Archive for : sukkot

Repair the World Launches “Act Now for Racial Justice” Campaign

Offering opportunities to stand against racial injustice through service, Repair the World today launched Act Now for Racial Justice, a campaign that coincides with the Jewish High Holidays and that will continue through MLK Day and Passover in 2017. The campaign includes resources for young adults to learn how racism permeates economic, social, and criminal justice systems; to host meals and discussions with peers exploring how our food systems perpetuate racial injustice; and to take action and serve with communities to move closer to racial justice.

“Like in the Black community, young adults are leading our Jewish community in creating change; and, by standing in solidarity, they are making a meaningful difference, sending an important signal, and building deep relationships across racial lines,” said David Eisner, CEO of Repair that World. “Our Jewish values compel us to stand for racial justice and to right the wrongs we see nearly daily; this feels especially urgent right now, as we look to understand where we’ve fallen short over the past year, and to mark the New Year by resolving to do better. Act Now for Racial Justice offers our community tools to take action through service in a Jewish context, and to address important inequities in our communities.”

The meals hosted during the campaign will be part of Repair the World’s Turn The Tables initiative, and will include educational materials, including discussion guides. A portion of the meals are supported by OneTable.

Learn more at werepair.org/high-holidays, including information on service opportunities around the country to counteract racial injustices in food and educational equity. Follow #ActNowForRacialJustice on Twitter for stories and interviews with Jews of color and others standing against racial injustice Act Now for Racial Justice will continue to offer service and reflection opportunities year-round, including on MLK Day and Passover 2017.

To stand as allies with victims of racial injustice, Repair will send a Jewish delegation to Facing Race, November 10-12 in Atlanta, GA. Facing Race is a collaborative endeavor to grow the racial justice movement and the largest multiracial, intergenerational gathering for organizers, educators, creatives and other leaders.

“Meaningful service in solidarity with communities of color is a powerful way to take a stand against racial injustice,” Eisner adds. “We are all part of America’s racial justice journey and young adults often look for activeroles they can play to positively impact this journey. Frankly, each of us already play a role in the racial justice journey of our community and our country.  The question we each need to ask is whether we are satisfied today with what that role has been.”

Jumpstart Shelter Related Projects in Honor of Sukkot

The spirit of Sukkot is in the air. And for those of us who have sat in a sukkah in the last week (a temporary outdoor shelter built during the holiday of Sukkot), the scent of Sukkot – pine boughs or bamboo, gourds and pumpkins, apples and citrusy etrogim – is in the air too.

That’s why in this month’s installment of Repair the World’s ongoing crowdsource funding series, we scouted some shelter-related projects that are currently campaigning for support. They’re all totally different from one another, and all really inspiring. We don’t know the people involved in these projects personally, but we think the work they are doing is worthy of some serious attention. We hope you do too!

Families of Color Seattle This awesome organization is building an intergenerational gathering space for families that perpetuates a culture of inclusivity, community building and play-centered learning. Help them build their Cornerstone Cafe!

Clarity Hamlet Help build an eco-friendly, straw-bale home for Buddhist nuns in California. The project is hoping to fund the creation of three dormitories for the sisters called Clarity Hamlet. Their sustainable cred includes passive solar design, recycled steel roofs, grey water recycling, and straw bale walls made from agricultural waste of from local growers.

Wood and Stone Retreat Help save and refurbish a historic property in Maryland, and reenergize the economy of a town. Two good deeds for the price of one!

Awesome Sukkot Events, 2014

This year, Sukkot begins on Wednesday, October 8, at sundown. It brings with it a focus on harvest, hospitality, the gift of shelter, and an abundance of good food. Meanwhile, when it comes to connecting to social issues like hunger, sustainability, and housing rights, Sukkot is ripe (pun intended!) with possibility.

Each year, congregations and communities around the country find ways to make those connections explicit. Join in the fun by checking out one of these creative and inspiring Sukkot events:

Sharing the Faith – Sukkot
October 10 and 15, Chicago
Join the Niagara Foundation in exploring Sukkot, while offering interfaith educational opportunities. From a Shabbat service, to a conversation about homelessness on Sukkot, it promises to be a worthwhile event.

Eat, Pray, Lulav: A Sukkot Harvest Festival
October 12, Berkeley, CA
Join Urban Adamah for their fourth annual harvest festival complete with opportunities to harvest fall crops, build a cob oven, take a farm tour, and enjoy live music. Bring a canned food item to donate.

