Approximately 13,000 Jewish teens in more than 90 communities across 20 countries are participating in a day of community service and improvement projects this spring as part of J-Serve, the International Day of Jewish Youth Service, anchored on the official date this past Sunday, April 2, 2017. With events kicking off as early as March and running through May, thousands of Jewish teens in grades six through twelve worldwide have organized a variety of J-Serve projects focused on meaningful social issues such as literacy, homelessness and poverty, food justice, refugees, Holocaust education, health and wellness, inclusion, domestic abuse and the environment, among others.
2017 marks the thirteenth year that Jewish youth are turning out for J-Serve to spread awareness for important causes and encourage community building and connections across religious and societal lines. Amidst an overall trend of declining teen involvement in organized religious life, J- Serve has continued to experience consistent growth since its beginning in 2005, witnessing a 150% increase in community participation, a 240% increase in teen engagement and an 850% increase in countries involved.
From record-breaking crowds of 500+ teens in Vaughan, Ontario, participating in an all-day service extravaganza across twelve youth-designed projects tackling a wide variety of social issues, to smaller groups like the 65 teens gathered in Denver, Colorado, to create cards for sick children and make sandwiches for the local homeless community, BBYO members, community partners and supporters have come together for J-Serve across four continents to give back to their communities while embodying the Jewish values of gemilut chasadim, tzedakah and tikkun olam.
J-Serve 2017 is the Jewish service component of Youth Service America’s annual Global Youth Service Day in partnership with Good Deeds Day, and is a collaboration of BBYO and Repair the World.
J-Serve is generously underwritten by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and the Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Awards Committee, and is supported by partner agencies Foundation for Jewish Camp, JCCA, Jewish Federations, Jewish Student Union, Jewish Teen Funders Network, NCSY, NFTY, Rock the Vote, USY and Young Judaea.