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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. 

Jewish Racial Justice Learn-In

An opportunity for dialogue on race, racism and social change.

Given the intention to honor Dr. King, and the racial justice reckoning we are living through, Repair will gather Jewish learners and leaders for a virtual Learn-In. The Learn-In will offer a diverse set of programs with many voices, entry points, and perspectives to deepen our learning about the themes of Dr. King’s life and legacy and move us forward together as a community.

 

Microgrant: Programming for and by Georgia Jews of Color
February 5, 9:00am – 5:00pm ET

Atlanta Repair and a local committee of Jews of Color have created a microgrant to support Georgia Jews of Color creating programming–either for their own communities, however defined, or for the larger public. This microgrant is powered by the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, through a Propel Innovation Grant for Jewish service and learning in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Individuals and/or organizations can apply for funding. For more information, click the link to the right. DEADLINE FEBRUARY 5. APPLY TODAY!

Jewish Racial Justice Literacy 101
January 13, 7:30pm – 8:45 pm ET

We are in the midst of a national conversation about racial justice. Some of us have been talking about this topic for years while others are unsure how to begin. Facilitated by Victoria Raggs, Trinae Watkins and Lily Brent, this event will explore key concepts on race and racism through the lived experiences of Atlanta’s diverse Jewish community. Our facilitators will lead an examination of microaggressions that take place every day in our Jewish institutions and hold space for Jews to engage in a dialogue about race. This event will scratch the surface of a very deep issue, while encouraging people of all experience levels to think about how we join collectively in the movement for equity and inclusion. REGISTER TODAY!

Jewish Racial Justice Literacy 102
January 17, 4:00pm – 5:15 pm ET

As a follow-up to Jewish Racial Justice Literacy 101, this event will explore ways to personally address microaggressions and guide participants on how to move from intention to action. Facilitated by Jada Garrett, John Eaves and Pam Sugarman, this event will provide tools for having open and honest conversations. Attendees will participate in a reflective practice on race and racial justice and leave with clear steps they can action on their learning journey. REGISTER TODAY!

Becoming Better Allies
January 18, 7:30pm – 8:45pm ET

Where have you experienced solidarity this year and when has community let you down? This discussion, moderated by Ruby-Beth Buitekant of Movement Law Lab, will feature healthcare advocate Abbie Fuksman, former Executive Director of the Tahirih Justice Center Shana Tabak, and Georgia Equality Gender Inclusion Organizer Chanel Haley. We will host a conversation on what is a “Jewish issue” at a time of growing diversity within the Jewish community, and draw upon both Jewish wisdom and Dr. King’s teachings to guide us in becoming better allies both to members of the Jewish community and to our neighbors. REGISTER TODAY!

MLK Family Singalong & Story-Time with Tkiya
January 18, 9:00am – 9:45am ET

Looking to teach your young ones about MLK’s legacy this year? Join Repair the World Atlanta, Tkiya, and 18Doors on Monday, January 18th from 9-9:45am for a virtual fun and interactive introduction to Martin Luther King Jr. Day for children ages 0-7 and their families. Through songs, stories and learning, we’ll be introducing topics of race, diversity and equity. REGISTER TODAY!

 

 

OUR PARTNERS

  

 

OUR PLANNING COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Leslie Anderson, Jonathan Arogeti, Cecelia Borgman, Breauna Dorelus, Dr. John Eaves, Robin Deutsch Edwards, Jada Garrett, Rabbi Samuel Kaye, Nicole Moore, Amy Price, Victoria Raggs, Rabbi Francine Roston, Howie Slomka, Pam Sugarman, Trinae Watkins, William Whatley

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.
_______________________________

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.

Repair the World with Mutual Aid

Repair the World with Mutual Aid!

Mutual Aid initiatives are responding to meet the heightened needs of people across communities. These networks have gained momentum in order to provide necessary relief from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Repair the World staff and Fellows are directly involved in mutual aid efforts. Check out our #MutualAid campaign below where you can learn more about what it is and how to get involved to support your neighbors!

EDIT: Mutual aid is an important way to support and be supported by the community. It has been a tool for grass-roots community care and support long before the pandemic shut down businesses across the country.  Due to the combined public health threats of COVID-19 and police brutality, both compounded by, the work of mutual aid very crucial right now. We are highlighting ways that you can get involved in local mutual aid initiatives and anti-racist actions that support our local communities.

