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Archive for : JTA

Monday Link Round up

Happy Monday and happy day-after-the-Oscars! Hopefully you had fun cheering on your favorite stars, laughing (or not) at Billy Crystal’s jokes, and sizing up the fashion on the red carpet. To get you in the spirit for the rest of the week, here is Repair the World’s weekly round up of service-related posts from around the web.

  • The Huffington Post reported on which Oscar nominees were the most charitable. (For Repair the World’s coverage on Hollywood volunteering and philanthropy, click here.)
  • JTA published a story on the first anniversary of the devastating tsunamis in Japan about the positive impact Israeli disaster responders had in helping post-tsunami trauma victims.
  • GOOD helps introduce Bully, an important new documentary about the epidemic of bullying in American schools.
  • GOOD also shared several books that cover the topic of bullying, and different students’ responses to it.
  • Sustainablog shared a story about an urban garden located at a bus stop in London, that is helping to build community. (Includes a great video featuring charming British accents!)

Monday Link Roundup

Happy Monday! Hopefully you had a wonderful Rosh Hashanah celebration and a restful weekend. Stay in the High Holiday spirit with Repair the World’s Marathon of Good: 10 opportunities to serve between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. To get you geared up, here is your weekly round up of inspiring service stories from around the web.

Monday Link Roundup

Happy Monday! Hopefully the soggy weather, which left much of the East Coast water-logged over the last couple of days, didn’t cramp your weekend style. To inject a little sunshine into the beginning of the week, here’s your weekly dose of inspiration from around the web.

  • The New York Times published an article by the inimitable Samuel Freedman about a Jewish summer camp focused on young Jews of color.
  • The JTA posted the latest news about the tens of thousands of peaceful protesters crowding the streets – and not just in Tel Aviv.
  • Meanwhile, The Forward offered an op-ed by J.J. Goldberg which recounted Israeli novelist, David Grossman’s thoughts on the protests and his experiences from the front line.
  • GOOD offers a bit of fascinating (and comparatively hopeful) environmental news about how humans are helping animal populations around the world adapt to a changing global climate.
  • The San Francisco Chronicle to end on a bright note, shares how a seven year old kid decided to donate his piggybank money to a local environmental nonprofit.

Recycling in Israel is On the Rise

According to a recent article in JTA, recycling of plastic bottles is on the rise in Israel – thanks to a public awareness campaign, and an increase of collection bins spread throughout the country.

Recycling, of course, is not the cure-all for environmental issues. Wherever possible it’s best to not consume something new or unnecessary (ahem, plastic water bottles) in the first place. Still, it’s an important first step to raising people’s consciousness about environmental responsibility.

Work to increase recycling in:

    • Your home. Recycling at home is easy with a bit of planning. Find out what types of recyclables (glass, paper, tin, plastic) are collected in your neighborhood and purchase or make bins to make sorting super easy. If you happen to live in San Francisco or Toronto, your local government collects food and yard waste to be composted too, so be sure to set aside your food scraps!
    • Your neighborhood. Contact your local representatives to let them know you support increased recycling facilities in your hometown. Or write an op-ed for a local newspaper to help garner support for better neighborhood recycling. Best yet, teach one person how to sort their recyclables. It’s not always as intuitive as it seems!
    • Your school. It can be difficult to convince a high school or college administration to take on recycling. Up your chances of success by holding an awareness campaign amongst the students to raise support. Find out how here.
    • Your office. Like school, the office can be a tough sell for recycling. Before proposing that your coworkers start sorting bottles and cans, find out what type of recycling pick up (via your building or a private company) is available to your office. You’ll have a better chance of convincing your boss to go green if you’ve done a bit of the legwork.


Check out more ideas on how to raise awareness about recycling in your neighborhood here.

Monday Link Roundup

Happy Monday! Here to get you geared up for the week ahead, is your regular dose of inspiration from around the web. Read on…

  • The Jewish Week featured an essay by rabbinical student, Daniel Millner, on his recent service trip to Alabama to help rebuild tornado-devastated communities.
  • JTA reported on Repair the World’s study on service, volunteering and Jewish values.
  • The Forward published a tribute by women’s rights activist, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, on the legacy of fellow activist and co-author of “The Women’s Hagaddah,” Esther Broner, who passed away last week.
  • The Huffington Post published an essay by Rabbi Lawrence Troster calling for forging a deeper, more sacred connection to the earth.
  • The Huffington Post also included an article about First Lady Michelle Obama’s recent inspirational trip to visit Peace Corps workers in Botswana.
  • The New York Times published an article about how charities are using texting and other modern technologies to raise awareness and appeal to younger supporters.

Study: Young Jews volunteer, but don’t connect it to Judaism

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) — Most young Jews do some kind of volunteer service, but few do it through Jewish agencies or connect it to Jewish values.

