June 2009
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:: What's Been Happening in the Community
:: AVODAH News
:: Alumni Highlights
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Upcoming Events

Bay Area

Shabbat Dinner
The AVODAH-AJWS Bay Area City Team is launching a new series of potluck Shabbat dinners, debuting Friday, June 19 - mark your calendar! Nourish your body and mind with yummy food, inspiring conversation, and the chance to connect with folks in our community who care about justice and change.
When: Friday, June 19, 8pm
Where: Private homes throughout the city, exact location details provided upon RSVP
Cost: Free - just bring a vegetarian potluck dish to share
jberger@avodah.net to reserve your spot. Space is limited!


Economic Crisis House Meeting
Ari Shapiro (NY 02-03) and David Perechocky (DC 07-08) are hosting a house meeting on the current economic
Attendees can expect to share stories about how the economic crisis has affected them and people they know, through unemployment, student loans, credit card debt, etc... The meeting is part of an effort to bring together young people to participate in the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization's economic crisis campaign. The point is to better understand what's going on in our community and brainstorm campaign ideas to address the economic crisis in the area. This is an interfaith effort so please extend the invitation to other people you know who might be interested.

When: Tuesday, June 2, 7:30pm
Where: Ari's apartment, 33 Dimick St. #1, Somerville, MA.
Light snacks provided.
RSVP: To Ari Shapiro.
*If you are interested but can not attend on Tuesday, e-mail Ari to stay informed about related future programs.

Book Club
The Boston book club is reading about another book club, specifically The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Written by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, the novel explores the ways in which the residents of the island of Guernsey banded together while under German occupation during WWII.

When: Sunday, June 14, 6pm
Where: Picnic by the Charles River, RSVP for exact location
RSVP: To Ari Mueller (NY 00-01)


Welcoming the Corps Members
On June 9th, Chicago alumni and staff members will gather together to formally welcome the current Corps members into the alumni community. An evite was sent to all Chicago alums.
If you did not receive the evite please be in touch with/RSVP to Hollen Reischer (CHI 06-07) or Ilana Zafran (CHI 06-07).


Welcome to the Alumni Community

Please save the date for our welcome to the alumni community on July 14th.  If you are interested and able to host our eighteen Corps members plus a significant number of alumni or are interested in planning the initiation, let Jessie know.

New Orleans

Is Inequality Making Us Sick?
Jenna Pollock (NOLA 08-09) works at the Tulane Community Health Center at Covenant House and has put together a film and speaker series on socio-economic factors in health. UNNATURAL CAUSES: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? is a groundbreaking new documentary series that crisscrosses the country exploring how the social conditions in which Americans are born, live and work profoundly affect health and longevity, even more than medical care, behaviors and genes. This four-hour television and DVD series challenges fundamental beliefs about what makes Americans healthy - or sick - and offers new remedies for an ailing society.

This FREE series is presented by the Tulane Community Health Center at Covenant House and Community Book Center. Each evening features one-hour of the documentary along with a local speaker working on issues such as housing, healthcare, and immigration in New Orleans. Refreshments available.

Upcoming events in the series are:
  • Friday, June 5th, 2009 - Wealth and Health, with speaker Karen DeSalvo
  • Saturday, June 6th, 2009 - Immigration and Health, with speakers Narda Hernandez and Kathia Duran
When: 6-8 pm
Where: Community Book Center, 2523 Bayou Road
Questions? Contact Jenna at jpollock@tulane.edu

New York

AVODAH-AJWS-Hazon Book Club
The next book club selection is Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin, a new soon-to-be-published novel about a cake baker marking celebrations in post-genocide Rwanda.

Date: Thursday, June 11, 2009
Time: 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Place: AJWS Office
Address: 45 West 36th St., 11th Floor

The book club is open to alumni, staff and friends of our organizations. RSVP to slipkin@ajws.org. We are sold out of our free advance copies of the book, but please RSVP if you would like to be on the waitlist or find out who can lend you their copy.