Aztec-Jewish Harvest Festival at Proyecto Jardin
October 12, Los Angeles, CA
The congregation IKAR and their urban sustainable garden partner, Proyecto Jardin, are teaming up for a unique, cross-cultural Sukkot event.

Hazon Jewish Food Festival
October 12, Encitas, CA
Spend Sukkot on an honest-to-goodness Jewish ranch, and join nutritionists, chefs, farmers, rabbis, educators, and food enthusiasts in celebration of the values of the Jewish Food Movement.

Sukkot Harvest Celebration
October 14, Boston, MA
Celebrate Sukkot with the Jewish garden, Ganei Beantown, The Riverway Project and the Moishe Kavod House in Temple Israel’s organic vegetable garden and sukkah. Prepare a meal together, learn Torah, and join in an open mic.

An Abundance of Sukkot Service and Celebration Opportunities

There’s a Jewish tradition that you are supposed to begin building your sukkah (the temporary outdoor dwellings Jews build for the harvest holiday of Sukkot) right after Yom Kippur ends. You are literally meant to hammer the first nail into the sukkah frame directly after breaking the fast as a way of making a physical connection between the sacredness of the high holidays and the rest of the year.

Whether or not you are personally building a sukkah this year, we’ve rounded up a bunch of ways for you to celebrate Sukkot with service. And since today is the day after Yom Kippur, it’s the perfect time to “hammer in that first nail” – metaphorically, anyway! Scan the list below to find a meaningful Sukkot opportunity near you.

  • NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation: Sukkot is all about shelter, and this year, we’ve teamed up with NEXT to show you how to fight homelessness and help those in need. NEXT is also offering up to $200 toward materials to build your own Sukkah! For those urban dwellers or not yet homeowners, host a holiday meal and NEXT will help fund your groceries or take out order.
  • Shoresh: On October 7, the Canadian Jewish environmental organization is hosting a Sukkot celebration complete with a festive meal, learning and service activities at Bela Farm.
  • Urban Adamah: Join Repair the World grantee-partner, Urban Adamah on October 7 for their Eat, Pray, Lulav Sukkot Harvest Festival. Activities include live music, worm composting workshops, farm tours, face painting, and lots of delicious fresh food.
  • Hazon: On October 7, Hazon’s Colorado community is hosting a sukkah “bike hop.” Pedal on two wheels to different sukkahs, eating, learning and traveling in carbon-neutral style the whole way.
  • Jewish Farm School: On October 8, join Repair the World grantee-partner Jewish Farm School for their Sukkot Harvest Celebration. Eat a delicious organic lunch and glean crops on a farm that will be donated to the less fortunate. This event is being held in partnership with Food Day 2012.
  • UJA-Federation New York: From Oct 15-26, join UJA’s second-annual Care to Share initiative. Symbolically fulfill the Jewish custom of gleaning by donating a portion of your fresh CSA produce, food from your garden, or fresh produce you purchased to a local food pantry.

Find out more about Sukkot’s connections to service here. Did we miss any amazing Sukkot service opportunities? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us at @repairtheworld.

Sukkot: The Original House Party

This post was created in partnership with NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation. Repair the World teamed up with NEXT’s Sukkot Holiday Guide to offer ways you can give back this holiday season. Find out how below. 

Sukkot is the Jewish calendar’s official “house party” holiday. During the week-long celebration, people invite friends and family over to eat in their Sukkahs and stargaze through the roof, which is made of natural materials woven loosely enough so that the stars peek through at night. Some particularly hearty folks even sleep in their Sukkahs!

With all its focus on the outdoors, Sukkot also gives us a chance to think more deeply about a basic human need: shelter—and about our good fortune in having permanent housing. On any given day, nearly 700,000 Americans have no home in which to sleep. And according to United Nations estimates, nearly 1 billion people worldwide live in inadequate or unsafe housing situations like slums.

During Sukkot, we have a week-long opportunity to fulfill the Jewish obligation to “welcome the stranger” into our temporary dwellings. Although this custom is rarely taken literally, it reminds us to remember the needs of others in the midst of our celebration. In that same spirit, check out these resources and organizations working to fight homelessness in America and abroad:

LEARN MORE

  • On1Foot – Find out more about the Jewish tradition’s views on homelessness and hospitality during Sukkot from AJWS’ social justice text database. (Search “Sukkot”)
  • My Jewish Learning – Read about the Jewish mandate that everyone have access to adequate and permanent housing.
  • National Coalition for the Homeless – Find more statistical information about homelessness in America.
  • Sulam Center – Check out this comprehensive round up of Jewish texts relating to homelessness.

