Short of a J-Street conference or a Limmud event, you’d be hard-pressed to find an annual gathering that attracts as many Jewschool writers as the National Havurah’s Summer Institute. This, my friends, should be reason enough to register right this moment.
But a little context always helps, so here is some more description to further entice you:
Now in its 35th year of empowering local do-it-yourself, community-based Judaism, the National
Havurah Committee is gearing up for what promises to be an incredible Summer Institute. With
over two dozen courses, a social justice fellow, two extraordinary artists-in-residents, and
dozens of local havurah communities represented, the National Havurah Summer Institute guarantees you an unparalleled experience which is equal parts spiritually, intellectually, and culturally fulfilling.
Whether you enjoy midnight walks in the woods, guided meditations, heated (but respectful!)
theological debates, hands-on crafts, in-depth chevruta text study, late-night sing-alongs and
spontaneous jam sessions, alternative prayer experiences, early-morning hikes, community
discussions about social justice, or just meeting some of the most thoughtful and creative
individuals you will ever meet–all against the idyllic backdrop of breathtaking rolling green mountains and a sparkling lake in Southern New Hampshire–the National Havurah Committee’s Summer Institute promises to deliver an experience that will both uplift and inspire.
As if this alone were not exciting enough—there’s more!
If you are a college student, we invite you to participate in our special college program, where
you will work together with your peers, guided by two talented facilitators, to cultivate new
leadership skills. The College Leadership Program is specially designed to empower current college students to build and sustain Jewish communities on their campuses.
For recent college graduates between the ages of 22 and 32, the National Havurah Summer Institute offers the NHC Fellows Program (formerly, the Everett Program). This program offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to connect with fellow young Jewish leaders in order to share and build your skills together. All NHC fellows will receive free tuition and room-and-board and will participate in additional programming geared particularly to the specific interests and needs of participants in this group.
As a former participant in the Fellows Program, I can personally attest to the extraordinary impact that it has had on my life. In addition to introducing me to a cohort of wonderful new friends, the then-Everett Program helped me think critically and creatively about building vibrant, relevant local Jewish community and inspired me to return home (then Minneapolis) to start a new Havurah. Incidentally, one of this year’s institute’s planners met her now-fiancée when she was an Everett Fellow. So apply now, and who knows where this simple act may lead you??
The deadline for the NHC fellows is May 1, so if any of the above speaks to you, apply right away! General registration can be found here.
This is a guest post by William Deresiewicz, a board member of Tivnu: Building Justice. Bill is a writer and former English professor at Yale.
Who says that working with your hands can’t be a form of Jewish expression? Who says that tzedakah must be understood as charity? Who says that Jewish high school graduates have go to Israel, if they want to do a gap year program?
Tivnu: Building Justice, a new nonprofit based in Portland, Oregon, aims to challenge those assumptions. Tivnu’s model combines hands-on construction training, work on actual projects with affordable-housing organizations like Habitat for Humanity, social advocacy, and Jewish learning and living. Programs include events as short as a day or a week, two four-week summer sessions for high school kids, and our capstone program, a gap year experience for high school graduates aged 17-20 (a year or two of college is okay) that starts this coming fall.
This will be the first Jewish gap year that takes place in the United States, as well as the first of any kind that focuses on construction and housing. Our aim is not only to reach kids who have fallen through the cracks between existing Jewish programs and to overturn stereotypes of what it means to be a Jew. We also want to show them how to work with other communities in ways that go beyond the typical understanding of “service.” We don’t see ourselves as “giving” our time and energy to those who are “less fortunate,” but as working together with others towards a larger form of justice that embraces us all. This is what we mean by tzedakah.
You can come not knowing how to swing a hammer, and you’ll leave having learned to use a table saw, read blueprints, hang doors, manage a worksite, and a great deal besides. But the program is also about a lot more than learning how to build a house. Participants will develop their skills as activists and community organizers, get on-the-ground experience with non-profit work, and debate issues of poverty, inequality, social justice, and collective responsibility with the help of Jewish and other sources. They will also live together in their own house or apartment, preparing communal meals, celebrating Shabbat and the holidays, and having fun in beautiful, hip Portland and the surrounding areas: hiking, biking, skiing, kayaking, and exploring the city’s legendary food and music scenes.
