutting program to help grantees around the world strengthen their strategy, leadership and impact. Prior to that, she was policy director of a non-profit, served as a legislative assistant on Capitol Hill, and worked for state and local elected officials in California.

Kathy is a Senior Fellow of the Schusterman Foundation, and has served on several non-profit boards. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University, and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government. She is a lifelong Californian, although she currently resides in Brooklyn, NY with her spouse, two teenage children, one highly opinionated cat, and one extremely cuddly dog.

What motivates you to serve? Why are you in this work?
I’m inspired to serve by my Jewish faith and values, and by my parents, who raised me to believe in justice for all people. I am particularly excited to work with organizations like Repair the World that enable people to live their Jewish values in service of Jews and non-Jews alike. 

What’s your most memorable volunteering/service-related experience?
I’ve had so many remarkable service experiences, but my favorite ones are probably among my earliest ones—making sandwiches with my mom for a weekly lunch program she organized for homeless people, doing armchair aerobics with women at a local assisted living facility, and teaching kids to read at a Title I elementary school. Service was a big part of my life at home and at school, and my favorite experiences were ones where I could form personal bonds with other people. 

What’s something completely unrelated to Repair that people should ask you about?
Ask me about travel—in pre-pandemic days I traveled extensively for work, especially to Africa and Latin America, and I hope to return to that soon! 

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
That is a hard question, because food is one of my greatest joys in life. I think I’d have to say, really expensive sushi. Or maybe hot fudge sundaes with lots of whipped cream. Or on some days, maybe just salt and vinegar potato chips….do I really have to pick just one?

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a famous novelist. Or an actress in musical theater on Broadway. But I gave up on the latter when I found out I’d need dance lessons. 

David Rittberg (he/him/his)
Senior Director, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies

David serves as Senior Director for U.S. Jewish Grantmaking at Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, where he advises leadership on how to best leverage their investments in existing organizations and take new initiatives to scale. While some may know him for his semi-pro guitar skills, David’s true calling card is his hands-on approach to his philanthropic portfolio: David spends much of his time working directly with organization staff and board members to help build their team’s capacity, develop a long-term strategy and grow as integral players in common ecosystems.

Prior to arriving at Schusterman, David’s career took him across the country, from his hometown of Binghamton to streetwise Brooklyn, misty San Francisco and the hidden gem that is Tucson, AZ. Notably, David served as Executive Director at the Edgar M. Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at NYU, Hillel at New York University, and, in 2011, received NYU’s Hallmark Award for outstanding university administrators. David was also part of the Hillel staff at The University of Arizona and Stanford.

David received his BS in Marketing from the Smeal College of Business Administration at Penn State University, and an Executive MPA from NYU Wagner.

What motivates you to serve? Why are you in this work?
A deep sense of obligation, responsibility, and commitment to community, inspired by my family’s heroic story.

What’s your most memorable volunteering/service-related experience?
The many trips I took and facilitated to the Gulf Coast in the years after Hurricane Katrina.  It introduced me to intensive service while meeting Americans from all over the country.

What’s something completely unrelated to Repair that people should ask you about?
Acoustic guitars!

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Rice and Beans

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Either playing third base for the New York Yankees, or a transcendent rock star. I still want to be those things!

Meet Repair the World’s Newest Board Members

Repair the World is excited to welcome Majestic Lane (he/him), Kathy Reich (she/her), and David Rittberg (he/him) as its newest national Board of Directors members as we continue to grow and expand our reach. This past year has been one of immense change and growth with many joining us to ‘Serve the Moment’ responding to the needs of our communities and pursuing justice. With the leadership of our Board of Directors and as we transition from a moment to a movement, we’re entering a transformed ‘Service Era’, boldly positioning ourselves to build additional strategic opportunities and further centering service as key to building a thriving Jewish life while amplifying service across our communities. 

These dynamic individuals bring with them a wealth of expertise in national service, Jewish engagement, philanthropy, community building, and social justice through a Jewish lens. They share a passion for mobilizing Jews and their communities to take action to pursue a just world while representing diverse backgrounds. Learn more about them and what motivates them to serve their communities. To see a list of all our current Board members click here.

