Today is July 4th – America’s Independence Day. In addition to being a day of relaxing, barbecues and family gatherings, Independence Day also gives us the opportunity to reflect on what freedom really means and, most importantly, to give back to our communities and our country. To get you inspired, here is a special July 4th edition of service-related links from around the web.

  • The Forward published an essay by Rabbi Jill Jacobs focusing on the role today’s rabbis and Jewish leaders need to play in “engag[ing] communities in study and then to roll[ing] up our sleeves and join[ing] the project of building and rebuilding America.”
  • The National Service Blog recasts volunteering as the new way to celebrate July 4th.
  • JTA reported on the role that urban Jewish gardens and farms are playing in growing food to help feed low-income families and neighborhoods.

  • The Huffington Post
    included a story by Ed Sayres of the ASPCA with a new angle on the disaster relief work going on in Joplin, Missouri: animal rescue.
  • GOOD sets out a 30-day challenge for readers: waste less and produce less trash. Think you’re up for the challenge?
  • The Hands On Blog offers a few tips and pointers on how to make the most of summertime service.