The program runs from August 26 to June 9 and is currently accepting applications. Financial aid is available. For more information, click here or contact Tivnu’s founder and director, Steve Eisenbach-Budner, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (503) 232-1864.
This summer, the Jewish Theological Seminary’s List College is introducing an exciting new pre-college summer program focusing on service learning. Inspired by the success of its undergraduate program in social and entrepreneurial initiatives, List College wants to extend its resources to a wider audience of rising junior and senior high school students from across the country looking for a hands-on combination of Jewish traditional text study and internships in social change agencies in New York City.
Participants will have the opportunity to choose from a wide array of internship sites, including government NGOs, sustainability and environmental non-profits, interfaith groups, and education and youth organisations. Before beginning the internships, which will include direct mentorship, students will participate in an orientation, in which they will be trained to work as service professionals in social change agencies. Throughout the program, participants will reconvene together regularly to engage in facilitated Jewish text study, focusing on the theological and historical underpinnings of social action. Additionally, participants will enjoy a guest lecture series and a college prep workshop series offered by Barnard College.
According to Aliyah Vinikoor, assistant Dean of List College and director of their Fellowship for Jewish Social Entrepreneurship, JustCity hopes to empower pre-college students to engage in direct service while also building Jewish community across denominational lines. The program also aspires to reach out to other faith-based groups to help build a multi-faith social change network.
The program dates this summer are from June 30-July 28; participants have the option of living on JTS’ campus. Partial need-based scholarships available. Registration is currently open and applications are due May 1. You can learn more about Just City here. You can also email JustCity at email@example.com
Crossposted from Pursue. Jewschool is a co sponsor of Inside the Activists’ Studio.
On Sunday, May 20, Pursue NYC, together with New Israel Fund-New Generations and the Young Leaders of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), presents Inside the Activists’ Studio: Finding Your Voice in a Global Movement. The event will feature an incredible array of local Jewish change-makers speaking on a panel, presenting workshops, or performing. As a sneak peek, Pursue chatted with workshop presenter Sarah From of Do Your Best Work about how she found her own voice:
What inspired you to work on issues of personal ecology with activists?
Over a decade of work in nonprofits, I saw how lack of sleep, email overload, unmindful leadership, and inadequate personal organization could hinder the work. As I began to experiment with different strategies and tools to manage my own workload, I became more interested in the bigger picture. That is, how does the way we work for social change reflect the values we are fighting for? And what’s the cost if we’re changing our communities and the world but running ourselves into the ground in the process? The work I do now is to help social change leaders and organizations identify new ways of working that promote sustainability, productivity, and alignment with purpose and values.
How does your Jewish identity relate to what you do?
Four years ago, I was working on criminal justice reform and on the verge of burnout when I attended a Selah leadership retreat. There, I learned how personal sustainability could be rooted in Jewish tradition. The big “a-ha” for me was that as a Jew, I am obligated to work for justice and I am obligated to rest. Too many Jewish social justice activists take the first obligation seriously and ignore the second.
What are you most excited about for Inside the Activists’ Studio?
I’m excited to provide space for activists to identify new and more sustainable ways of working. I love helping people who are both incredibly passionate and incredibly overwhelmed to find more spaciousness in their work and non-work lives.
Why should folks come to your IAS workshop?
Our movements are only as vibrant as the quality of the energy we are able to bring to them. By attending to your own sustainability, you can better use your time, energy and attention in service to the world you want to create.
Its 48 hours before Pesach, and having read ”The Year of Living Biblically”, I’m preparing a lamb to meet its end so that I can smear its blood on the lintel of my door… What’s that? I don’t have to do that? Okay, the neighbors will be so relieved…
I will still have to rid myself of my chametz, however, as I can not possess or own any during Pesach. Before I engage in Bedikas Chametz, the search for chametz, I simply open my pantry- BAM! Bits of cereal at the bottom of the box. Legumes of all shapes and sizes, pasta and so on and so forth. On to the fridge. I half-eaten kugel from last week. Some fruit salad. Cheese slices. Egg Beaters.
Anyone else find themselves snarfing down whatever odds and ends remain the week before Pesach? Some people hate Passover cuisine. After a week of leftover crumbs, I’m ready to tear into Matzah. Whatever is sealed, I sell through a duly appointed process involving a Rabbi, pretzel logic and a certain number of he-goats and zuzim.