Majestic Lane (he/him/his)
Deputy Chief of Staff & Chief Equity Officer, City of Pittsburgh

Majestic Lane serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief Equity Officer for Mayor William Peduto. As Chief Equity Officer and Deputy Chief of Staff, Majestic leads the Peduto administration’s focus on opportunity for all residents of the City of Pittsburgh concerning education, workforce development, safe & healthy communities, and digital inclusion. Additionally, he leads the administration’s engagement with national organizations regarding equity and inclusion strategies. Prior to serving as Deputy Chief of Staff, Majestic was the Deputy Chief of Neighborhood Empowerment where he coordinated the administration’s neighborhood equity efforts through community driven development and affordable housing initiatives. Majestic attended the University of Pittsburgh and lives in North Point Breeze.

What motivates you to serve? Why are you in this work?
I’m motivated by the importance of serving my community as well as the opportunity to grow while meeting the needs of those who need vital resources.

What’s your most memorable volunteering/service-related experience?
Volunteering to teach tennis to children from my neighborhood when I was a young adult.

What’s something completely unrelated to Repair that people should ask you about?
My love of music!!

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Salads!

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A lawyer!

Kathy Reich (she/her/hers)
Director, BUILD, Ford Foundation

Kathy Reich leads the Ford Foundation’s BUILD initiative in the United States and in the foundation’s 10 global regions. BUILD is a 10-year, $2 billion initiative to strengthen key institutions around the world that fight inequality. Kathy manages a team of 11 people, guiding Ford’s efforts to support the vitality and effectiveness of institutions and networks that serve as pillars of broader social movements.

Before joining Ford in 2016, Kathy worked for 15 years at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, most recently as organizational effectiveness and philanthropy director, where she led a cross-cutting program to help grantees around the world strengthen their strategy, leadership and impact. Prior to that, she was policy director of a non-profit, served as a legislative assistant on Capitol Hill, and worked for state and local elected officials in California.

Kathy is a Senior Fellow of the Schusterman Foundation, and has served on several non-profit boards. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University, and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government. She is a lifelong Californian, although she currently resides in Brooklyn, NY with her spouse, two teenage children, one highly opinionated cat, and one extremely cuddly dog.

What motivates you to serve? Why are you in this work?
I’m inspired to serve by my Jewish faith and values, and by my parents, who raised me to believe in justice for all people. I am particularly excited to work with organizations like Repair the World that enable people to live their Jewish values in service of Jews and non-Jews alike. 

What’s your most memorable volunteering/service-related experience?
I’ve had so many remarkable service experiences, but my favorite ones are probably among my earliest ones—making sandwiches with my mom for a weekly lunch program she organized for homeless people, doing armchair aerobics with women at a local assisted living facility, and teaching kids to read at a Title I elementary school. Service was a big part of my life at home and at school, and my favorite experiences were ones where I could form personal bonds with other people. 

What’s something completely unrelated to Repair that people should ask you about?
Ask me about travel—in pre-pandemic days I traveled extensively for work, especially to Africa and Latin America, and I hope to return to that soon! 

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
That is a hard question, because food is one of my greatest joys in life. I think I’d have to say, really expensive sushi. Or maybe hot fudge sundaes with lots of whipped cream. Or on some days, maybe just salt and vinegar potato chips….do I really have to pick just one?

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a famous novelist. Or an actress in musical theater on Broadway. But I gave up on the latter when I found out I’d need dance lessons. 

David Rittberg (he/him/his)
Senior Director, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies

David serves as Senior Director for U.S. Jewish Grantmaking at Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, where he advises leadership on how to best leverage their investments in existing organizations and take new initiatives to scale. While some may know him for his semi-pro guitar skills, David’s true calling card is his hands-on approach to his philanthropic portfolio: David spends much of his time working directly with organization staff and board members to help build their team’s capacity, develop a long-term strategy and grow as integral players in common ecosystems.

