A Summer with JustCity

By Rabbi Stephanie Ruskay

rabbistephanieruskayEvery person has the possibility to increase or diminish the amount of justice in the world. This was the theme that emerged in the course I taught for the JustCity Leadership Institute, a pre-college leadership and Jewish social justice program, run by the Jewish Theological Seminary, and on which AVODAH partnered.

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Introducing DC Director Sandra Hinderliter

We’re delighted to welcome Sandra Hinderliter as the new director of our DC site.

rsz_hinderliter-sandra-headshotSandra most recently served as  a Manager of the Changemaker Schools Network for Ashoka where she’s been working with schools on their Empathy Initiative.  Sandra managed partnerships, engagement and connections with over 60 schools that are nationally recognized for their work in social justice through a strong focus on cultivating empathy.  Sandra also currently serves as volunteer program manager at Reading All-Stars where she has generated critical resources to sustain and grow a program that pairs elementary school students with community volunteers to build literacy skills.

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Reflecting on the AVODAH Fellowship

By Shana Bloom

rsz_bloomThe AVODAH Fellowship created a fundamental “paradigm shift” in the ways I relate to and understand myself within the context of a Jewish social justice community. It has also  impacted my professional life by deepening my understanding of and ability to contextualize social justice and Judaism within my day to day work.

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How the AVODAH Fellowship Surprised Me

By Sarra Alpert

IMG-0729-002When we first started to envision AVODAH’s expansion through the Fellowship, I was certainly excited by the idea that more people would have the opportunity to experience the kind of justice-driven, intentional, challenging-yet-supportive, creatively Jewishly engaged, critically thinking community that we’ve continued to build and grow in AVODAH. But to be totally honest, I also have to admit that knowing the Service Corps program so well and believing so deeply in its impact, it was hard for me to picture how exactly we were going to transfer the power and depth of such an immersive experience into a format that would be so much more diffuse.

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AVODAH Hiring Executive Director

AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps
Executive Director

AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps seeks an Executive Director who is a passionate advocate for social justice, who can inspire young people to engage in service and community building.

AVODAH is a New York City-based, national program dedicated to developing and engaging a network of emerging Jewish leaders committed to fighting poverty and social injustice in the United States through participation in service and community building activities that inspire them to become lifelong leaders for social change. Our three core programs — Service Corps, Fellowship, and Alumni Network — are rooted in and nourished by Jewish values. For more information about AVODAH please visit: http://www.avodah.net.

The new Executive Director will assume responsibility for a vibrant, pluralistic organization grounded in Jewish teachings and values. AVODAH’s new Executive Director will be responsible for: strengthening fundraising capacity; working closely with the board on programs, fundraising and planning; examining the financial underpinnings of the organization and building a strategic financial team; implementing a communications strategy to increase visibility; and providing support for staff while recognizing the need for prudent fiscal management and workplace efficiency. AVODAH has an operating budget of $2.16 Million and a staff of approximately 20 across four sites (New York City, Chicago, Washington, DC, and New Orleans).

The new Executive Director of AVODAH must be:

  • Passionate about social justice and service
  • Able to develop and articulate a clear vision for the organization’s work, grounded in Jewish teachings and values
  • An experienced fundraiser able to connect with and motivate a variety of people
  • Comfortable in a fast-paced work environment and possessed of the ability to balance an inclusive leadership style with decisiveness
  • A strong, experienced manager and team builder

This search is being conducted by the Third Sector New England Executive Transitions and Search Program and Transition Consultant Donna Zalichin. The full Position Profile, including contact information for interested candidates, may be found here.

AVODAH is an equal opportunity employer.

17 Ways You Might Be An AVODAHnik

1. World cuisines regularly appear on your Shabbat menu.


2. Every time there are leftovers at an event the organizer tries to give them to you because they think you need the food.


3. You’ve had a house meeting just to plan another house meeting (scheduling is difficult as we keep ourselves quite busy!)

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4. NYC: When you know of at least five Shabbat minyans every Friday (and at least three are in Brooklyn).


5. Kale is the only vegetable/food product consistently stocked in your fridge.

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6. NYC: In a city of 8 million people, you still manage to wind up on the same train as a fellow AVODAHnik.


7. A free membership to the JCC means equal parts exercising and schmoozing.

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8. “Who’s going to tweet that?” is a legitimate concern.

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9. Chicago: The only time you’ve left the house in months is to go to work because you’re too scared of freezing.


10. DC/NOLA: When you have a snow day and there is only 1 inch of snow on the ground.


11. Chicago: You have deep dish pizza for program dinners.


12. NOLA: You regularly overhear observant Jews discussing oysters and crawfish boils.


13. NOLA: You spend your Mardi Gras parading with dancing Rabbis (yes, he really is a Rabbi, and yes this really did happen).


14. DC: When the federal government closes but you still have work.

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15. When you have a discussion about how many avocados to buy weekly.

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16. You’ve been truly concerned about alarming the neighbors with uproarious Shabbat singing.


17. You want to slow down time because you love these people!



Life in the New Orleans Bayit: A Photo Essay

Over the last few months, our New Orleans Corps members collected photos from their house in order to tell the story of their communal life. 

Mia Bruner practicing some guitar chords in her room. The bayit is full of music at all times and the corps members have diverse and eclectic taste.

Mia Bruner practicing some guitar chords in her room. The bayit is full of music at all times and the corps members have diverse and eclectic taste.

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