GET INVOLVED

  • Habitat for Humanity – A nonprofit organization that builds simple, decent, affordable housing in partnership with people in need.
  • Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty – One of New York’s largest human services agencies fighting against poverty, which runs several residencies for people who are homeless throughout the city.
  • National Alliance to End Homelessness – A nationwide federation of public, private and nonprofit organizations all devoted to ending homelessness in America.
  • National Coalition for the Homeless – A national organization advocating for the rights of people who are homeless.
  • Veahavta – A Jewish humanitarian organization in Toronto that runs a “mobile Jewish response to the homeless van,” delivering meals, clothing and support to homeless people across the city.
  • Washington, D.C. JCC – The JCC runs the “Behrend Builders” program, which connects volunteers to service opportunities helping to rebuild low-income family homes, homeless shelters, and other vital community spaces in the city.

More on Sukkot from Repair the World:

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Repair the World’s Top 10 Posts for Sukkot

The eight-day holiday of Sukkot – the “Feast of Tabernacles” – recalls the Israelites’ fragile dwellings during their 40 years of wandering in the desert after their exodus from slavery in Egypt.

Beginning at sundown on October 12, this “hut holiday” has many service and social justice themes: it is a joyous festival, which celebrates a healthy harvest and an appreciation for nature; it also encourages us to embrace shelter – even if it is just a hut – as both a blessing and a basic human right, and reminds us to be generous to those who are less fortunate.

Sukkot may only be eight days long, but we know these themes last year round. For some holiday inspiration, check out Repair the World’s Top 10 posts from 5771/2011 on homelessness, poverty and hunger, as well as sustainable agriculture and the environment — and share them at your sukkah tables!

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Donate Fresh Produce to Your Local Food Pantry with Care to Share (Video)

File this under awesome: Hazon, AmeriCorps, The Met Council and the UJA Federation are teaming up to help bring more fresh produce to local food pantries and to combat food insecurity this Sukkot with their Care to Share program.

From now through Oct 18, gardeners, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members, and anyone with good access to fresh produce in the New York area is invited to share a portion of their produce for distribution to a local food pantry. It’s as easy as finding a drop-off site near you, and bringing in your veggies.

Judaism has a tradition of “gleaning.” Back in the day, farmers would leave the four corners of their fields unharvested from which the needy could glean with dignity. Today, food deserts pervade our country. In many cities  including New York, low-income communities tend to have far less access to healthy fruits and vegetables than other neighborhoods. In some communities, there are literally no grocery stores, making it all the more challenging to feed healthy food to one’s family.
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Rabbi Will: Temporarily sheltered

There was a creak and a shutter — what walls there were leaned and flapped. My son cried out in his sleep next to me and I pulled him closer against the cold. Somewhere in the distance people were shouting and laughing. A car sped by. And then sirens. Later there was just a huge silence. No wind. Only occasional noises in the street. Stars shone clearly through the branches overhead and I realized I had never heard the city settle into silence. On this night it was beautiful. It was temporary. We could always go in the house.

On Sukkot we are told to leave the comfort of our sturdy homes with their strong walls, insulated windows and security systems and we are directed to live in an impermanent shelter – where the walls may shake in the slightest breeze and roof is made of leaves and twigs and not shingles and tar paper. Where sleeping in the sukkah we can hear the voices or silences on the street late at night. Where we invite friends, strangers and even our ancient ancestors to share a meal at our table in this unstable, ephemeral dwelling place. What Yom Kippur is to our spiritual lives, Sukkot is to our physical being. We are made to feel the fragility of being human — the chill, the warmth, the exposure. And to celebrate it. If we are fortunate it is only temporary.
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Spotlight On: Sukkot’s Connections to Service

Sukkot is an amazing holiday. The high holidays have passed in all of their sacred and somber glory, and just around the corner, a long stretch of gloomy winter awaits. It is enough to leave one feeling exhausted and even a bit melancholy.

But Sukkot – the weeklong harvest holiday that also commemorates the 40 years the Israelites spent wandering in the desert – comes as a reminder that now is the perfect time to rejoice and relax. As Rabbi Irving (Yitz) Greenberg writes on My Jewish Learning: “The release from Yom Kippur leads to the extraordinary outburst of life that is Sukkot. On this holiday, Jews are commanded to eat, drink, be happy, dance, and relish life to the fullest in celebrating the harvest and personal wealth.”
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