Prior to arriving at Schusterman, David’s career took him across the country, from his hometown of Binghamton to streetwise Brooklyn, misty San Francisco and the hidden gem that is Tucson, AZ. Notably, David served as Executive Director at the Edgar M. Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at NYU, Hillel at New York University, and, in 2011, received NYU’s Hallmark Award for outstanding university administrators. David was also part of the Hillel staff at The University of Arizona and Stanford.

David received his BS in Marketing from the Smeal College of Business Administration at Penn State University, and an Executive MPA from NYU Wagner.

What motivates you to serve? Why are you in this work?
A deep sense of obligation, responsibility, and commitment to community embedded into my family’s story.

What’s your most memorable volunteering/service-related experience?
The many trips I took/led to the gulf coast after Hurricane Katrina.  Introduced me to intensive service alongside Americans from all parts of the country.

What’s something completely unrelated to Repair that people should ask you about?
Acoustic guitars!

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Rice and Beans

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Either 3rd baseman for the New York Yankees, or the worlds biggest rock star.  Instead i work in philanthropy

MacKenzie Scott donates to Jewish charities in US, South Africa

This article originally appeared in The Time Israel on June 16th, 2021.

Three Jewish nonprofit organizations will receive a slice of the latest $2.74 billion in grants handed out by MacKenzie Scott, philanthropist and former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

The latest grants include Scott’s first to Jewish groups. The three Jewish grantees are Maryland-based HIAS, which advocates for and gives aid to immigrants and refugees; Repair the World, a community service and social justice organization based in New York; and Afrika Tikkun, an aid organization founded by the chief rabbi of South Africa after the end of apartheid there.

Read More

$7 Million Gift From MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett to Repair the World

June 15, 2021 — As a majority of American Jews say that working for justice and equality is essential to being Jewish, a $7 million gift from MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett to Repair the World will help it expand efforts to mobilize Jews and their communities to take action to pursue a just world. Scott and Jewett’s unrestricted gift comes as an increasing number of Jews, particularly young adults, engage in Jewish life through service and believe that leading a moral and ethical life is essential to their Jewish identity. Repair the World’s volunteer opportunities, national campaigns, partnerships, and local offerings help young adults act on their values, address urgent needs in their communities, and build bridges across lines of differences. Now Repair the World plans to leverage this generous support to attract additional investments and grow its work to an unprecedented scale.

“We express overwhelming gratitude to MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett for their investment in Repair’s mission and her confidence in Repair’s strong track record of mobilizing tens of thousands of individuals in service,” says Cindy Greenberg, President and CEO of Repair the World. “We are also incredibly thankful to our participants who have engaged in service over our 12 years, our hundreds of local nonprofit partners that meet pressing needs and impact and impact in their communities, and all who have helped lead and contribute to Repair. MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett’s generosity and vision validates the investments of Repair’s generous funders, and their gift is a clear challenge and invitation to do even more: more service, more partnerships, and more investments to elevate and expand service in American Jewish life.”

Repair the World’s adaptive strategy enables it to activate the Jewish service field to create volunteer opportunities, plan major national campaigns, and respond immediately to meet the needs of young adults and local communities. Last year, for example, amid the pandemic and the movement for racial justice, Repair rapidly created the Serve the Moment Initiative with 44 coalition partners to mobilize tens of thousands of young Jews and their communities to serve to meet urgent needs exacerbated by the pandemic. With Scott and Jewett’s gift and others, Repair will dramatically increase its national and local partnerships, accelerating and growing meaningful service and learning opportunities for young adults to address societal challenges. 

  • Repair’s direct programming includes a local presence in the 13 cities with the largest population of Jewish young adults, which in the coming years will expand to 20 cities. Repair’s different program options include episodic (one-time) service opportunities, along with more immersive and full-time fellowship options.
  • Repair has customized partnerships with the largest national Jewish engagement organizations across the country to involve their participants in service. 
  • Repair’s national service campaigns focus on issues such as food insecurity, mental health, voter access, and racial equity, and are grounded in Jewish wisdom and learning. These campaigns activate the entire field and include digital engagement that lead to acts of service and learning. 