Love, Hate, & the Jewish State: A Conversation on Social Justice and Israel
Social justice. Israel. Two issues that deeply engage and spark action in the Jewish community, yet are kept apart in our institutions and, for many of us, in our own lives and activism. Why is it so hard to talk about Jewish social justice and Israel? Are the two issues in compatible? Does separating them from each other impact our communities and our own identities? This open, non-political, facilitated dialogue will enable you to meet and wrestle with this subject with a wide variety of other young social and Israel activists.

When: Thursday, June 18th, 7pm-9:30pm followed by reception with JDub Records
Where: The JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam at 76th Street
For more info and to register: Visit www.nif.org/leaveyourmark
This is a 21+ event

This event is brought to you by Makom and New Israel Fund, in partnership with the following co-sponsors: AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, Bnai Jeshurun's Tze'irim, Brooklyn Jews, Encounter, Foundation for Jewish Culture, The JCC in Manhattan, JDub Records, Jewcy.com, Jewschool.com, Just Vision, Kehillat Hadar, Kol Zimrah, Romemu, The Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning, The Union of Progressive Zionists and Zeek.

Welcoming the Corps Members
Save the date! On July 14th, AVODAH alumni will gather in Brooklyn (location TBD) to officially welcome the outgoing Corps members into the alumni community. If you are interested in helping to plan the initiation ritual, please be in touch with Audrey as soon as possible!

What's Been Happening in the Community

Bay Area

Exodus and Revolution
Exodus and Revolution
completed its debut run successfully in San Francisco, featuring local educators and leaders Rabbi Chai Levy, Rabbi Dorothy Richman, Professor Ari Y. Kelman, and Daniel Sokatch. AVODAH alums Emily Kates (NY 04-05) and Drew Himmelstein (DC 03-04) were joined AJWS alums and friends of our organizations. In each session, we learned a different aspect of this topic - Rabbi Chai Levy revealed how Exodus first introduces the concept of social change as the root of our Jewish narrative. Rabbi Dorothy Richman led us in an intensive text study of the golden calf story as a parable for the process of social change. Professor Ari Kelman examined differing interpretations of freedom in the Torah and Exodus and Revolution, and applications of those lessons by Jewish leaders in the 1950s and 60s. Daniel Sokatch explored the concept of mutual responsibility and demonstrated the operationalizing of Exodus through Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

Social Change Book Club
More than a dozen friends and alums of AVODAH and AJWS gathered to see a colorful theatrical adaptation of Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Fukú Americanus is playing through June 21 at the Intersection for the Arts theatre in the Mission District.
Stay turned for the next Book Club meeting in August, featuring Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin, a new soon-to-be-published novel about a cake baker marking celebrations in post-genocide Rwanda. We have a limited number of free advance copies, contact jberger@avodah.net to request one!


Book Club
On Sunday, May 10, the book club met at the home of Sara Simons (DC 03-04) to discuss Curtis Sittenfeld's novel Prep and sample tasty cheeses, snacks and desserts. Sara graciously hosted Ari Mueller (NY 00-01), Laurie Herschman (CHI 07-08), Amy Horning (DC 04-05) and a friend. This was Sara's second-to-last book club appearance and the book club will miss her when she moves to New York!


From May 9-11, alumni Uri Pachter (CHI 06-07), Hollen Reischer (CHI 06-07), Nadia Underhill (NY 99-00) and Ilana Zafran (CHI 06-07) took part in an incredible Eco-Shabbaton! Uri and Hollen were two of the retreat's organizers, working to bring together a group of 14 diverse young Jewish adults from throughout the Chicago community. Spending the weekend at a sustainable lodge in southwest Illinois, participants lead activities for each other on topics ranging from Israel's water systems to environmental justice to Heksher Tzedek. Participants connected with the earth, Judaism, and each other through discussion, learning, art, worship, and time outdoors, leaving with a clear vision for how to continue to work to make both their lives-and the city of Chicago-more sustainable. The group plans to build tangible ways to engage young Jewish adults in the environmental movement throughout the city of Chicago.