Those who do not avail themselves of the Rabbinic end-around of selling it on contract for a week with an option to an agreeable gentile have three options. 1. Keep your chametz and incur the wrath of the almighty and the sneers of neighbors. 2. BURN IT!
WOO HOO! Let’s burn everything in sight! It’s like Black Rock but with Bread! Its PAN-demonium! After all, we wont have another huge bonfire for 40 days when its Lag B’omer so let’s have a Biscuit Inferno! Cue the Music!
But wait, isn’t burning things bad, like crossing streams in ghostbusters? And can’t we do something with that stuff? There may be some excellent items sitting around. A bag of flour. A whole cake. A loaf of bread. Peanut Butter. Perfectly good food. Option 3: Donate.
In the Hagaddah we’re instructed Kol Difcheen- let all who are hungry come and eat. So how about it then? Donate your Chametz. You wont miss it. Fine, keep that bottle of Blanton’s, but the rest? Drop it at your local food pantry. Many congregations have a system set up for this. And in Israel, Modi’in’s Biur Hametz Project is coordinating the distribution of hametz to needy African refugees and migrant workers. That sounds so much more sensible.
It could be given to other as well. In Morocco, it was apparently the custom to give Hametz to one’s Arab or Berber neighbors. The Muslim neighbors would then repay the favor by supplying the pastries for the Mimouna festival at the end of Pesach. Such a healthy symbiotic way to coexist. Maybe that’s fantasy and maybe there’s a broader lesson. But in the interim, donate your your Hametz. To paraphrase Monty Python, BRING OUT YOUR BREAD! (to which the matza replies, I’m not quite bread yet…)
Just over a week ago, the world Yiddish community lost the greatest Yiddish songstress of our time, Adrienne Khane Cooper, who died on December 25, 2011 at the age of 65. Adrienne was a person of enormous passion and talent who, as both a performer and teacher, molded a whole generation of young Yiddishists and klezmorim.
In her short 65 years on this earth, Adrienne zigzagged the map, both domestically (living in Oakland, Chicago, and New York), and internationally, touring and studying far and wide, bringing with her a love of Yiddish that was contagious as it was deep. A scholar, a writer, a performer, and an innovator, Adrienne was a trailblazer in demonstrating to the world that the adventure of Yiddish has only begun. Adrienne’s profound love and respect for language, combined with her progressive politics made her the ideal figure for spearheading the contemporary Yiddish renaissance.
After working at the YIVO Language, Literature, and Culture summer program in New York City, Adrienne envisioned an intensified Yiddish cultural experience, and so, along with Henry Sapoznik, she created KlezKamp, the renowned annual Klezmer and Yiddish culture gathering in the Catskills, now nearing its 30th year. These two programs, both of which Adrienne had a significant hand in shaping, are responsible for the outpouring of new Yiddish cultural expression—fueled largely by the enthusiasm of their young participants—that has emerged in recent years.
Among the countless Yiddish scholars and artists whom Adrienne mentored are such prominent figures in the Yiddish world as Yiddish scholar Jeffrey Shandler, acclaimed Yiddish singer Lorin Sklamberg, and outstanding Klezmer violinist Alicia Svigals. The assembled crowd at the New York memorial service for Ms. Cooper (which packed Ansche Chesed’s main sanctuary on Sunday, January 1st) was a veritable ‘who’s who’ in the Yiddish world, and each person in attendance seemed to have at least one story of how Adrienne had changed her/his life. Each of the twelve speakers who eulogised Adrienne at this memorial service shared thoughts regarding the varied and far-reaching aspects of Adrienne’s life and legacy. Upon exiting Ansche Chesed after the memorial service, I overheard an older man ask his friend, “Did you work with Adrienne?” his friend replied, “Of course. Who didn’t??”
As one who delights in all things Yiddish and also sees in it a larger social mission, it warmed my heart when I heard dramatist and political activist Jenny Romaine read an excerpt from the Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer Risk Taker award, which was presented to Adrienne by Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) in 2010: “For all of this, and for never working from a place of chosen-ness or nostalgia but from a place of justice, empathy, and complex Yiddish polyphony, JFREJ is deeply honored to present the 2010 Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer Risk Taker Award to Adrienne Cooper. ” Indeed, for Adrienne, Yiddish language and culture was not a quaint novelty trapped in a glass box in a museum, but rather a living, breathing, and evolving hands-on process which could help create a better world.