Mutual Aid Slide 1: What is Mutual AidMutual Aid Slide 2: Neighbors coming together in a community-led movement to support those who face barriers to access resources and services.Mutual Aid Slide 3: Mutual Aid Is - centering the needs of those most impactedmutual aid slide 4#MutualAidMondays

Want to talk with a member of our team? Contact [email protected] to get connected or to share information about your mutual aid initiatives. Posted below are a sampling of initiatives across our communities that you can get involved with today.

  • National Listings of Mutual Aid Networks
    • Mutualaidhub.org
    • https://helpinghands.community/help
    • itsgoingdown.org/c19-mutual-aid/
    • Relief and Resources for Undocumented Immigrants
  • Detroit
    • Donate to Auntie Na’s Food Box Delivery Program through our partner organization, Detroit Jews For Justice.
    • Pass Your Bucks to redirect federal emergency stimulus dollars toward non-profit organizations supporting communities who are least likely to receive stimulus checks.
  • Pittsburgh
    • Support grocery access with Ratzon: Center for Healing and Resistance’s grocery fund! You can venmo @Ratzon-Food-Distro
    • Donate to neighbors through Open Hand Ministries for grocery/rent/mortgage support!
    • The Wellness Collective created the Community Delivery Hotline to ensure that folks with limited transportation and resources have access to their basic needs. Sign up to get resources delivered to you or volunteer to be a driver, intake coordinator, or switchboard operator.
    • Need support and/or can you provide relief to others? Get involved with the Pittsburgh Mutual Aid network!
    • Fundraise for or donate to the PGH Artists Emergency Fund to provide relief for artist/industry folks, many of whom cannot access unemployment and have lost all sources of income for the duration of the pandemic.
  • Chicago
    • Seniors, those living with disability, and folks living in food deserts are most at risk with the continual spread of the virus. Chicago Repair is working with partner: My Block, My Hood, My City to deliver groceries as well as response packages, to ensure access to hand sanitizer, health supplements, toiletries and food; to participate, email [email protected]

Mutual Aid brings together many elements which we value at Repair the World. Volunteers engage with  their communities to build and reify relationships across differences. Mutual Aid brings people together to directly address many of our major concerns, such as food insecurity, criminal justice, education justice and housing. Let’s work together to build communities we wish to live in, where all people can thrive together!

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 Spaced Out Seder

By Rabbi Jessy Dressin

This year is my youngest nephew’s first seder. The first grandchild for my parents. The first of the next generation of my family. I pictured the Matzah Ballin’ bib on top of the “I found the afikomen” onesie. And then, it became clear, seder would be different this year. I began to think about how I would still host my family for seder. What would I need to create in order for my family, spanning ages 6 months to 75 years and three thousands miles, to come together virtually?

And then, the texts started to come in. From friends. From neighbors. “What are we gonna do for seder?” and “Are you creating something?” I hadn’t thought about the google doc I was working on for my family seder becoming the document that hundreds of others could use, but I soon realized the document could be a tool for others to meaningful engage with family and friends this Passover, at a time when we need it the most. This season is already difficult enough and I hated the thought that people would give up on the idea of hosting a seder virtually because they were uncertain of how to do so.

I began to adjust the google doc from a resource for my family to a more general resource with guiding tips and helpful advice. I considered the platform and I realized a long seder may not keep people engaged. I realized there was an opportunity for sharing videos and other content in an attempt to create something sensory and engaging. 

With humility, I added some loose instructions. (1) How to make sure everyone would have what they need to participate. (2) Designating someone to lead the seder, who I assume may be different than the person who typically leads the family seder – because technology – a true moment of passing the generational torch. (3) Things to think about in advance and the encouragement that trying to make seder happen this year is an act of resistance to the limitations and barriers the current circumstances place us in.

Circumstances may not be ideal. They may not result in a refined or polished celebration. We may find ourselves feeling limited and uncertain as to how we engage. Yet, the Passover story is about finding our own unique placement in a collective narrative. It is about seeing where we are at each year and how we relate to the timeless themes we are asked to consider at our tables. And, through my work with Repair the World, it is an invitation to think about the various ways that others may be experiencing these narrow and restrictive times. I am so glad to have special Passover resources from Repair to include at my seder table this year. 

Passover is the quintessential ritual that leverages memory as a motivator to act. An invitation to consider the ways that oppressive systems still inhibit people today from living to their fullest potential; to see ourselves as having a role to play in a liberation story that has not fully yet been realized because not all people are free.


Rabbi Jessy Dressin is dedicated to building Jewish connections and helping others find their connection. She worked for the JCCs of Greater Baltimore as a rabbi and director of Jewish life from 2012 until 2019. She now serves as the executive director for the Baltimore chapter of Repair the World. In 2016, Rabbi Jessy was named as one of The Forward’s Most Inspiring Rabbis.