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Archive for : Shabbat Supper

Turn the Tables on MLK Day with Repair the World

“What is it America has failed to hear? …It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King’s heroic legacy of advancing civil and human rights in America lives on, even nearly 50 years after his death. But in recent months, whether in Ferguson, Missouri, Staten Island, New York, or countless other cities and towns across the country, there have been too many reminders that the work to ensure justice and freedom for all our country’s citizens is far from complete.

That is why this year, in honor of MLK Day, Repair the World is launching Turn the Tables – an initiative that promotes the principles at the center of Dr. King’s ideology, and works towards the promise of a more just society. The road ahead is long, so we must walk it together.

There are two ways to get involved over MLK Day weekend:

Host a Shabbat Supper
On January 16, turn your table into a forum for conversations about justice. Shabbat has traditionally been a sacred weekly time for Jews to gather with those closest to them. Repair the World invites everyone to use the Shabbat before MLK day as an opportunity to break bread and reflect on racial injustice issues that are on the minds of Americans following the tragic events in Ferguson, Staten Island and elsewhere.

Take Action
MLK Day is a nationally recognized Day of Service. On January 19, join thousands of Americans across the country in making our communities stronger and standing up to the challenges of racial inequality in meaningful and tangible ways. Sign up to make the commitment to make a difference for a cause you care about.

Learn more about Repair the World’s Turn the Tables initiative and get access to tons of resources for MLK Day and beyond.

All Over the Map: MLK Weekend Recap!

This weekend, we were thrilled to unite thousands of people from across the country around one of our nation’s most dynamic leaders and his ideals. Nothing could be more American than the inauguration MLK Day of Service! Repair the World MLK Shabbat Suppers resulted in seventy dinners from Los Gatos to the Lower East Side! These meals engaged over 1,200 guests in a dynamic discussion around education inequality, civil rights, and volunteer action. You can read more about Repair the World Shabbat Suppers in an article by one of our heroes, Lynn Schusterman, HERE.

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Repair the World was proud to not only bring Dr. King’s legacy of service into homes all over America, but to also be part of the Presidential Inaugural Committee’s iServe fair in Washington, DC! Repair the World staff members Laura Kassen, Jamie Silverstein, and Sophia Chitlik joined new CEO (and service rock star) David Eisner for a whirlwind day of connecting with eager volunteers and citizens from all fifty states. We met members of the Jewish community from Alaska (the frozen chosen!), reconnected with awesome organizations, and met hundreds of people who are passionate about making their communities stronger through volunteering.

On Sunday, David and the Repair the World team attended another amazing event held by our partner, Points of Light. Our Shabbat Suppers program is an iteration of their Sunday Supper initiative, so, naturally the event featured food and great discussions about the issues impacting American communities. At Points of Light’s Sunday Supper, the focus was also on the all-important issue of educational opportunity. Speakers from General Colin Powell to Mayors Rahm Emanuel, Michael Nutter, and Antonio Villaraigosa emphasized the critical importance of creating an education system of the future that works for all kids. We agree that volunteers are a part of the solution! You can check out more about Repair’s commitment to public education HEREScreen Shot 2013-01-23 at 10.54.59 AM

Martin Luther King Day was definitely not a “day off” for Repair the World staff, who hit the ground running in four cities to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King. In Detroit, Devon Rubenstein, Emily Phillips, and Ben Falik engaged over 50 college students as volunteers at a local elementary school. And here in New York, Siobhan Neitzel continued her weekly tradition of mucking out homes that were impacted by Hurricane Sandy (yes, still; find more ways to get involved on our Sandy Service page).

Enough about us. We want to hear about YOUR Shabbat Supper or MLK weekend service experience. Post your pictures on our facebook page, or contact us at [email protected] to share your story!



Shabbat Supper with Dr. King

This weekend, in honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service, more than 1,200 people from New York to Knoxville to San Francisco symbolically invited Dr. King to Shabbat dinner.

Initiated by Repair the World–a national organization that mobilizes American Jews to address global and local needs through volunteering and service–the dinners were part of the Points of Light’s Sunday Supper campaign, designed to inspire dialogue and action on key issues affecting our communities.

The MLK Shabbat Suppers focused on the theme of educational inequity, which Dr. King considered inextricably linked to the struggle for equality and justice. It is disheartening that more than half a century later, the achievement gap continues to plague our country, as an average of 7,000 students drop out of school every day and 89 percent of children growing up in low-income households read below grade level.

I believe the Jewish community can and must play a central role in addressing this critical issue. One powerful way we can do this, as the participants at the MLK Shabbat Suppers learned, is by volunteering our time as mentors and tutors. It is striking to see the magnitude of impact mentorship and tutoring can have on student performance and young lives. Consider these two facts in contrast to those above:

  • 62 percent of students with a formal mentor improve their self-esteem, which can have a significant impact on their academic success and likelihood of graduation; and
  • 40 percent of below average readers improve with an average of just 1.5 hours of tutoring per week.

For too many students, however, their needs go unmet because access to quality mentors and tutors depends on volunteers. Rather than throwing up our hands in frustration at the problem, let’s roll up our sleeves and be a part of the solution.