Perhaps my favourite memory of Adrienne was a Yiddish song workshop she facilitated at the 2008 YIVO summer program, where both myself and Adrienne’s daughter, Sarah Gordon, who is a talented and innovative Yiddish songstress in her own right, were students. At the aforementioned workshop, I witnessed the special beauty of the bond between Adrienne and Sarah, a bond, spanning the generations, of shared dedication and love, both for Yiddish language and culture and for each other. This special bond was best summarised by the final eulogy delivered at the memorial service last Sunday by Sarah, who stated simply, but most eloquently, “She was my mother.” All too often, when we speak of great figures, we forget the unique and personal relationships that are truly the defining aspects of life—the relationships that make us who we are. After hearing eleven people speak beautifully of Adrienne as a legend, Sarah reminded us that she was also a “Yidishe Mame.”
Because of her dedication to helping create a better world, Adrienne served on the Board of Directors of JFREJ, and the family requests that donations in her memory be made to them: www.jfrej.org/. Koved ir ondenk.
A local here in DC asked me to write a bit about how there came to be Jewish practice at Occupy Wall St, Occupy K St and elsewhere. I wrote a bit and thought it might be interesting to other folks. So, here ’tis:
Since the industrial revolution, and perhaps even before, Jews have figured prominently in the intellectual and practical movements that created capitalism as well as those that opposed it. Jews have always been disproportionately represented on both sides of the inequality debate. In the 1980s Milton Friedman wrote a famous essay on what he viewed as a paradox–if Jews have benefited a great deal from capitalism why do they tend to oppose it. Jews working against inequality and capitalism is not new, it has existed as long as capitalism has (thanks to Brent Chaim Spodek for pointing me towards this essay).
The question of Jews and Occupy Wall St/Occupy K St/etc was never one of whether we would be involved, but when and how. As the high holidays approached, many were split between wanting to focus on the spiritual discipline that comes with this season in the Jewish calendar and the activist fervor that was building. The idea sprung up that we wouldn’t have to chose! We could host services in solidarity with the emerging movement.
This is not just any year. We are in a state of moral crisis as a country. The richest among us continue to live lives of great wealth (perhaps even opulence), while our nation, the richest on earth, sees families go to bed hungry. Many felt that praying in a new and different way was more appropriate on that night and many nights since. Rather than in a big beautiful synagogue, sometimes it’s better to pray in the street.
Turns out rabbis aren’t quite obsolete after all. Rabbis for Human Rights -North America sent out a press release this morning that they are among this year’s Slingshot Guide to the most innovative Jewish organizations.
Not so buried in the press release: Rabbis lead eleven of the sixty organizations named by this year’s Slingshot Guide. Four of these organizations are new additions to the list this year. An additional two organizations were led by rabbis at the time of the application.
Many rabbis went to rabbinical school not necessarily because they were interested in leading congregations, but because they wanted to be leaders for change in the Jewish community, as well as in American and the world. It may well be that Jewish institutional life is not as synagogue focused as it was, but that shouldn’t make young Jews who want to drive moral leadership despair – there’s plenty of work to be done, and we see that the next generation of Jewish rabbinical leaders has turned in much the same direction as young Jewish leaders of all stripes – towards grassroots, entrepreneurial organizing. Maybe we’re all “Occupying Judaism” now. More »
We’ve alreadywritten about the Kol Nidre service that Jewschool founder Dan Sieradski organized at Occupy Wall Street, as well as the companion services at other Occupy events around the country. Other media took quite a bit of notice as well, including this rather shoddy Commentary piece:
Aren’t we usually concerned that the Jews of today don’t care about being Jewish anymore? Yet when an event comes along that brings together hundreds of Jews on less than a week’s notice, it gets criticized because it’s too effective?
During the years, those whose politics tend toward the right have had to accustom themselves to the unthinking sanctimony of leftists who rage against any semblance of an alliance of religion and right-wing politics…
“Those whose politics tend toward the right” vs. “leftists.” Notice the difference in language? It’s an attempt to paint “those whose politics tend towards the right” as inherently more reasonable than those crazy “leftists.” Liberals are blinded by their rabid ideology, while conservatives hold informed and moderate beliefs.
