In 2016 Aaron (he/him) joined Repair the World as a fellow in Detroit after wanting to deepen his service experience as a Metro Detroit native and strengthen his connection to his own Jewishness. “As a young Jew, I didn’t grow up within a Jewish community and joining the Fellowship elevated the Jewish piece of service for me and I wanted to continue to explore that,” said Aaron. “As a fellow I became much more connected to the Jewish community in Detroit.”
“The fellowship led to a sort of rebirth of Jewish identity as I expressed my Jewishness by serving and making meaningful connections with other fellows.”
Julia (she/her) also joined the fellowship in 2016, serving in Philadelphia. Service played a significant role in Julia’s life but she was longing to connect to more young Jewish people who also found service to be meaningful and impactful. “I was able to build these beautiful relationships with both the nonprofits I served alongside and other Jewish volunteers,” said Julia.
One of the most meaningful connections Aaron and Julia made as fellows was with each other. Aaron and Julia met while on a bus during the Repair the World Fellowship national orientation week, an intensive training period where fellows from all Repair communities come together to learn, build relationships, and plan ahead as they embark on their immersive service and learning journey.
“Julia was very jet lagged when we first met and kind of blew me off,” Aaron jokingly said as he reflected on meeting Julia for the first time. “But we connected over her being from Philadelphia and the college semester I spent in Philadelphia.”
Aaron and Julia continued to bond during Passover, when Julia decided to spend a week in Detroit to serve and Aaron gave Julia a tour of the Repair the World Detroit office. Their connection blossomed over that week and beyond.
“Neither of us were looking for or expecting to be in a long distance relationship but after that trip to Detroit, we continued talking and learning more about each other. We both realized there was something there,” said Aaron.
At the end of the fellowship year Aaron took a trip to Philadelphia where he and Julia had their first date. Six years later, Aaron and Julia were married by the Philadelphia Repair’s former city director, Rabbi Seth Goren on the anniversary of that day, June 25th, 2023.
Jewish service and community continue to play a role in Aaron and Julia’s relationship. “Our Jewish identity has grown and strengthened together and building a community through service is behind that.”
Mazel tov Aaron and Julia! We’re inspired by how your Jewish service story blossomed. If you have a Repair love story, let us know! Reach out to [email protected] or complete this story form.
Before Repair the World, Aaron served as the Research and Outreach Coordinator and Treasurer of Auntie Na’s House, a nonprofit village holistically supporting a community on the Westside of Detroit. He continued to work there during his year of service alongside other organizations, including Freedom House and Brilliant Detroit. After his year of service, Aaron joined the staff of Brilliant Detroit, which builds kid success neighborhoods alongside families with young children, as their Stewardship Coordinator. More than six years later, Aaron remains at Brilliant Detroit, having worked in volunteer management; grant writing; and now partner development, scaling and strategy, and board governance support as their Director of Strategic Growth.
After completing her year of service with Repair the World, Julia worked at Delaware Valley Fairness Project and Youth Volunteer Corps (her former service partner), before making a COVID-era career change to become a teacher. She completed her Master’s degree in Secondary Education as part of the Temple University Teacher Residency Program. Julia is currently teaching Spanish at Constitution High School in Philadelphia.