“During the pandemic we learned how to both adapt and grow,” adds Greenberg. “As service takes on more prominence in Jewish life, we need others to join in these efforts, from new organizational partners to increased support from more funders. It’s an honor to receive this gift from MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett, together with some of the greatest social change and bridge-building organizations in the country. With their past grantees, we’ve seen it’s not just an influx of resources, but something that catalyzes additional growth and investment. We acknowledge the additional responsibility this opportunity places on us to achieve maximum impact. Moreover, Repair and HIAS are the first explicitly Jewish organizations to be their grantees as part of their ‘Giving Pledge.’ Scott and Jewett’s approach to philanthropy, which places complete trust in the non-profit leadership to know how best to make impact, inspires us and it reflects Maimonides’ teachings on the  highest forms of charity.”

Repair has long recognized the impact of service on building bridges between and within communities.  Service grounded in Jewish values and learning has the power to both connect the Jewish community with non-Jewish neighbors around shared values, and be a powerful force for building Jewish unity. This approach resonates with many Jewish young adults who have deep interests in social change. Generation Z is the most civically engaged generation alive today. Along with Millennials, the majority of GenZ say that being Jewish is important to them, but they don’t necessarily connect their Jewish identities with their civic lives and social values. 

“We know that Judaism comes alive for young adults at the intersection of social issues and Jewish tradition,” shared Repair the World Board Chair Robb Lippitt. “Repair the World provides multiple entry points to engage in service as an expression of Jewish values and identity. This is an exciting moment for the Jewish service movement as we can thicken the connection between Judaism and other priorities of Jewish young adults, cultivate leadership, and deepen relationships between Jews and their communities, all while meaningfully serving with our many amazing organizational partners.

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.

New Initiative Connects Seniors and Other Vulnerable Populations with Tech-Savvy Volunteers to Help Navigate Complicated Vaccine Appointment Systems

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:  Jason Edelstein

510/239-1102

New Initiative Connects Seniors and Other Vulnerable Populations with Tech-Savvy Volunteers to Help Navigate Complicated Vaccine Appointment Systems

Successful Pilot Program Now Replicated Nationwide

(NEW YORK) — The Vaccine Appointment Network‘s project template helps communities connect tech-savvy volunteers with seniors and other vulnerable populations to help them get appointments for a COVID-19 vaccine. Powered by Repair the World, the Edlavitch Jewish Community Center in Washington DC (EDCJCC), and Hillel at the George Washington University (GW Hillel), the Networks’ first training session included hundreds of participants from organizations around the country. Organizations can access the Network’s toolkit to start building a local program to match volunteers to vaccine-eligible community members locally.

“We’re building a network of organizations and young people who are committed to helping the most vulnerable get this vaccination,” said Jordan Fruchtman, Senior Director of the Jewish Service Alliance at Repair the World, which mobilizes Jews and their communities to take action to pursue a just world, igniting a lifelong commitment to service. “The model is proven to work, and by providing an easy-to-use project template for communities to adapt the program locally, we can impact thousands of lives.”

EDCJCC and GW Hillel launched the model in Washington, D.C. by connecting their community’s population of seniors with student volunteers, respectively,

“Young people want to make a difference and help at risk older adults to better navigate the complex vaccine system and secure appointments,” says Reuben Rotman, President/CEO of NJHSA, which is sharing the Vaccine Appointment Network’s Toolkit with its Network. “We’re excited to bring this much needed program model to front line Jewish human service agencies and their clients.”

By putting out a call to their population eligible for the vaccine, EDCJCC recruited 200 seniors for the program in one week. A similar call from GW Hillel for volunteers resulted in 100 sign ups—just in the first week. They’ve now matched 200 seniors with volunteers.

“The COVID-19 vaccine registration process is tedious, frustrating, and emotional for many, but especially for our country’s most vulnerable,” says volunteer Sarah Boxer of George Washington University’s Class of 2022. “After a year of immense trauma and suffering, older adults should not need to navigate ten different websites and compete with younger, faster typers for a potentially life-saving vaccine. The Vaccine Sign-Up Support project found a way to build companionship and community out of an exhausting process. It feels incredible to be part of the GW Hillel community knowing that we are willing to take meaningful action to help when a need arises.”