Furthermore, what we liberals tend to object to is not the “alliance” of religion and politics. Rather, we object to the use of political power to advance a religious agenda. Occupy Yom Kippur is the opposite of that: it’s a call for political change based on religious beliefs about morality. Having religiously-based opinions on political issues is perfectly legitimate: it’s protected by the free exercise clause. Using political power to influence religious matters is prohibited by the same (or by the establishment cause, depending on the context).
It must be said there is of course justification to be found for specifically economic protests of a leftist variety in the prophets, perhaps most especially Isaiah. But it stretches truth far beyond the breaking point to claim such texts based on conditions in ancient Israel offer much guidance for the policy questions of our day…
Here’s a post on Commentary’s blog that describes Itamar, the settlement where the Fogel family was brutally murdered, as located in “Samaria,” “an area with biblical significance.” I expect Commentary will quickly correct that language, since it’s “based on conditions in ancient Israel” that don’t “offer much guidance for the policy questions of our day.”
Oh, and I found that post by searching “Samaria” on Commentary’s site. It was the top hit. Here are twomore recent articles from the first page of results where Commentary uses or expresses support for the biblical name for the territory now known as the West Bank.
Let their successes be few, and the passage of their movement from the American Jewish scene swift.
Seriously, I just can’t get over the pretension implicit in so much of the Jewish mainstream media. One minute they’re telling us all to stick together in the face of adversity, dire threats to Jewish peoplehood, and (gasp!) anti-Zionism. The next they’re condemning a Jewish grassroots movement that has a lot of people very excited. I understand that they disagree with the movement’s goals. That’s their right. But the condescension with which they approach it is reminiscent of, well, the rest of the mainstream media. In other words, they’re not exactly in good company.
(cross posted to Justice in the City) After a few persistent weeks of peaceful non-violent protests, the “Occupy Wall Street” folks or the “99 percenters” as they are beginning to call themselves, are appearing on the radar of the mainstream media. After a few days of lazy journalistic descriptions of the protests and protesters as disorganized and unfocussed some reporters and columnists are beginning to ask what these protesters want. One of the more interesting answers to the question was given in an interview conducted by Ezra Klein of the Washington Post with David Graeber who was one of the initial organizers of the protests. His answer was that the protesters, rather than making specific demands of the existing institutions (which created the income inequalities and precipitated the financial meltdown and yet were still in their offices controlling vast amounts of wealth) were attempting to “create a vision of the sort of society you want to have in miniature.” This raises the question: What is the society that we want? What would a just society look like? At this moment, it seems to me, there is no more important question to ask. As it happens, this is precisely the question I seek to answer in my book “Justice in the City” — and since that book is not yet out, I will attempt the short form answer here. More »
This week of my summer is made possible by Amherst, Massachusetts, cats, and Netflix. For a while in my queue has been a documentary called Lord, Save Us From Your Followers,directed by Dan Merchant, who wears a jumpsuit covered with bumper-stickers throughout the entire 104 minutes. The focus of the film is America’s “Culture Wars,” and Merchant, himself an Evangelical Christian, travels around the country gently challenging people to respond to his various bumper stickers, as well as asking folks what they think about Christianity. The film’s tagline is : “If you were to meet ten average Americans on the street, nine of them would say they believe in God. So why is the Gospel of Love dividing America?” Without totally ruining things, because you should see the film, Merchant’s theory is that Christians percieve themeselves differently than how they are actually perceived, and proceeds to sniff out why that might be true.
At the end of the film, Merchant profiles a Portland, Oregon project called Operation Nightwatch, which addresses the needs of Portland’s homeless community. In addition to providing food, medical care, and other basic resources to folks, people can also socialize and build important relationships. St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church houses the project, and also offers Bible study and services. Folks involved tell Merchant that they would love for the people they’re helping to find Jesus, but in the meantime, they’re making changes and forming relationships.
Like any direct service project, there are problems with this, but there was a scene in this sequence that hit me particularly hard, and it featured one of the homeless folks having their feet and hair washed by a church volunteer. (No, the biblical significance of feet washing did not escape me.) My instinct was to try to remember if I could recall any Jews or Jewish organizations doing work like this. I’m not talking about direct service, or about helping the homeless, but rather, the level of intimacy that comes with physical contact.
There’s an anecdote in Rabbi Jill Jacobs’ new book in which a religious school teacher asks if there’s a place to just drop off the sandwiches the children have made for the homeless, because their parents don’t want them to have any actual contact with homeless people. Washing someone’s hair and feet is an act that requires confrontation with people we are afraid of, people we’re supposed to avoid. Why aren’t we collectively educating Jews about what it means to really have a relationship with someone?
