Archive for : volunteer

Repair Interview: Sheva Tauby of iVolunteer

Loneliness is a plague that affects many elderly residents in New York and throughout America – and for Holocaust survivors, the feeling of being alone in old age can be particularly acute. That’s why Sheva Tauby and her husband Rabbi Tzvi Tauby launched iVolunteer – an organization that pairs young volunteers with Holocaust survivors for weekly home visits – in 2007.

In just a few years, iVolunteer has already made a significant impact on both the lives of volunteers as well as survivors. The volunteers spend time talking with the survivors – hearing their stories, and also simply providing companionship. They also help the survivors with everyday tasks, from shopping to gaining new skills on the computer. These inter-generational interactions provide comfort and often result in close and meaningful friendships. Last week, Sheva took some time to share more about the program and how people can get involved.
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9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance

Last year, President Barack Obama amended the Patriot Day proclamation to make September 11th a nationally recognized day of service and remembrance. In the proclamation he wrote:

As we pay tribute to loved ones, friends, fellow citizens, and all who died, we reaffirm our commitment to the ideas and ideals that united Americans in the aftermath of the attacks… I call upon all Americans to join in service and honor the lives we lost, the heroes who responded in our hour of need, and the brave men and women in uniform who continue to protect our country at home and abroad…

Originated by the family members of those who lost loved ones on 9/11, the National Day of Service and Remembrance is an opportunity to salute the heroes of 9/11, recapture the spirit of unity and compassion that inspired our Nation following the attacks, and rededicate ourselves to sustained service to our communities.

In honor of the 9/11 day of service, people in towns and cities across the country are planning acts of service – large and small – to strengthen their communities and build stronger bonds with the issues and people they care about. The range of service projects being posted on includes everything from reading to kids in an after school program, to organizing food drives, donating blood, spending a day visiting elderly people in the hospital, and giving funds to cancer research organizations.

Find out how you can help to make 9/11 more than “just another day” by doing an act of service or adopting a local charity here.

Read President Obama’s full proclamation here.

American Jewish Society for Service’s Teens Serve Communities Across America

The American Jewish Society for Service (AJSS) is an organization that links social conscience to Jewish consciousness, engaging teenagers in acts of tikkun olam (repairing the world) one house, one park, one community center at a time. Their summer program inspires teens to put their Jewish values into action by providing service to communities in need across the United States.

Established in 1951 (they celebrated their 60th summer of service this year!), AJSS was a pioneer of Jewish teen service long before it was en vogue. This summer, 48 Jewish high schoolers traveled into the heartland of America to volunteer with the AJSS in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity and many local food banks, shelters and other community service organizations. The teens worked for and alongside community members in Kansas City, Kansas, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Avery County, North Carolina.

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Home Front Hearts: Advocating on Behalf of Military Families

Home Front Hearts, an organization that launched in 2008 and is supported by Repair the World and the Bronfman Youth Fellowship in Israel’s Alumni Venture Fund, provides resources for military families and helps to educate the larger community about the issues they face.

Below, founder Randi Cairns, an alumna of BYFI and a military spouse and mom, shares more about the organization’s work, how volunteers can get involved, and the importance of serving those who serve our country.

What was your inspiration for starting Home Front Hearts?
Well, I have over 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector and a big chunk of that has been advocacy-based work. If there is a population to be served, I’ve probably done it – so I’ve become pretty adept at case management work and finding resources. As a military family, however, we were struggling to find the resources we needed and I realized that if I’m savvy in this world and struggling, than the average military family was likely having a hard time getting their needs met.
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Service Opportunities to Help Clean Up the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Any way you look at it, the current status in the Gulf of Mexico is bleak. Since the April 20th explosion on BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig, an estimated 25,000-30,000 barrels of oil have gushed (and despite efforts to cap the rupture, continue to gush) into the watershed each day.

The travesty has taken staggering tolls on the ecosystem and wildlife, as well as human communities all along the coast. And the situation could potentially be exacerbated by the fast-approaching hurricane season, which could wreak further havoc on the already battered shoreline.

Since the spill, local and national conservation organizations have been flooded with volunteer responses – many of these organizations have actually stopped collecting new volunteer information. But there are still opportunities to get involved – either through volunteering, or donating to help in the cleanup efforts. Below the jump: find ways you can help.
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Weekly Torah: Parshat Tazria-Metzora 5770

This post is part of a weekly series of Torah commentaries presented by the American Jewish World Service. It was contributed by Daniel Bloom.

Much of the double portion of Tazria-Metzora deals with the laws governing tzara’at, an enigmatic affliction which takes the form of a skin disease in people, but which can also afflict clothing and houses. Due to its symptoms of skin discoloration and the requirement that the victim be quarantined, tzara’at has often been mistakenly identified as leprosy. However, it is not caused by infection or a biological imbalance; rather, it is the physical but supernatural manifestation of an individual’s spiritual malaise.

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Chile and Volunteer Fatigue

When an 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti in January, it seemed like the entire world jumped up to help. As the media swerved its attention to the devastated country, donations poured into relief agencies via websites and text messages, volunteer medical teams and people wanting to help flew in, and stars like Wyclef, Justin Timberlake, and Alicia Keys headlined high profile benefit concerts, all in support of Haiti.

The global response to last week’s earthquake in Chile, in contrast, has been rather muted. There have been no flashy benefit concerts and far fewer volunteers and donations funneling to the area. One tragedy captured the world’s heart, while the other seems to have fallen just below the radar screens.

And it got me wondering, have we been overcome by volunteer fatigue (and its cousin, donor fatigue)?
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