Many organizations, including the Harvard School of Public HealthMENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership and the Corporation for National and Community Service, are working to raise awareness and match volunteers with year-round opportunities during National Mentoring Month and beyond.

Across the Jewish community, the MLK Shabbat Suppers are part of Repair the World’s multi-year effort to mobilize Jews across the nation to serve as tutors, mentors and college access coaches for public school children.

This initiative is in the spirit of the Jewish community’s legacy of leadership on social action and civil rights. Indeed, in March 1965, so many rabbis marched with Dr. King from Selma that hundreds of the freedom marchers actually wore kippot in solidarity. Foremost among the rabbis was Abraham Joshua Heschel, who marched arm in arm with Dr. King.

“What we need more than anything else,” Heschel once said, “is not textbooks but text people.” We become “text people” by putting the values that form the moral and ethical foundation of Jewish life–tzedek(justice), chesed (loving-kindness) and tikkun olam (repairing the world)–at the forefront of our efforts to serve the common good.

It was another great Jewish thinker, Maimonides, who helped us understand that there is no greater gift you can give a person than the opportunity to become self-sufficient. A high school and college degree are linked to greater employment prospects, higher earning potential and the ability to contribute more to our communities. In this spirit, giving our time to help today’s youngest learners prepare to become tomorrow’s skilled workforce and engaged citizens is among the deepest manifestations of the Jewish imperative to pursue justice.

The statistics may be daunting, and the questions they raise about the social and economic fabric and future of our country overwhelming. But the Shabbat Suppers this weekend served to highlight the power we have as individuals and as a community to make a difference, even if we have not devoted our professional lives to the classroom.

Today, as we consider the role we can play in helping to foster a more equitable, caring world, we think of what Dr. King called his audacious belief that “peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.”

It is time for each of us to get up from the table and do our part to carry that belief forward.


Follow Lynn Schusterman on Twitter:

It’s not too late to live the legacy! Sign up for MLK Shabbat Supper today

MLK Suppers

From Washington State to Washington Heights, we’ve been blown away by the response to our Shabbat Suppers initiative.

In case you haven’t heard it through the grapevine, Repair the World is partnering with Points of Light, NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation, and hosts just like you to bring the issue of education inequality to the table. Your kitchen table, that is.

By signing up to host a Shabbat Supper, you won’t just be inviting your friends over for a great meal. You’ll be hosting a conversation around the legacy of Dr. King, education inequality, and how you can take action to make your community a better place.

And we’re here to help you make it happen with our toolkit to guide you through the discussion! Be sure to sign-up by 12pm Eastern on Wednesday, January 16th to receive your toolkit via snail mail.

Even if you miss the deadline, you can receive a digital toolkit which contains two discussion activities, and an access code to screen the fabulous documentary Brooklyn Castle (before it comes out on DVD!) by emailing [email protected]!

Make a Difference Without Leaving Your Living Room!

MLK SuppersBeyond posting an inspirational quote on facebook, when was the last time you did something meaningful on MLK Day?

We know you’re busy. And we know that your three-day weekend is sacred (and that you probably deserve the break!). But did you know that for over 15 years, MLK Day has been celebrated as a day of service by millions of Americans? Here at Repair, our team has partnered with NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation, and with one of the organizations who pioneered the MLK Day of Service, the Points of Light Institute, to offer you a way to join the movement from the comfort of your own home!


Repair is challenging you to become part of the living legacy of Dr. King by turning your kitchen table into a table of brotherhood the weekend of January 18th. Through our Shabbat Suppers initiative, you will be sent the tools to transform Friday night with friends into an opportunity for social action.

It’s ok if you’ve never held a Shabbat dinner. We know that not everyone “does” Shabbat. But you’ve gotta eat! Use this event, and this toolkit, as a foundation for a meaningful meal – whatever that means to you.

Shabbat Suppers will take many forms. They might be talks over take-out Chinese or screening parties with your friends from college. Some folks will have sit-down brisket dinners with friends of different faiths, and others will have potluck style meals in tiny apartments. At all of these events, food might get your guests in the door, but it’s the discussion will bring you together.


On this year’s plate (we couldn’t help ourselves…) is of the defining civil rights issues of our time: education inequality. Once you sign-up as a host, Repair will send you a real, live toolkit via snail mail. These toolkits will contain a discussion guide, Repair swag for your guests, and a T-shirt as a thank you (just for you)!

Our discussion guide bears absolutely no resemblance to your AP Government textbook. Instead, it offers simple questions, real facts, and easy to enforce ground rules so that you can host a dynamic (and respectful) conversation around education and the legacy of Dr. King.

We want to arm you with the facts, and the tools to act on them. In honor of the MLK Day of Service, you will also receive information on how you can make a difference in the lives of public school children all over the country!


Excited? Sign-up HERE to become a host, and we’ll send you a toolkit for free!

And there’s more exciting news for Birthright Israel alumni! Through our friends at NEXT, you can receive funding for your Shabbat Supper through the NEXT Shabbat program. Register your meal, and you will be able to click a box to receive our free toolkit.

As always, we want to hear you from you! Tell us about your Shabbat Supper plans, or send us a question, by emailing [email protected]