Background

The COVID-19 vaccine roll out in the United States is in desperate need of volunteers. Eligible community members across the country,  particularly seniors over 65, are struggling to navigate the complex online systems needed to schedule an appointment to receive their COVID-19 vaccines. Young adults make ideal volunteers for this effort, with native internet skills and a desire to support their communities.

Edlavitch Jewish Community Center of Washington, DC (EDCJCC)  and  Hillel at the George Washington University (GW Hillel)  pioneered a successful approach to this problem by connecting EDCJCC’s population of seniors with GW Hillel’s population of student volunteers. Repair the World loved this model – and we wanted to bring a similar strategy to as many communities as possible. Recognizing that a hyper-localized vaccine roll-out required a local approach,  Repair the World  set out to replicate EDCJCC and GW Hillel’s materials to create a templated vaccine sign-up support program toolkit for any local community to adapt to their needs.

According to Jewish tradition, someone who saves a life is credited as if they have saved an entire world. By supporting vulnerable community members in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, we have a chance to live out the Jewish value of piku’ach nefesh (saving a soul) in a direct and meaningful way.

The Vaccine Appointment Network is a project template for a community-based program matching tech-savvy volunteers with eligible community members (focusing on seniors ages 65+) for support navigating the COVID-19 vaccine appointment process.

Vaccine Appointment Network Webinar

Thursday, February 25, 12pm ET / 9am PT

REGISTER TODAY

The COVID-19 vaccine roll out in the United States is in desperate need of volunteers. Seniors across the country are struggling to navigate the complex online systems needed to schedule an appointment to receive their COVID-19 vaccines. Young adults make ideal volunteers for this effort, with native internet skills and a desire to support their communities. 

We want to help you address this critical need in your local community. Powered by Repair the World, EDCJCC, and GW Hillel, the Vaccine Appointment Network is a turnkey project template for a community-based program matching young, tech-savvy volunteers with seniors aged 65+ for support navigating the COVID-19 vaccine appointment process.

If you’re an organization who works with seniors in need of vaccine support or if your organization works with young adults energized to volunteer, join us on Thursday, February 25 at 12pm ET / 9am PT for an introductory webinar.

By the end of the webinar, you’ll have access to a full project toolkit—including draft emails, volunteer management best practices, and sample documents—to make organizing a Vaccine Appointment Network in your local community a possibility. 

Meet Repair the World’s Newest Board Members

Repair the World is excited to welcome Jesse Colvin, Yoshi Silverstein, Yosef Webb-Cohen, and Melissa White as its newest Board members as we continue to grow and expand our reach. Last year, we celebrated our 10th anniversary and welcomed Cindy Greenberg as President and CEO. Over the last year, we’ve also welcomed Robb Lippitt as Board Chair, refreshed the mission and vision of the organization, and most recently affirmed our racial justice commitments. This summer we expanded our programming with the launch of Serve the Moment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

These dynamic individuals bring with them a wealth of expertise in national service, philanthropy, and social justice. They share a passion for mobilizing Jews and their communities to take action to pursue a just world while representing diverse backgrounds, geographies, and identities. Learn more about them and what motivates them to serve their communities. To see a list of all our current board members click here.


Jesse Colvin (he/him)

Jesse Colvin is the CEO of Service Year Alliance, a nonprofit working towards a day when national service is part of growing up in the United States. He is a recognized leader and military veteran who ran to serve as the Representative from Maryland’s first congressional district in 2018. Jesse previously worked as a strategic advisor for Toffler Associates, a management consultancy. Prior to that, he held investigatory roles at Barclays Capital and Control Risks. Jesse served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, where he completed four combat deployments to Afghanistan. Before joining the military, he taught English language courses to Iraqi refugees in Damascus, Syria. Jesse holds a B.A. in history from Duke University and a Master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He lives in Maryland with his wife, Jordan, a former police officer, their toddler, a PAW Patrol enthusiast, and rescue dog, a poorly behaved Husky-Shepard mix.

What motivates you to serve? Why are you in this work? 