Poverty, the environment, education and illiteracy are the areas that draw most young Jewish volunteers, with Israel-related work at the bottom of the list.

These are among the findings of a new study on Jewish young adult volunteerism commissioned by Repair the World, a national organization that promotes service as a defining element of Jewish life and learning.

“This is an idealistic, civically engaged population, and there are a lot of things to be done to deepen their involvement and connect it to Jewish values and the Jewish community,” said Jon Rosenberg, CEO of Repair the World.

The study, which surveyed some 2,000 Jews aged 18 to 35, could provide guidance to Jewish organizations seeking ways to involve young Jews in Jewish volunteer service, and for those that run service projects outside the Jewish community but wish to strengthen awareness of the work’s Jewish elements.

Respondents to the study, titled “Volunteering + Values: A Repair the World Report on Jewish Young Adults,” were drawn from a list of more than 300,000 applicants to the Birthright Israel program and a national online research panel. Forty-five percent of those contacted responded.

The study, conducted by Brandeis University’s Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and Gerstein/Agne Strategic Communications, found a very high level of volunteerism among its demographic. About 70 percent said they have volunteered in some capacity during the past year; 31 percent said they volunteer every few months; and 29 percent volunteer at least once a month, with 10 percent engaging in volunteer work weekly or more often. More than one-fifth have taken part in an intensive service project of one to 12 weeks, such as an alternative college break project.

Those who defined themselves as Orthodox had the highest volunteer rate (86 percent), with 77 percent of Reform, 66 percent of Conservative and 63 percent of those identifying as “Just Jewish” reporting some level of volunteer activity.

About 22 percent said they had volunteered through a Jewish organization, with 56 percent of the Orthodox respondents saying they did so.

The study showed that young Jewish volunteers are motivated by universalist values; “making a difference in people’s lives” was cited as the most important motivating factor.

About 78 percent of respondents said it did not matter whether the organization for which they volunteer is Jewish or non-Jewish, while 27 percent said their volunteer work was related to Jewish values.

Rosenberg opined that many young Jews do not volunteer through Jewish organizations because they don’t always know about the opportunities, and also because of the misperception that Jewish groups serve narrowly parochial interests.

Fern Chertok of the Cohen Center, the lead researcher on the study, said getting more young Jews to see the connection between their volunteer work and Jewish values is important, particularly for those who are not religiously observant.

“It allows them to see the work as a Jewish act,” she said.

The study showed a high correlation between one’s level of Jewish education and future volunteer work, as well as how clearly one views his or her service as being in line with Jewish values.

“The more service learning is incorporated into Jewish education, the more that connection will be made,” Rosenberg said.

Jonathan Woocher, chief ideas officer of the Jewish Education Service of North America, said that “There are too many people who come away from their Jewish education with the sense that ‘doing Jewish’ is about doing particular rituals in particular places, and if these are not attractive to them, they may not see a Jewish connection to their volunteer work.”

Ruth Messinger, president of the American Jewish World Service, which runs projects in the Third World in which participants also learn about the Jewish values underlying their work, said Jews are interested in Jewish service learning, but the community needs to provide more opportunities. Jewish organizations, she noted, don’t ask for volunteers often enough.

The study provided material that Jewish organizations could use to develop more volunteer opportunities that correspond to the actual interests of younger Jews.

While just 1 percent of survey respondents reported doing Israel-related volunteer work, 9 percent said they would like to perform such work. And while 13 percent already volunteer in the field of education and literacy, mainly tutoring or mentoring, 37 percent said they would be interested in such service.

“If you can interest more young Jews who want to volunteer with quality programs in the Jewish community,” Messinger told JTA, “they’ll get a deeper sense of their Jewish identity and will feel further invested in their Jewish community.”

Monday Link Roundup

Happy Monday and day after Father’s Day. Hopefully you spent the day relaxing with family and friends. Now, to get your week started off right, here’s your weekly dose of inspiring links from around the web.

  • The Huffington Post published a touching essay by actress Marlee Matlin about her “father’s chutzpah,” and how his cancer diagnosis a few years ago has inspired her to speak out.
  • Zeek magazine published a thought-provoking article questioning “do we still need Jewish feminism?”
  • JTA published an obituary and tribute to Yelena Bonner, a human rights activist who fought on the front lines for Soviet rights.
  • Jewschool included a post on “Chew on This” – a new food justice series co-sponsored by Pursue, Hazon, Uri L’Tzedek and other organizations, that kicked off last week. Missed the first event? Check out this interview with Nancy Romer of the Brooklyn Food Coalition on Pursue’s blog.
  • j.weekly, on a related note, published a profile on Oran Hesterman, author of the new book on food politics, Fair Food.