For Immediate Release
May 26, 2021

Contact: Jason Edelstein, 510-239-1102

Thousands of Jewish College Students Engaged in Pilot Project through Serve the Moment Volunteer Service Initiative
Repair the World and Hillel International Now Look to Engage More College Students in Service Infused with Jewish Learning

New York, NY — Repair the World and Hillel International’s efforts to mobilize thousands of college students in meaningful volunteer service and learning through the national Serve the Moment initiative resulted in successful mobilization and activation on almost 100 campuses worldwide. Both organizations are exploring expansion of the project following its initial pilot year.

“The success and overwhelming response to this program is proof positive that Jewish college students are eager to create change by living out their Jewish values,” says Cindy Greenberg, President and CEO of Repair the World. “We are excited to engage even more students to serve their communities and address urgent local needs and inequity.”

Specifically:

  • 78 Hillels participated across 95 different campuses.
  • 101 students were Serve the Moment Interns. Each intern completed ten acts of service and engaged 25 unique students, resulting in nearly 5,000 students engaged in more than 26,000 total hours of service.
  • Eight international Hillels participated in the program: Queen’s Hillel in Ontario, Hillel Kyiv, Ben Gurion U Hillel, Hillel Campus France, Hillel at Tel Aviv U, Hillel Warsaw, Hillel Rio, and Hillel Russia. 
  • The top three issue area focuses of the campuses were Food Justice/Insecurity (34 campuses), Racial Justice/Diversity (23 campuses), and Environmental Justice/Sustainability (23 campuses). 

“This program has provided countless examples of our students meeting the moment of an extremely challenging period with hope, service and support for their local and global communities,” said Adam Lehman, President and CEO of Hillel International. “Through our partnership with Repair the World, Hillel is actively and proudly empowering students to have a real and sustaining impact.”

Launched in June 2020, the Jewish Service Alliance (JSA) is a coalition of organizations powered by Repair the World and including Hillel International, which is mobilizing tens of thousands of young people to do 100,000 acts of needed and meaningful service for COVID-19 relief, grounded in Jewish wisdom.  As part of JSA’s Serve the Moment initiative, Hillel Campus Corps Members led service efforts addressing four key areas—hunger, education, employment, and mental health—and the program offered training, resources, and best practices so that they carry out this work in the most effective ways. The service work combined in-person and virtual volunteering, some episodic and some a part of time-bound national Serve the Moment campaigns. This is just the latest partnership between Repair and Hillel to strengthen and maximize service opportunities for young people. 

Applications are being accepted for the June 21-July 30 cohort of Serve the Moment Service Corps.

Below are specifics on how some of the programs engaged in this effort:  

Hillel Milwaukee

This semester, Hillel Milwaukee’s Serve the Moment intern chose to focus on partnering with local non-profit organizations doing important work on immigration justice, racial justice, food justice, and civic engagement. Some of the initiatives included a mishloach manot communal giving opportunity, making baked goods for unhoused community members, running a period product drive, and text banking for a statewide election.

Hillel at University of Virginia 

This semester, Hillel at University of Virginia focused on adding elements of service and advocacy into the programs and events already happening in their community. Their hope was that this would show students how values of tikkun olam are linked to so much of what we do as a community. Serve the Moment Fellows Jackie and Rose established a 15-person Jewish Service Corps group to help with events and initiatives. Members were responsible for completing acts of service throughout the semester and had the opportunity to learn and connect with one another. 

Hillel at The George Washington University 

This semester, Hillel at The George Washington University created an initiative to explore ideological nuances of race in DC, and do service with antiracist practice in mind. By highlighting local organizations, activists, educators, and organizers as learning partners on the subjects of white saviorism, medical racism, education systems, prison & police, and housing justice/gentrification, and using those lessons to inform service practices rooted in an antiracist framework, students at GW Hillel showed up and committed to antiracism through action and learning. 

Hillel JUC (Pittsburgh)

This semester, the University of Pittsburgh Hillel was excited to offer a wide range of service learning opportunities for their students. In March they focused on environmental justice and equity, hosting a Conscious Clothing Workshop in addition to the month-long drive they held to provide supplies for marginalized LGBTQIA folks in need. In April, their primary focus was mental health and racial justice, where they worked with local organizations on social media campaigns and a tour of the Black and Jewish history of Pittsburgh’s Hill District. They were also excited for their Annual Hillel Makes a Difference Day, which offered eight virtual, hybrid and in-person service opportunities for students ranging from food justice to support for senior adults in the Jewish community. 

University of Michigan Hillel

This semester, University of Michigan Hillel’s Serve the Moment fellow planned wonderful programming to engage the Michigan community in important social justice work.  Their areas of focus were on Racial justice and Food justice, and they split their efforts between educational programming and service work. They had a very successful MLK Shabbat where over 30 students hosted Shabbat dinner for their roommates with take out from local Black owned restaurants. Many others also utilized Turn the Tables discussion guides from their partners at Repair the World at their Shabbat dinners. They also hosted a fundraiser on Purim for the Maize and Blue Cupboard, the University of Michigan’s food pantry raising over $250 dollars to help fight food insecurity on campus. They look forward to future events including a speaker series and a Passover food drive. 

Brandeis University Hillel

This semester, Brandeis Hillel worked on ten acts of service centered around immigration justice. They also partnered with Ascentria Care Alliance to implement a tutoring program between migrants in foster care and current Brandeis students. 

Stanford University Hillel

The Serve the Moment fellow at Hillel at Stanford worked on myriad projects this quarter, with a specific focus on environment and wellness. She helped connect many Stanford students with various service projects, put out an educational social media series about sustainable farming, coordinated volunteers for Kids With Dreams, and hosted a racial justice film with her pod-mates, followed by group discussion and a call to action.  She also planned a group beach cleanup with her pod of Stanford students in San Diego, and continued to coordinate other volunteer opportunities for students.  She is also planning to donate her leftover funding to Syrian Youth Empowerment, an organization that helps Syrian students apply to college.  

University of Delaware Hillel

This semester, Hillel at the University of Delaware focused on sustainability through their Serve the Moment programming. Within their first month of the semester, their intern ran multiple successful programs engaging over 30 students. During Purim, they planted parsley that would grow in time to use for Passover and discussed methods of reducing waste in regards to grocery shopping. They helped students make their own cleaning spray during Shabbat to exhibit environmentally friendly alternatives to popular single-use cleaning products. In the future, they plan to host more engaging sustainability-focused events including constructing beeswax wraps, making paper, and highlighting sustainable study habits and tips. Students were excited to participate in these events and leave with tangible products to use in their daily lives.

Hillel at Brooklyn College 

This semester, Brooklyn College planned on continuing their afterschool programs for homeless children by transitioning onto an online platform. Volunteers worked one-on-one with kids who needed tutoring assistance as well as a friend to connect with as these children continued to tackle their reality of a Covid-world. The intern was also devoted to wellness and checked in weekly with student volunteers to see how they were doing, to offer assistance, and to be a listening ear. Every three weeks the volunteers also met as a cohort to do some group wellness activities and learn together. 

Kingsborough Community College 

This semester, Kingsborough Community College gave back to the community through volunteering at their local Masbia soup kitchen. The intern learned that the local Masbia is open 24 hours serving 500 families daily. They partnered with them to provide weekly ongoing volunteer opportunities for students to assist with distributing packages as well as aiding them with organizing and managing food shipments. Volunteers also set aside time each shift to learn together about social justice through a Jewish lens.

 

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