What motivates me to serve is a question I’ve thought a lot about, and I’m still figuring out the answer. Part of it comes from my parents, who are career public servants in the state of Maryland. I’ve spent my adult life running towards some of our country’s biggest problems. I taught English to Iraqi refugees in Damascus, Syria after college. I served in the US Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment through four combat deployments to Afghanistan. My wife served as a police officer and founded a nonprofit whose mission is to advocate on behalf of veteran service organizations who help military veterans heal from trauma by partnering them with specially-trained psychiatric service dogs. I ran for public office in 2018 and now lead a nonprofit, Service Year Alliance, whose vision is to make national service part of growing up in our country. As it relates to Repair, the parts of my life and identity related to being Jewish and the parts of my life and identity that have led me to service have often felt like two separate and distinct worlds. There were no role models — outside of a few Greatest Generation members — in our synagogue growing up who had served in the military. I was usually the only Jewish soldier in the units I served in. That’s a shame; it took until later in life to realize the values that have led me to serve and my Jewish values are, in reality, very much interconnected and mutually reinforcing. So when Cindy Greenberg told me she thought the national service community ought to have a voice from within the Jewish community and that the Jewish community ought to have a voice from within the national service community, I was in. 

What’s something people should ask you about?
Anything related to our toddler; PAW Patrol; our poorly-behaved rescue dog; my first jobs at an ice cream store, construction company, and animal hospital

 

Yoshi Silverstein (he/him)

Yoshi Silverstein is Founder and Executive Director of Mitsui Collective, which builds resilient community through embodied Jewish practice and racial equity. He is also a Cleveland community organizer for Edot: The Midwest Regional Jewish Diversity Collaborative, a cohort six Schusterman Fellow, and is part of M² Institute for Experiential Jewish Education’s inaugural Jewish Pedagogies Circle. Formerly, Yoshi was Director of the JOFEE Fellowship at Hazon from its launch through its first four cohorts, through which he catalyzed the growth and leadership of over 60 emerging professionals working across the US and Canada in the realm of Jewish relationship to land, food, culture, climate, and community.

As a Chinese-Ashkenazi-American Jew, Yoshi is an active advocate and educator in the Jews of Color community and speaks regularly on racial equity and inclusion. A former founding member of the Repair the World NYC Advisory Board, he is currently a member of the Grants Advisory Group for the Jews of Color Initiative, an alumnus of Selah (Cohort 14, Jewish Leaders of Color), and a member of the Selah Advisory Council, and has been a cast member of Kaleidoscope Project’s “What Does Jewish Look Like to You” monologue series, an ELI Talks speaker, and a Dorot Fellow. Yoshi holds certificates in Spiritual Entrepreneurship (Columbia Business School through GLEAN Network), social entrepreneurship (PresenTense NYC), permaculture design, ecovillage design, and environmental education; and earned his Masters Degree in Landscape Architecture at University of Maryland with a thesis exploring Jewish frameworks, concepts, and vocabularies for landscape journey and experience in Jewish outdoor learning environments. Also a 2nd degree blackbelt and aficionado of Chinese Roast Duck, Yoshi lives in the Cleveland area with his wife, daughter, and pup.

What motivates you to serve? Why are you in this work?
Both through formal and informal structures, service is a key component to a thriving, resilient community and, in the absence of those qualities, can be a significant driver of change. I believe that service can be a positive catalyst for shifting relationships across multiple vectors — between individual and community, between differing communities, and in the relationship between individuals, communities, and society at large.

What’s something people should ask you about?
Ask me about the time I walked (almost) the entire shoreline of Manhattan in one day.

 

Yosef Webb-Cohen (he/they)

Yosef Webb-Cohen, MDiv. is an educator committed to supporting individuals and communities in their journeys for personal, social, and cultural growth and change. Yosef is the Senior Educator and Co-Founder of the Calico Hill Collective, developing experiences to support individuals and communities who are seeking to strengthen their capacity to live out their justice values and to engage effectively, ethically, and authentically across identity differences, including race, gender, sexuality, religion, class, immigration status, and disability/mental health among other differences.  Yosef received his Masters of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary in NW Washington, DC where he focused his studies on interfaith (Jewish/Christian/Muslim) dialogue for peace, a BA in Anthropology with an emphasis on the experiences of indigenous Native American peoples, from California State University, Sacramento, and two AA degrees from American River College in Sacramento. He successfully completed a year and a half of Clinical Pastoral Education (5 Units) and is trained as an interfaith and mental health chaplain, including more than a year at Saint Elizabeths Mental Health Hospital in Washington, DC. Yosef is currently pursuing an MSW at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

What motivates you to serve? Why are you in this work?
I believe we all have a spark of the Divine within us. To serve others is to serve the Divine. To see others, in all of their complexities, is to see the Divine.  All of this is in order to make the world a better place.