Alternative's Inc. Fundraising Run
On May 17, alumni Julia Leis (CHI 07-08), Hollen Reischer (CHI 06-07), Orit Vardi (CHI 07-08), Shira Vardi (NY 02-03), and Ilana Zafran (CHI 06-07) participated in The Alternate Route, Alternative Inc.'s 5-mile fundraising run along Lake Michigan. Alternatives, Inc. is a youth and family agency located in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood and has been a placement since AVODAH opened in Chicago. Orit is in her second year working at Alternatives and it is the current placement of Corps member Sarah Miles (CHI 08-09).


Shavuot with Tikkun Leil Shabbat & Adas Israel

Over 70 alumni, friends, and current Corps members all gathered to learn in celebration of Shavuot. Organizers included Darya Mattes (DC 06-06) and teachers Elana Brochin (DC 06-07), Sarah Beller (DC 04-05), numerous AJWS alumni, and current corps member Dahlia Rockowitz (DC 08-09) from DC Central Kitchen.

New York

In the Boardroom: Behind the Scenes of Successful Non-Profits

On Wednesday, May 20th, thirteen alumni and friends came together to hear from a panel of distinguished leaders in the non-profit world about their work with their boards of directors. The panelists included AVODAH's very own Rabbi David Rosenn, as well as Rabbi Joy Levitt (Executive Director of The JCC in Manhattan) and The Reverend Charles King (President and CEO of Housing Works, Inc.). They shared stories and insights relating to best practices in board service as well as tips and advice for securing a board placement. The conversation was both dynamic and informative! AVODAH alums Melinda Koster (DC 06-07), Janna Rosenberg (DC 02-03), and Yosh Schulman (NY 98-99) were among the participants.

AVODAH Alumni Audiovisual Collage
From Shabbat dinners to Save Darfur rallies to spontaneous dance parties, you shared your stories and photographs about your experiences in AVODAH. These reflections have been woven into an audiovisual collage by Ari Shapiro (NY 02-03) which is now viewable at http://www.avodah.net/Alumni/. Thank you again everyone whose contributions made this project a resounding success!

AVODAH Partner in Justice Events

Please join us for our annual events in June to celebrate the work of AVODAH and honor our Partners in Justice. We would be thrilled if you would join us for the events. Please make a personally significant donation to attend the events (at minimum we ask alumni to make a $36 donation to AVODAH). The events are an important way for AVODAH to raise much needed funds and come together to celebrate our work. Please go to http://www.avodah.net/annual-events for more information and to buy tickets.
On June 3rd, the Chicago AVODAH office will be honoring Lorie Chaiten and Rabbi Brant Rosen.
On June 4th, the New York City AVODAH office will be honoring Alan Cohen and Robert Bank, and recognizing AVODAH alum Ayala Livny (NY 98-99).
On June 16th, the Washington, DC AVODAH office will be honoring Heather Booth and Rabbi Fred N. Reiner.

AVODAH Co-sponsors On1Foot, Jewish Social Justice Text Online Database
AVODAH is proud to co-sponsor On1Foot, an AJWS educational resource project that will help the Jewish community apply the Torah's wisdom to the pursuit of social justice. On1Foot is an online, open source database of Jewish social justice texts.

On1Foot allows users to:
  • Search and browse hundreds of biblical, rabbinic and contemporary Jewish texts about social justice
  • Upload new texts
  • Comment on existing texts
  • Create custom source sheets using the texts and suggested discussion questions
We hope that On1Foot enriches your learning and teaching about Judaism and social justice and look forward to your active participation on the site!

On1Foot is a project of American Jewish World Service and is co-sponsored by AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, Hazon, Tzedek, Mechon Hadar and Uri L'Tzedek.

