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AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps Newsletter

New Year, New BeginningsSeptember 2010
In This Issue
Welcome 2010-2011 Corps members!
Greetings from Executive Director Marilyn Sneiderman
AVODAH Launches a National Blog
AVODAHCycle Rolls Across the Country
Meet the Change
Support AVODAH
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Welcome Corps members!
We want to extend a hearty welcome to our 2010-2011 Corps members, who have recently begun a brand new year with AVODAH! Here are just four of our newest participants:

Daniel RiffDaniel Riff, from Palo Alto, CA, attended Washington University in St. Louis and is a Housing Resource Specialist at Heartland Alliance in Chicago.

Mollie FlinkMollie Flink, from Deerfield, IL, attended List College, a joint program of Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary and is a Shelter Assistant at the New Orleans Women's Shelter.

Ryan GerberRyan Gerber, from Teaneck, NJ, attended the College of New Jersey and is a Paralegal at the New York Legal Assistance Group - General Law Unit.

Tamara RushovichTamara Rushovich, from Baltimore, MD, attended the University of Michigan and works as an Outreach Specialist at DC Central Kitchen.

To read about all of our Corps members, click here.
Greetings from Executive Director Marilyn Sneiderman
Dear Friends,

Over the years, hundreds of people in their early 20s have joined AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps to engage in a year of service and social change work as Jews committed to tikkun olam. As the new Executive Director of AVODAH, I am delighted to welcome my first - and the newest - group of Corps members, a diverse collection of individuals from across the United States and Canada.

The AVODAH Corps members arrived in New York, Chicago, New Orleans, and Washington, DC on August 29th and began a week-long orientation, touring their new neighborhoods, meeting with local alumni, leading Shabbat celebrations, and beginning their weekly learning with local leaders and activists. Week two found them starting full-time work at their anti-poverty placements and celebrating Rosh Hashana at local synagogues and in neighbors' homes. The Corps members have also been getting to know one another in their batim (houses) and shaping the intentional communities that will be at the center of their experience.

With your support, AVODAH is able to offer these new Corps members subsidized housing, quality programming and job placement, and guidance on their path as change-makers. As 2009-2010 New Orleans Corps member Rachie Lewis said:

"Looking back on this year, I truly believe that AVODAH's ability to synthesize Jewish values and communal experience with practical social justice work makes it a unique Jewish organization... AVODAH is committed to providing its participants with experiences, tools and skills that will allow us to contribute to future social justice pursuits."

I hope we can all use this High Holiday season to reflect, not only on how we can improve ourselves, but also on how we can improve the lives of others and the world around us. L'Shana Tova Tikatevu, May you be inscribed in the book of life for a good year.

Marilyn Sneiderman
Executive Director
AVODAH Launches a National Blog
Blog ScreenshotWe're thrilled to announce that AVODAH is launching a national blog, AVODAH: Jewish Voices Pursuing Justice. Read the blog to get updates from our Corps members and hear about the amazing work of our participants, placement organizations, alumni, and friends.

Start your national AVODAH blog reading here as Josh Neirman, 2009-2010 DC Corps member, writes about his year with AVODAH and his inspiring experience working at Housing Unlimited, Inc.
AVODAHCycle Rolls Across the Country
The morning of August 12th, Emma Epstein, a 2009-2010 AVODAH Corps member, embarked on AVODAHcycle, a transcontinental bike tour across the USA. She was so inspired by her experience as an AVODAH Corps member that she conceived of the idea for AVODAHcycle as a way to create meaning in her trip home to Seattle, Washington after her year of service in AVODAH. She explained:

"Serving immigrants with very limited rights elucidates the freedom one can have. I became more familiar with the Jewish practice of kavanah -- intentionality or purposefulness -- and my freedom allowed me to piece together my dream of an epic bike trip with an intentional goal of supporting a worthy organization."

Emma will bike 3,100 miles across the country. Through her own tenacity, she has already raised over $2,500 for AVODAH. To see her route and follow her journey as she speaks at Jewish congregations along the way, see the
AVODAHcycle blog. To donate to AVODAHcycle, click here.
Meet the Change
Immigration reform. LGBT rights. Two hot button issues making major headlines these days. Come meet an extraordinary change-maker who bridges the two!

In New York on Tuesday, September 28 at 7:00pm meet Rachel Tiven, Executive Director of Immigration Equality and the Immigration Equality Action Fund, who will share her philosophy of change-making and her hard-earned insights on the power of community. Click here for more information.

Meet the Change presents a featured change-maker while encouraging attendees to connect with one another around their own ideas, desires, and plans for making change. Previous Meet the Change events include: Yes Men, David Evan Harris of the Global Lives Project, Sara Horowitz of the Freelancer's Union, and Ami Dar of idealist.org.

Pursue: Action for a Just World
Pursue is a partnership betwen AVODAH and American Jewish World Service. Pursue sparks and sustains social change by channeling the unlimited passion and potential of Jewish change-makers in their 20s and 30s into action for a more just world.