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This Week: AJWS’ Global Hunger Shabbat

Regular Shabbat observers and novices alike are invited to join the first annual Global Hunger Shabbat this week on March 19-20. Spearheaded by the international organization, American Jewish World Service (AJWS) as part of their Fighting Hunger from the Ground Up campaign, it offers an opportunity for local communities (AJWS estimates participation from 5,000 people) to raise awareness and solidarity around issues of unjust food access, poverty, and hunger across the world.

Participation can include anything from hosting a Shabbat dinner or lunch conversation around the issue of food access, giving a speech or sermon at your synagogue, JCC or in your house, bringing the topic into the classroom, or organizing a day of action in the fight against hunger.

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A Community Garden Grows in Israel — with JDC

For the past 95 years, JDC has established itself as a leader in Jewish service – organizing vital rescue, relief, and renewal-based programs in more than 80 Jewish communities throughout the world. JDC offers a variety of ways to get involved including short-term (10-day) service trips and the year-long Jewish Service Corps program.

Back in January, a group of short-term service volunteers spent time working in Gedera, Israel helping to build a vegetable garden with and for the Ethiopian-Israeli community. The community is comprised of like-minded individuals (both native Israelis and Ethiopian-Israelis) who choose to live and work together on a traditional or urban kibbutz. Community action, empowerment and volunteer service are a central part of the neighborhood’s vision – including keeping a garden that provides food for residents and beautifies the area.

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From The Field (Avodah): Learning from Diversity in the Big Easy

Avodah is one of the pioneers of immersive Jewish service-learning. Since 1998, the organization has enabled 20-somethings to engage in anti-poverty work from a Jewish perspective. Participants, called Corps members, live together in one of four communities – New York, Chicago, Washington DC and New Orleans – and spend a year working for a local non-profit organization.

Not surprisingly, Corps members tend to have a transformative year at Avodah – both from the work they do, and also through the experience of moving in together with a diverse (Jewishly and otherwise) bunch of strangers. In New Orleans, Rachie Lewis and Jordan Aiken turned the challenge of navigating their strikingly different backgrounds into an opportunity for learning.
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