AVODAH Corps Member Transitions

Continue at my placement? Go back to school? Start a non-profit? Run for political office?  We're sure you remember the myriad of options that arose as your year in AVODAH ended and we hope you'll be a resource to this year's cohert. Current AVODAH Corps members will soon be added to AVODAH's regional and national alumni listservs so that they can have access to our wonderful alumni network as they transition out of the year-long program.
Alumni Highlights

Mazel Tov to Stacy Solomon (Simon) (NY 02-03) and Matt Solomon on the birth of their son Eli Gabriel Solomon. Eli arrived on March 13th and is doing great according to his delighted mother.

Do you have news that you want to share with the AVODAH alumni community? Do you want to see your name in e-print? Please tell us about all the great stuff you are up to so we can feature you in our alumni highlights.

Elat Chayyim Summer Internships
The Elat Chayyim Center for Jewish Spirituality (at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, CT) is seeking interns with a strong work ethic, a sincere interest in Jewish spirituality, and the commitment and emotional maturity to be part of a community. The program will run from July 7-August 17, 2009. For more information, please click here. Admission is rolling and the application deadline is June 8, 2009.

Glimpse Correspondents Program
The Glimpse Correspondents Program is an exciting opportunity for talented young writers and photographers who are currently planning to be abroad for at least 10 weeks during the time of the program. The program encourages participants to engage with people from other cultures, to seek out thought-provoking experiences, and to share their stories from abroad on Glimpse.org. The application deadline for the Fall 2009 Glimpse Correspondents Program is June 15. Glimpse will be selecting 10 Correspondents who will receive a $600 stipend, a professional editor, career training in writing and photography, and guaranteed publication on Glimpse.org. For more information, please click here.

Hazon Israel Sustainable Food Tour
Hazon and the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership are sponsoring a five-day tour of Israel, from the unique perspective of food. This is not a culinary tour of Israeli gastronomy (though there will amazing eating) but a one-of-a-kind mission to highlight developments in Israel towards more sustainable food production and consumption. The tour, which will take place from November 15-19, 2009, is targeted at people from all professions and backgrounds interested in the environment, in Israel and sustainable food, whether familiar with the country or not. For more information, please click here. The application deadline is June 15, 2009.

Rights Action Educational Delegation to Guatemala
Rights Action funds community-controlled development, environmental, human rights and emergency-relief projects in Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and El Salvador, and does education and activism work with North Americans to address global exploitation, repression, enviro-destruction and racism. The delegation to Guatemala will investigate the harms and human rights violations caused by large-scale "development" projects (hydro-electric dams, mineral resource extraction, etc.) in the context of Guatemala's on-going impunity and lack of justice; exploitation and widespread poverty; and generalized lack of democracy. The delegation will take place July 6-14, 2009 and costs $830, excluding airfare. For more information, please click here.

AJWS (Bay Area)
The AJWS service department is seeking a Program Officer for Group Leader Management to work as a part of a team to support both the AJWS group leader program as well as the design and pilot of a new training model that will further develop training within the field of Jewish service learning. Through Jewish group service-learning programs, participants focus on the connections between social justice, volunteerism and Judaism while experiencing grassroots sustainable development firsthand. Group leaders are hired on a contractual basis to facilitate the service-learning programs and are responsible for a wide range of activities while in-field. This position resides in AJWS's San Francisco office and will go through May 2010 with the possibility of extension. For more information on this and other AJWS job opportunities, please visit www.ajws.org/jobs.

Americans for Informed Democracy (DC)

Americans for Informed Democracy is searching for a part-time Executive Assistant to provide data, financial, analytical, administrative, and project support to AID and AID's network of more than 23,000 people nation-wide. AID is a non-profit organization that empowers and equips young people in the United States to address global issues such as poverty, health, climate change and peace and security. For the complete job description, please click here.

BBYO currently serves more than 23,000 teens throughout North America and seeks to offer creative opportunities for today's teenagers to ultimately fulfill its mission of reaching "more Jewish teens, more meaningful Jewish experiences." BBYO seeks a Mid-Atlantic Area Executive Director (working out of Washington, DC) who will be a senior professional responsible for the overall growth of the BBYO enterprise in the Mid-Atlantic region. For the complete job description, please click here.

