Press Releases

Oct. 25, 2021

Jewish Service Alliance Expands Efforts to Make Service a Defining Element of American Jewish Life With Support from New JCRIF Reset Grant

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jason Edelstein, 510-239-1102

October 25, 2021 — The Jewish Service Alliance (JSA), powered by Repair the World, today announced major new plans to make service a defining part of American Jewish life with the support of a $5.8 million Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund (JCRIF) Reset grant. With this new investment, the JSA’s unprecedented coalition of Jewish engagement organizations will leverage partnerships nationally and locally to elevate service and learning and bring more Jewish depth to this growing field. The Jewish Service Alliance is powered by Repair the World (Repair) and includes Hillel International, Honeymoon Israel, JCC Association, JDC Entwine, JFNA, Moishe House, and OLAM.

“This is a critical moment for the Jewish community to live our values,” says Cindy Greenberg, President and CEO of Repair the World. “If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that our lives are interconnected and there is an urgent need that the Jewish community can address. Generation Z is the most civically engaged generation alive today. No matter where young Jewish adults are, no matter how their Jewishness manifests, we can show them that meaningful service and learning in pursuit of a just world is a Jewish practice that’s accessible throughout their lives.”

The pandemic has exacerbated inequalities that young adults see around them—and that some experience themselves—and increased the care needed by many of their neighbors. Jewish young adults also are concerned about rising anti-Semitism and polarization within the Jewish community. At the same time, the majority of American Jews believe that leading a moral and ethical life (72%) and working for justice and equality (59%) are essential elements of their Jewish identity.

“Jewish college students care more than ever about having a positive social impact, and our partnership with Repair the World has played a crucial role in enabling them to achieve this impact through service,” said Hillel President and CEO Adam Lehman. “We’re thrilled that this new landmark grant will make it possible for even more Jewish college students to take part in deep and meaningful service work that not only strengthens students’ connection to Jewish life, but also enables tangible, positive change in the larger world.”

With JCRIF’s support, the JSA will unlock the enormous reach of its partners to offer meaningful service and learning for tens of thousands of Jewish young adults. This will be done by:

  • Creating infrastructure, offering training, and developing new curriculum to activate Jewish learning opportunities that are accessible and relevant across the Jewish community.
  • Strengthening the role of service within each JSA organization’s core offerings to provide more Jewish young adults and their communities opportunities to serve.
  • Expanding the work to more communities to scale Jewish service to new locations and audiences to reach thousands more Jewish young adults and their communities.

Eric Fingerhut, President and CEO of Jewish Federations of North America, shared “we are grateful to Repair the World and JCRIF for enabling this important work, which will direct resources to Federations and other key partners towards activating the power of service and helping Jewish communities flourish.”

JCRIF funders for this work include the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, Jim Joseph Foundation, and Maimonides Fund, reflecting both new and expanding support. Recipients of JCRIF’s Reset grants were selected through a rigorous process that began with a public Request for Proposals in February 2021, calling for projects that could “seize this unique moment to reimagine, renew, and reset Jewish communities for the future” and offer “new thinking that can move beyond current organizational boundaries, structures, missions, and program delivery mechanisms.”

“The power and impact of the Jewish service movement come from its partnerships,” adds Greenberg. “Different organizations working together, nationally and locally, enable more young adults to engage in Jewish life and learning that is meaningful to them. The JSA deeply appreciates JCRIF’s continued support of this vision, especially the support from new funders, and is excited to see the other innovative ideas and organizations JCRIF is supporting with this round of grants.”

About the JSA
More than 40 Jewish communal partners founded the Jewish Service Alliance in spring 2020 to mobilize young Jews and their communities to meet COVID-19 needs. In its first year, the JSA mobilized tens of thousands of participants and catalyzed 100,000 acts of service and learning to support nonprofit partners, create customized Jewish service partnerships, and run four national issue-area campaigns. The JSA aims to catalyze one million acts of service and learning (AS&L) cumulatively over the coming years.