What’s something people should ask you about?
Ask me about my past jobs and careers…Bring a lunch, it will be a long conversation. lol

 

Melissa White (she/her)

Melissa is Executive Director at the Key Biscayne Community Foundation (KBCF). Over the last ten years, Melissa has led the foundation and the Key Biscayne community in making a collective impact in Miami through a network of partner organizations, focused on collaboration. KBCF initiatives during Melissa’s tenure have included a sister-city initiative created by Melissa and the Key Biscayne Police Chief between KBCF, the Village of Key Biscayne, and the under-served neighborhood of Liberty City as well as one of the first university, foundation, and municipal partnerships for citizen science. Before joining KBCF, Melissa was a senior program coordinator at the University of Miami. She is a board member of Friends of Cape Florida State Park and served in the past on the board of governors of the Key Biscayne Yacht Club. Melissa holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from Virginia Tech and a MA in International Administration from the University of Miami. She and her husband are proud parents to three children who provide them with laughter and love.

What motivates you to serve? Why are you in this work?
I’m motivated to serve in order to make a positive impact on the world.

What’s something people should ask you about?
Please ask me about my kids.

Make an Impact. Repair the World.

Skills for Impact: Why Skilled Volunteering Matters:

If you have a drive to use your time and talent to help others, you are in the right place!  Skilled volunteering is a critical tool in a non-profit’s toolbox, it allows them to build their capacity and grow their impact. “Organizations that fundamentally leverage volunteers and their skills towards their mission are significantly more adaptable, sustainable and capable of going to scale.”  A good skilled volunteer uses their expertise to lift the burden from nonprofit staff who may not have pre-existing training or experience needed for a given project.

Getting in the Volunteer Mindset:

Approaching a new organization and a new project is a skill in itself, so we thought that we would give you somewhere to get started.  Here are some tips inspired by one of our favorite Jewish quotes from the Jewish wisdom book, Pirkei Avot2:

Who is one that is wise? One who learns from every person, as it is said: “From all my teachers have I gained understanding.” (Psalm 119:99)

Hold a learning posture.  You might know tips, tricks, and best practices for a given project, but make sure that you are also listening deeply to the needs of the non-profit and their community.  Then you can mesh the two together to create the most helpful outcomes.

Who is mighty? One who conquers their impulse to evil, as it is written, “One who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and one who rules over their spirit than one who conquers a city.” (Proverbs 16:32)

Be patient.  The non-profit that you are matched to might not have experience working with a consultant, and helping them share their needs and the most useful information to you might not always feel ‘efficient’ to you.

Who is rich? One who is happy with their portion, as it says (Psalms, 128:2), “If you eat of toil of your hands, fortunate are you, and good is to you”; “fortunate are you” in this world, “and good is to you” in the World to Come.

Be content. Sometimes the most important work is the least ‘sexy.’  Sticking with this opportunity will create short-term and long-term benefits for everyone involved.
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1  “Partnering with Funders to Unleash the Power of Volunteers” | Leighty Foundation
2 Pirkei Avot 4:1 [AJWS translation]

Who is honored? One who honors the creations, as it says, “Those who honor Me I will honor, but those who scorn Me will be despised” (I Samuel 2:30) 

Be respectful.  If you extend respect, you will be respected, and that positive relationship will make for the best experience and the best work!

Learning about the work: 

You have the opportunity to volunteer with organizations with a wide variety of missions.  Those that we are bringing onto the platform focus on addressing poverty and its reverberations on local, national, and global scales.  There is way more to say about these topics than we could fit into a few paragraphs, but we’ve collected some resources for you to check out to learn more about why these issue areas are so important.

