A Partnership to Elevate Justice

Photo of Heather Paul (she/her), former Springboard Fellowship Assistant Director

Springboard Fellowship is an early career leadership development program run through Hillel International for those within a few years of graduating college. The program includes three fellowship specialties: Innovation, Ezra Jewish Education, and Social Justice, where the partnership began with Repair the World.  

Heather Paul (she/her), former Springboard Fellowship Assistant Director with Hillel International (and current Senior Jewish Educator at Illini Hillel), explains, “The partnership between Springboard and Repair began because we knew there was a lot of interest and a need to engage in this work. Emerging adults were really excited about justice work. I saw, and continue to see, young people who really can change the world because no one’s told them no, yet. It’s amazing. They have such passion and energy. And if organizations like Repair and programs like Springboard can capitalize on that energy, there’s no end to what might happen.”

Repair the World’s staff train and mentors Springboard Social Justice Fellows and trains their supervisors as a part of their onboarding. Repair also runs electives and provides resources for all Springboard Fellows who want to build service and justice, tzedek, into their learning. Heather and other Fellowship leaders learned from Repair about opportunities for emerging adults who want to learn more about Judaism, service, and justice.

“Having Repair as a partner helped us better articulate why justice was part of our Springboard program, why we had a social justice track, and why Judaism and justice go together,” Heather says. “Repair was such an obvious partner in these efforts.” 

Through the partnership with Repair, Springboard now has a successful social justice fellowship. Since the launch of the partnership, Repair has trained and supported 4 cohorts of Springboard Social Justice Fellows. This partnership has catalyzed 17,000+ participants in 33,000+ acts of service and learning since its launch.  “There are people who have never known a Hillel without an option of having a social justice professional working for it,” Heather says. “For there to be a minimum of 10 to 12, and up to 20 or more campuses that have a social justice professional working for Hillel, that’s incredible.”

The partnership between Hillel and Repair, which led to the Springboard Social Justice Fellowship, helped Hillel put its values into action. As Heather shares, Hillel cares a lot about justice and this track in the Fellowship makes that more tangible. 

“By having this opportunity, Hillel is showing how vital this work is to making a real difference,” she adds. “Professionals are on these campuses, and they’ve received training from brilliant educators who give them social justice tools. The fellows make an impact, not only by teaching students the values of Judaism and social justice, but also by infusing those values into service programs, and making sure they’re doing more service programming.”