The Jewish Service Alliance (JSA), a new coalition of organizations, today launched “Serve the Moment” to engage Jewish young adults and college students in 100,000 acts of meaningful service and learning addressing the COVID-19 crisis, its economic fallout, and the movement for racial justice. The initiative will mobilize tens of thousands in virtual volunteering, in-person service, and national service campaigns around specific issues during the year. Full-time stipended fellows, known as “Serve the Moment Corps Members,” will serve at nonprofit partners in cities across the country.
“The Jewish community is facing an extraordinary moment as we see unprecedented need in our communities and a great awakening to the fact that Black Americans and People of Color are being disproportionately impacted,” says Cindy Greenberg, President and CEO of Repair the World, which mobilizes Jewish young adults and their communities to serve, and is leading Serve the Moment nationally. “We must step up boldly and in alignment with our Jewish values to support our community and our neighbors. Serve the Moment will galvanize the Jewish community to meet pressing local needs, strengthening our country while building bridges across lines of difference. I want us to look back on this unprecedented chapter knowing that we lived our values, showed up, and made an impact.”
Powered by Repair the World, Serve the Moment is in partnership with Amplifier, Avodah, Base Hillel, Be’chol Lashon, Birthright Israel, The Bronfman Youth Fellowship, Foundation for Jewish Camp, Challah for Hunger, Hillel International, IsraAID, JCC Association, JDC Entwine, M²: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education, Moishe House, Network of Jewish Human Services Agencies, OneTable, Religious Action Center, Tivnu, Union for Reform Judaism, Congregation Emanu-El (San Francisco), Jewish Federations of North America and Jewish Volunteer Centers, Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, Jewish Volunteer Connection Baltimore, Righteous Persons Foundation; and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, the Jim Joseph Foundation, and Maimonides Fund through the Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund.
“The Jewish Service Alliance is an ambitious, exciting and important endeavor with the power to influence countless lives, both those serving and those being served,” adds Michael Brown, Co-founder and Senior Advisor of City Year, who is advising Serve the Moment. “Ultimately, it is the collective service of all of us, from all backgrounds, life experiences and beliefs, which empowers change, builds unity and shared purpose, and allows us to dream of a better life – and work together to achieve it. I’m honored to be a part of the Jewish community’s effort to rise to meet this moment.”
Beginning with a summer of service from July 8 – August 7, Serve the Moment will mobilize 100 Jewish young adults and college students through a four-week stipended Corps Member program, which will grow to bring on more Corps Members in the fall and spring. The Corps Members will volunteer in-person and virtually while also learning and reflecting with their peers. The initiative also will mobilize the Jewish community around specific issues, such as food insecurity, learning loss, and unemployment related to COVID-19 and racial justice, through four national campaigns during the year. In total, Serve the Moment will engage tens of thousands of young adults and college students in 100,000 acts of service and learning.
The initiative’s leaders hope their collaborative approach is a model for other Jewish organizations to work together to engage Jewish young adults in meaningful ways.
“Mobilizing a national service movement for Jewish young adults can play a critical role in helping Jewish life to persist and flourish through these uncertain and challenging times,” said Adam Lehman, President and CEO of Hillel International. “Just as important, this initiative will inspire a new generation of Jewish young adults to translate their Jewish values into serious commitments to service on behalf of the broader community, now and into the future.”
Following an intense period of evaluation and planning, Serve the Moment is responding to an unprecedented need, as vulnerable populations are experiencing loss of life, financial insecurity, and challenges accessing basic necessities and care. Additionally, as Jewish camps, communal organizations, nonprofits, and other pillars of Jewish life are disrupted, the Jewish community can invest in innovative efforts that engage young Jews in meaningful ways around a common purpose.
Volunteers can connect with Serve the Moment in the following ways:
- Full-time Corps Members will engage in immersive, in-person (with social distancing as needed) and virtual service with carefully vetted local partners who are following CDC guidelines. For example, Serve the Moment Corps Members will support vital food and supply delivery and packaging at food pantries.
- Volunteers will engage in virtual and in-person service episodically through Serve the Moment’s robust menu of projects, such as online tutoring for low-income children who have fallen behind because of school closings, calls and welfare assessments with isolated seniors, food delivery, and home seed starting for urban farms that provide fresh produce to low-income families who would not otherwise have access. Volunteers can also provide pro bono skilled volunteering for frontline nonprofits such as website development, logo design, and fundraising support.
- Time-bound national volunteering campaigns offer opportunities to engage thousands of young Jews in episodic service and learning. This volunteering is centered around key issue areas (e.g. food, education, social isolation/mental health) and holidays (e.g. High Holidays, Purim, MLK Day), inspiring and galvanizing the Jewish community nationwide to serve. Campaigns will incorporate both in-person service and digital engagement to educate participants about pressing social needs and support individuals in finding service opportunities to meet needs in their communities.
For more information, contact Jordan Fruchtman, Senior Director of the Jewish Service Alliance at [email protected].
Repair the World (Repair) mobilizes Jews and their communities to take action to pursue a just world, igniting a lifelong commitment to service. Repair believes service in support of social change is vital to a flourishing Jewish community and an inspired Jewish life.