Have we absorbed and internalized whiteness to such a degree that we think we’re above building relationships in such direct, unflinching ways? In Merchant’s film, it is white Christian men, the ultimate power base, at the helm of these projects. What would it take to change our own paradigm towards one of intimacy, mutual vulnerability, rather than what’s safe for us but keeps others at arm’s length?
I’m a big fan of Jewschool, though until today my name hasn’t graced it’s fine pages. Back in 2005, when I was working for B’nai Jeshurun, reading it made me feel connected to a rising cohort of committed activists in the Jewish world. Secret agent activists, working to change what they could with an inside/outside strategy. Sure, y’all were a bit clannish, and I still didn’t get all the UWS or Park Slope references, but I remember feeling part of something important.
That’s one of the ways that online communities function when they work - they create strong bonds and lasting impact even among participants who aren’t even contributing or making themselves known. Jewschool might have a smaller readership at this moment than at its peak, but the foundations laid by Mobius/Orthodox Anarchist/Daniel Sieradski have led to great things.
Enter RepairLabs. Created by Repair the World, it represents a particular kind of online community in formation; a community of practice. Where Repair’s overall mission is to support and expand the role of service in Jewish life, RepairLabs is to support the staff at Jewish nonprofits that actually operate service programs. As editor of the site, my job is to contribute to the formation of what might be a new identity: the Jewish Service or Jewish Service Learning professional.
To accomplish this, a little bit of identity surgery is required. In my years interacting with the Jewish world, I’ve met many staff members who only identified with a particular organization, not with employment in the Jewish ‘sector.’ Contrast that with many Federation executives who move around with some frequency, and know full well that they are ‘Federation executives.’
A similar instance might be with Jews doing environmental work (Adama, Hazon, COEJL, Teva, etc.) My impression is that they see themselves as working in the Jewish environmental world, a somewhat developed niche. Many of those staff people engage in Jewish Service Learning, or Immersive Jewish Service Learning. Do they see themselves as ‘JSL professionals’ who might someday be working for another JSL program?
I hope that someday RepairLabs can function as a community hub for a sector of the Jewish professional world. We’re trying to entice folks with resources, articles, and info about upcoming events in the sector. Consider this an initial effort to crowdsource some of our thinking. But the most important offering has yet to come: the wisdom and enthusiasm of a real community.
Are you a JSL or IJSL professional? Is that designation even helpful? What resources can a capacity building effort like RepairLabs provide? Do you have any experiences with cultivating a community of practice that might be useful here?
(Full disclosure: Dan S. currently works for Repair the World, and he introduced me to that fine organization, leading to my current gig at RepairLabs. RepairLabs wouldn’t exist without all the amazing content from Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Rabbi Brent Spodek, Amy Schrager, Perry Teicher, and Beth Steinhorn.)
First of all, let’s just set aside for a moment the ridiculousness of mentioning Islamic extremists in every other breath – really, I have to say (I never thought I’d defend Beck in any way whatsoever) that really, his comments weren’t about Reform Jews being terrorists. While his comments were completely inane, his point was that Reform Jews are primarily a political organization rather than a religious one. How many ways this is a stupid comment leaves me gasping, but it’s not what most people seem to have taken it as – i.e. a claim that Reform Jews are terrorists.
However, the level of stupidity remains pretty high: More »
Do you have a social justice cause you are passionate about and want to pursue with the NHC Summer Institute community? Apply for the Hollander Social Justice Fellowship. You will receive a full scholarship towards Institute fees and up to $100 for materials or preparation, in exchange for planning social justice oriented programming for the NHC Summer Institute community. Your proposal needs to include programing comparable to the amount in an NHC-course on a relevant and nonpartisan social justice issue. This programming could consist of a daytime workshop (or series of workshops), an evening community-wide program, Kids Camp or Everett programs, and/or a Shabbat program. We expect that the strongest applications will come from people with at least three to five years of professional or volunteer experience in their area. Preference will be given to people involved in an ongoing social justice campaign (or launching a campaign) who wish to bring it to the NHC Summer Institute community.
