Press Releases

Mar. 20, 2012

PRESS RELEASE: Repair the World Releases First-Ever Journal on Jewish Service-Learning

– Experts Reveal Insights into Emerging Field –

MARCH 20, 2012 NEW YORK, NY – Repair the World and the Jewish Communal Service Association today released “People of the Book, Community of Action: Exploring Jewish-service-learning,” the first-ever issue of the Journal of Jewish Communal Service dedicated to Jewish service-learning (JSL). The creation of this landmark publication, which includes articles from experts in Jewish service-learning and from organizations such as American Jewish World Service, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Jewish Agency for Israel, focuses on trends and best practices for the JSL field. It marks Repair’s continued commitment to the growing the JSL field and aiding the professionals who work in it.

Jewish service-learning combines direct service that responds to real community needs with learning and time for reflection on why that service represents a Jewish value. The new Journal provides background on the field and the relationship between Jewish identity and Jewish service-learning. It also tackles topics such as the cost and value of Jewish service-learning, the creation of a “service people,” the integration of Jewish learning and service, and the state of service in Israel. The Journal also highlights the impact of JSL on the communities its volunteers serve, on participants performing the service, and on the Jewish community at large.

“To succeed, JSL service must be authentic, it must support the needs of the community being served, and it must effectively align its learning program to the work itself. At best, it can help build connections between and among participants, and enhance their long-term commitments to service,” said Jon Rosenberg, CEO of Repair the World. “We hope the Journal will help deepen and broaden the knowledge about Jewish service-learning in the Jewish community and breed best practices.”

Repair the World has been studying the Jewish service-learning (JSL) field since it was founded in 2009 and fostering its growth by providing grants, technical assistance, leadership, support for educators and conducting research and evaluation to inform the field’s development. In 2010-2011, Repair the World released several reports including The Worth of What They Do: The Impact of Short-Term Immersive Jewish Service-Learning on Host Communities–An Exploratory Study, Volunteering + Values: A Repair the World Report on Jewish Young Adults, and Year 2: Refining the Pedagogy of the Group Leadership Training Institute for Immersive Jewish Service Program Leaders. 

Journal Highlights include:

  • From Service-Learning to Service-Activism: What Teach for America Can Teach the Jewish Service Movement, Aaron Dorfman, American Jewish World Service
  • Dual Benefits, Dual Challenges: The Theory and Practice of Integrating Community Impact and Participant Development in Jewish Service-Learning Experiences, Max Klau, City Year and Dana Talmi, Yahel
  • A Judaism that Matters: Creating Integrated Service Learning Communities, Lisa Exler, American Jewish World Service and Jill Jacobs, Rabbis for Human Rights
  • If We Build It, They Will Come: A Case for Developing the Field of Jewish Service-Learning in Israel, Dyonna Ginsburg, The Jewish Agency for Israel
  • Making Meaning: Emerging Adults and Service, Beth Cousens, Imagine Jewish Education
  • Becoming a Servant: How James Kugel’s Conception of Avodat Hashem Can Help Us Think About the Dispositional Goals of Jewish Service-Learning, Jon Levisohn, Brandeis University

The Journal was made possible with support from the Jim Joseph Foundation and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.

“We see the depth and breadth of inquiry on display in this exciting edition of the Journal of Jewish Communal Service as a sign of the growing sophistication of the field of Jewish Service Learning,” said Al Levitt, president of the Jim Joseph Foundation.

“Our Foundation works to expand service opportunities that help young people make a difference in the world while connecting to their Jewish values and tradition,” said Lisa Eisen, National Director of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. “We hope our support of this journal will increase awareness and understanding of the rich field of Jewish service learning, and how it can strengthen our young people, our community and our world.

People of the Book, Community of Action is available in both print and online, Repair the World’s blog devoted exclusively to providing resources and a community to the field’s practitioners. This is the first time that the Journal of Jewish Communal Service will be available online. The Journal’s release also includes a digital supplement comprised of smaller pieces from practitioners and experts in the field, including the likes of Ruth Messinger, Jordan Namerow, Michelle Lackie, Amy Weiss, Shimshon Stuart Siegel, and Rabbi Bradley Solmsen.


Established in 2009, Repair the World is a national nonprofit organization that mobilizes Jewish Americans to contend with the world’s most pressing issues through service.  Headquartered in New York City, we connect individuals with meaningful volunteer opportunities to help their local, national and global communities, and builds the capacity of individuals and organizations to run effective service programs rooted in Jewish values. For more information, visit