Hesperian Foundation (Bay Area)
Hesperian, nonprofit publisher of Where There Is No Doctor and other resources for grassroots health programs worldwide, is looking for a Senior Grant Writer to lead its institutional fundraising efforts. For the complete job description, please click here.

Hillel Uruguay
Hillel Uruguay seeks an International Programs Coordinator for the upcoming year August 2009 to August 2010. Hillel Uruguay is looking for an individual with an outgoing, energetic and compassionate personality who has experience in group leadership, works well in a team, has strong communication skills, enjoys community service and is able to adapt to new cultures. The coordinator will serve as the liaison between Hillel Uruguay and the U.S. and will be responsible for marketing Hillel Uruguay's two international programs: Alternative Spring Break and Spanish Programs. For more information or to apply, please contact Stephanie Grunvald, Director of International Development, at stefi@hillel.org.uy.

JCRC of Greater Boston
The JCRC of Greater Boston seeks a TELEM and Literacy Coordinator to increase and deepen involvement of Boston area Jewish teens in sustained and intensive service learning through TELEM: Jewish Youth Making a Difference Together, and to ensure the continued strength and vibrancy of the Greater Boston Jewish Coalition for Literacy (GBJCL). For the complete job description, please click here.

Jewish Vocational Service (Bay Area)
Jewish Vocational Service helps individuals and businesses achieve their employment goals by providing the skills necessary for success in today's workplace. JVS seeks a Jewish Programs Coordinator, responsible for planning and implementing all aspects of the Jewish Employment Network (JEN) and the Kohn Summer Intern Program. For the complete job description, please click here.

JStreet/Union of Progressive Zionists (Multiples)
J Street Education Fund, Inc. is an organization that promotes pro-peace Israel education and activism on campus and beyond as well as an open, dynamic conversation about Israel in the American and Jewish Community. The campus program, a project of the J Street Education Fund, Inc. formally known as the Union of Progressive Zionists (UPZ), is a national network of student activists who advocate and educate for peace and social justice in Israel and Palestine. The campus program provides guidance, education and resources to students who seek to impart a progressive voice into the campus debate on Israel. Three positions are available, West Coast Organizer, East Coast Organizer, and Director of Programming and Education. Interested candidates should send in their materials ASAP as the hiring process is already underway. For more information or to apply, please contact tammy@jstreet.org.

Ma'at Youth Academy (Bay Area)
The Ma'at Youth Academy is an environmental organization committed to the rights of youth to safe, healthy, diverse and rewarding environments, and to their capacity to achieve these conditions themselves. MYA is seeking a full-time Executive Director who has demonstrated skills in non-profit management, grant writing/fundraising and commitment to environmental and economic justice. For more information or to apply, please contact mya@maatya.org.

Rainforest Action Network (Bay Area)
Rainforest Action Network campaigns for the forests, their inhabitants and the natural systems that sustain life by transforming the global marketplace through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. Two positions are currently available: an Agribusiness Campaigner, to play a key role shaping the Rainforest Agribusiness Campaign as it works to defend forests, family farmers and the climate by challenging one of the fastest growing threats to the world's tropical forests: the rapid expansion of industrial agriculture; and a Forest Campaigner, to play a key role in shaping a dynamic forest campaign focusing on pulp and paper plantations in Indonesia, the UNFCCC REDD process, U.S. policy development and demand-side market management strategies. For the complete job descriptions, please click here.
Update Your Contact Information

Have you moved? Or changed your email address, mailing address, or phone number recently? Please let us know so we can update our records. Please email Ari Shapiro with your new information.

If you would like to be added to a regional listserve please email the following people:
Bay Area - Jocelyn Berger

DC - Jessie Posilkin
New York -
Audrey Sasson
Chicago, Boston, or Israel - Ari Shapiro

Rachel Chertok, National Director for Alumni and Leadership Development
AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps
phone: 212-545-7759 ext 307