Submit a completed NHC Summer Institute registration form and deposit online. (Deposit is refundable if your application is not selected.) In addition, submit to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 7th, 2011 brief answers to the following questions in 2-3 pages:
*What are your project’s goals?
*How will the project be carried out (programming, methods, resources you will need)? *Note that your plan needs to include at least three hours of programming.
*How can the issue be brought back to participants’ home communities? How is your project relevant to the NHC Summer Institute community?
*What resources/knowledge/skills do you bring to this project that will make it effective?
*What is your experience or background (professional or volunteer) with the social justice issue your project will address?
*Give an example of a successful social justice project you have worked on and describe your role was in helping make it successful.
Past fellows have included, Brent Spodek (then of AJWS) in combination with Jill Jacobs (JFSJ), Joelle Novey (GWIPL–the other acronym we don’t pronounce!), and Gabriella Russek.
All this to say, we’d love to have your application. Any questions? Drop them in the comments.
It sounds like a dream: a Muslim woman wearing a full head covering, laughing and joking with an orthodox rabbi as they paint a mural of Run-DMC for Brooklyn schoolchildren. But on Martin Luther King Day, 2011, that dream was real.
On that day, over 50 Muslims and Jews gathered together in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn to participate in the kickoff event for United in Service: The Jewish Muslim Volunteer Alliance (JMVA). They came came from the Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals New York Chapter, Uri L’Tzedek: Orthodox Social Justice, and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, or because they heard about the groundbreaking event from family or friends. Together, they painted several large murals inside IS 292 junior high school.
Kyla Pollack, the Co-founder and Chair of JMVA and Chair of Interfaith Service Initiatives for Uri L’Tzedek, explained that: “We formed the JMVA to create a group where Jewish and Muslim New Yorkers could unite around our commonalities and our shared interest in improving our city. By working on service projects together, we demystify each other and hopefully open up space for dialogue. It’s an opportunity for people who wouldn’t otherwise interact to come together around a shared, positive goal.”
Fariha Khaliq, a member of the JMVA steering committee, added, “It is important to educate ourselves about other cultures, traditions and religions.” Khaliq and Pollack, along with four other young New Yorkers, first met in October to form the JMVA and plan its events. By all measures, last week’s kickoff was a smashing success. More »
Guestpost by Amanda, comedian, occasional blogger, and paper bag puppeteer.
While writing cover letters to try and end my five-month long spell of unemployment, I was also reading a book that discussed Depression-era unemployment protests, which were apparently pretty kickin’ and often involved singing. Since I enjoy writing rhyming songs, I thought it would be fun to sing songs about unemployment rates, my belief that we need more government investment to create jobs, and extending unemployment benefits.
On Sunday December 5th, I am gathering with other people who enjoy singing and hate high unemployment rates on the sidewalk in front of the White House (Pennsylvania Avenue between East and West Executive Avenues) between 3 and 4pm (and rehearsing at 2) to sing about our desire for more employment. I hope you will join us in a singing protest of unemployment rates, unemployment insurance, and the needs for increased government investment –all to the tunes of Christmas and Hannukah songs. If you are interested in joining me in trying to increase awareness of unemployment and have a hopefully very fun protest, please RSVP.
And to get you excited (or not, depending on how much you enjoy hard to parse lyrics), here are two sample songs:
Aside from all the other amazing leaders and activists ( for those who care abut such things, quite a number of “Forward Fifty” amongst the panelists, including….
Jewschool’s founder Dan Sieradski in a panel (Monday) on using technology and social media to create social change)
This is the third of RHR-NA’s conferences, and they do not disappoint. Unlike many much- ballyhooed or better-known gatherings, RHR-NA’s biannual gatherings feature people who are actually out there doing work to make the world a better place for all, and doing it Jewishly.
Human Rights Under Fire: A Jewish Call to Action
A Conference on Judaism & Human Rights, Rabbis for Human Rights-North America
For Rabbis, Cantors, Activists, Students, Journalists, Congregants, Jews, Muslims, Christians, and people of conscience from all backgrounds or faith traditions
Sunday, December 5th through Tuesday, December 7th, 2010
Congregation B’nai Jeshurun (257 West 88th Street, NYC)
& The Conference Center (130 East 59th Street at Lexington Avenue, NYC)
To deepen our knowledge, promote discussion, strengthen our advocacy, and support human rights work in North America & Israel through Jewish visions of justice, freedom and equality