As you read, watch, and listen, consider what surprises you, what do you want to know more about and how might what you are learning influence your approach to volunteering.

Read

Watch

Listen:

  • 1619 Project Podcast from the New York Times Magazine “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.”
  • NPR’s Codeswitch Podcast discusses race “from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between,” on a local, national, and international level.
  • Jews, Justice, and Global Giving” podcast episode from OLAM’s Global Torah interviewing Ruth Messinger and Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand, discussing how we prioritize our giving.
  • Weekly Economics Podcast from the New Economics Foundation explores topics of economic justice and poverty.

Reflection: 

As you sign up to volunteer through repairtheworld.catchafire.org/volunteer-now and find an organization to contribute your talents to, consider what it would look and feel like to embody a volunteer mindset.

In Jewish tradition, kavannah, or intention, comes from the same root as the word for “direction,” meaning that building up and constantly honing our intentions will help us stay on the path towards a more just world.

To get you started, find inspiration for intention setting and reflection, here are a few resources that we love to return to:

We can’t wait to hear about your experience! Email us at [email protected] with questions, thoughts and insight on your experience.

Spring Into Solidarity

Jewish tradition is inspired by rabinnical sages, who would open their doors when they ate meals and said, “Whoever is in need, let that person come and eat.” [Ta’anit 20b]

During these unprecedented times of need, Repair the World’s commitment to support our nonprofit service partners in feeding people who are food insecure is unwavering. To express that support, Repair launched Spring Into Solidarity, a fundraising race to mobilize Jews and their communities to show up for our partner organizations on the front lines of COVID-19 relief efforts. 

The Great Big Jewish Food Fest is collaborating with Repair the World to support 15 partner organizations raising at least $1,000 each. All funds raised will go directly to each organization to help meet their immediate and rising needs resulting from the COVID-19 crisis

If you would like to give generally to the Spring Into Solidarity fund, donate here. If you’re looking to donate to a specific organization across Repair’s nine communities, use the partner guide below to learn more and donate. Thank you for your support! 

REPAIR THE WORLD’S FOOD JUSTICE PARTNERS:

ATLANTA

  • Concrete Jungle
    Concrete Jungle transforms overlooked and underutilized fruit trees and land into a year-round food source for food banks, shelters and people in need. Donate here.
  • SWEEAC
    Southwest Ecumenical Emergency Assistance Center (SWEEAC) provides food, clothing, household items, and resources to those with emergency needs to support self- sufficiency, prevent hunger, and address homelessness. Donate here.

BALTIMORE

  • Baltimore Hunger Project
    Baltimore Hunger Project is dedicated to eliminating the growing problem of weekend childhood hunger by consistently providing weekend food packages to food insecure children in a compassionate and dignified manner. Donate here.

BROOKLYN

CHICAGO

  • The Night Ministry
    The Night Ministry works to provide meals, housing, health care and human connection to those struggling with poverty or homelessness. Donate here.

DETROIT

  • Gleaners Food Bank 
    Gleaners Community Food Bank exists to provide households with access to sufficient, nutritious food, and related resources. Donate here.

HARLEM

MIAMI

  • Health in the Hood
    Health in the Hood connects low-income families to healthy, free, local food by transforming vacant land into vibrant vegetable gardens and teaching wellness workshops. Donate here.

PHILADELPHIA

  • Broad Street Ministry
    Broad Street Ministry transforms Philadelphia’s city and institutions by embracing the individual needs of our most vulnerable sisters & brothers. Donate here.
  • Jewish Relief Agency
    ​Jewish Relief Agency serves diverse low-income individuals by relieving hunger, improving lives, and strengthening the Philadelphia community. Donate here.

PITTSBURGH

  • Just Harvest
    Just Harvest educates, empowers and mobilizes people to eliminate hunger, poverty, and economic injustice by influencing public policy, engaging in advocacy, and connecting people to public benefits. Donate here.
  • Jewish Association on Aging
    The mission of the Jewish Association on Aging is to honor and enhance the lives of older adults by providing a continuum of individualized, quality care consistent with Jewish values and tradition. Donate here.