In just a
few weeks, 59 Corps members - our largest group ever - will complete their year
of service with AVODAH. These young people have brought much-needed services to
over 50 anti-poverty organizations in Chicago, New Orleans, New York City
and Washington, DC. They will take their experiences into
the larger world, becoming ambassadors and catalysts for the values they lived
out this year: service, community-building, and a commitment to Jewish life.
stay on at their current placements as permanent staff, continuing to benefit
those organizations with the skills they learned and the connections they built
this year. Some will take new jobs in the cities where they served, also
addressing the causes and effects of poverty. Others will begin graduate school
or immerse themselves deeply in Jewish study. Below is a snapshot of four of
our soon-to-be alumni.
outgoing Corps members join the other 265 alumni of AVODAH. Through the
AVODAH/AJWS Partnership, they will receive ongoing opportunities for activism
and community building around Judaism and social justice.
for your support, and best wishes for a pleasant and restful summer.
Rabbi David Rosenn
Keep reading to find out what our soon-to-be alumni will be doing in the coming year!
|NEW ORLEANS: David Eber
Last August AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps opened its
fourth site in New Orleans - a city heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina nearly
four years ago - with nine enthusiastic young adults committed to rebuilding
the city. One of these Corps members is David Eber, who worked this year
as the Sustainability Outreach Coordinator at the Lower 9th Ward
Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development.
David's focus has been the St. Claude Initiative, designed
to revitalize St. Claude Street,
the main thoroughfare in the Lower 9th Ward. He has been working
with community members and local artists to paint murals that reflect the
culture and character of the neighborhood on 17 empty buildings in order to beautify
the area and bring back local business. David is so committed to his work that
he successfully raised money from two grants he himself wrote to fund his
position for next year. He's one of six AVODAH New Orleans Corps members staying
on in the city next year.
Click here for a multimedia slideshow of David's work in the Lower 9th Ward, produced by AVODAH alum Ari Shapiro.
CHICAGO: Naomi Adland
Naomi Adland has
spent her AVODAH year in Chicago working at the Mary Crane
Center, a comprehensive
day care and early education program dedicated to helping the city's most
underserved children and families succeed. Naomi helped numerous families
access subsidies for childcare and healthcare, and shared - as she explains - "the
sense of relief that floods the room" each time a family qualifies for deeply
needed assistance. Next year, Naomi will further her own education through a
year of study at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem, a pluralistic program that
offers intensive study of classic Jewish texts and exploration of ethical,
spiritual, philosophical, legal, and societal issues. Naomi is the third
Chicago alum to study at Pardes. Joline Price (07-08) just returned from the
yearlong program, and Rebecca Linden (06-07) studied there the previous year, drawing
on her AVODAH experience to create a special social justice track that is now
NEW YORK CITY: Viviana Gordon
Gordon spent this year in New York City working at the Red Hook Community Justice
Center, an innovative
community court that hears cases across jurisdictions and addresses broad
neighborhood problems, like drugs, crime, domestic violence, and landlord/tenant
disputes. As a case manager, Viviana worked with individuals on alternatives to
incarceration, including drug treatment. She was described by her supervisor -
who said she was "the perfect fit for our organization" - as having "a clinical
sensitivity that I wouldn't expect from someone coming out of college." After significant
and ultimately successful efforts to secure funding, the Red Hook Community Justice
Center has hired Viviana permanently.
Though she was accepted to the Masters of Social Work program at Hunter
College, she has decided to defer her enrollment in order to continue her work
in Red Hook for a second year.
WASHINGTON, DC: Jane Yamaykin
AVODAH DC Corps member Jane Yamaykin worked this year
at Metro TeenAIDS, a community health organization dedicated to supporting
young people in the fight against HIV/AIDS through education, support, and
advocacy. Jane worked in the afterschool drop-in center, offering teens a safe
space, opportunities for self-expression, and education to protect themselves
and their peers from HIV. Next year, she will build on these skills as she
approaches HIV/AIDS from a new angle at DC-based Food and Friends. Jane will
coordinate the volunteers who provide meals, groceries, and nutritional counseling
to over 1,400 homebound people suffering from serious illnesses, like HIV/AIDS
and cancer, throughout Washington, DC and parts of Maryland and Virginia.