Avodah The Jewish Service Corps Inc

Rating: 4.85 stars   74 reviews

Issues: Philanthropy, Religion

Location: 45 West 36th Street 8th Floor New York NY 10018 USA

Mission: AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps engages young people in direct work on the causes and effects of poverty in the United States. Participants in our service Corps program live out and deepen their commitments to social change and Jewish life through a year of full-time work at anti-poverty organizations in Chicago, New Orleans, New York, and Washington, DC.  This work partners Corps members with service providers and residents in low income communities and equips our Corps members and alumni to emerge as lifelong agents for social change, whose work for justice is rooted in and nourished by Jewish values. After participants complete this intensive one-year program, AVODAH’s partnership with American Jewish World Service provides a broad platform for long-term leadership in social change and Jewish life.
Geographic areas served: United States
2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 13-3914342
212-545-7759
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Community Reviews

Rating: 1 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

AVODAH is by far the most ableist and financial inaccessible "volunteer" experience I've ever had. I had to resign from my position early fpr health related reasons, and the organization promptly kicked me out of my house with two weeks until my next lease started, one day notice (against DC tenant law) and nowhere to go. This was against the expressed wishes of my fellow corps members (whose needs, I think, should be the organization's top priority) and while still mandating that I pay rent for the next three months (after working for a year under the minimum wage and while struggling to cover medical expenses). I am both shocked and disappointed that AVODAH-- as an organization that prizes itself being equitable and social justice oriented -- has no clause in its contract acknowledging mental/ physical disabilities as potential barriers to completion of serve. Throughout my departure process, I was made to feel like my situation was in some way my fault, and was made to compensate AVODAH financially for making a decision that my doctor recommended. I find it hard to fathom that I am now in debt to an organization which I was working for in a stipended position, after leaving for a health issue that I already hold much shame in. As one of the few corp members without the buffer of family support to fall back on, I was constantly made to feel like I was asking for special privileges for not being able to manage the 60+ hours of commitment per week that AVODAH expects from it's corp members (with site placements, programming, house meetings, mandatory community activities, etc), while balancing outside responsibilities that none of the other corps members had. No wonder the organization primarily attracts volunteers from certain socio-economic and familial backgrounds! I loved my corps members and respect my program director and her intentions, but feel strongly that the structure of the program is completely inaccessible to folks who don't identify with certain brands of Judaism and/ or have needs that fall outside the "norm". I therefore couldn't in good faith recommend it to anyone strongly committed to grassroots social justice work.

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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

As a AVODAH corps member, I spent a year living in a communal house and working in a local nonprofit. The AVODAH program and staff were very supportive around the communal living stuff and work stuff, did not push me Jewishly as much as I had hoped.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my job

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

incorporate more leadership by corps members in the educational/communal progamming

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

being part of a cohort of young adult jews

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

generally awesome!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

start in a new city!

Ways to make it better...

I had made more use of the resources available

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

funding, providing jewish programming that's accessible and challenging to participants with such a wide range of backgrounds and interests

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-8-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

Through AVODAH I had an incredible year working with low-income seniors in New York City. I was part social worker, part pharmacist, and part advocate on behalf of hundreds of Medicare beneficiaries, and my work during AVODAH led me to attend law school. In addition to being the spark that I hope will develop into a rewarding public interest legal career, I made some incredible friends throughout the year - people who have supported me through tough times and celebrated with me in the good times.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the lives of real people as well as government policy. Avodah's year long service program is so unique, & fills a need for dozens of nonprofit organizations across the country doing incredibly worthwhile work.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change the world. In all seriousness, Avodah is already changing the lives of both its Corps members (many of us have decided to dedicate our lives to work with the most vulnerable members of society), & it also has a life-changing impact on our clients.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

AVODAH is amazing! It provides young Jews with an opportunity to expand their Jewish sense of identity at time when we are unstable with who we are and where we stand in the world. An instant community of Jews and like minded individuals are basically served to us on a golden platter, as well as real world experience serving people and communities that are important to us.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

reach out to every nonprofit and provide them with a valuable, knowledgeable service corp member who would work for limited income.

Ways to make it better...

I had been to israel, or knew Hebrew, I could have had a deeper understanding about Judaism and connection with the other ind.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

As an AVODAH Corps Member, I had the opportunity to live together with other Jewish young adults, exploring together the connection between Judaism and Social Justice, and working full time at a non-profit. We had very meaningful workshops weekly covering topics from housing, to racism, to mental health. It also gave me the opportunity to explore my Jewish traditions and learn about others'. AVODAH was a positive step to get into the world of non-profit. After my year in AVODAH my organization offered me a full time position and I am still employed there. I still actively engage with AVODAH, interacting with new corps members as well as alumni.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

that I have gained more insight into problems in our society that lead to poverty as well as steps to improve them. Also, I had the opportunity to explore my Jewish practices and to work in a non-profit organization.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting amazing people, gaining work experience, exploring my Judaism, attending workshops on social Justice, staying connected as an alumnus and having an extremely supportive alumni community.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

extremely supportive and open to helping and offering advice to all corps members. Even as an alum, the staff continues to offer guidance and support.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

expand to more cities, give this amazing opportunity to more young adults, and continue to help make positive change! The money could help pay for corps members' placements so more organizations could take on corps members.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

AVODAH provided exposure, experience, and support in the social service world, all within a Jewish, social justice framework. My positive experience was a major factor in my decision to pursue an MSW/MPH degree.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

how it propelled me toward my goal of becoming an effective advocate for underserved communities and an agent of change for social justice for people from diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2007-8-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

AVODAH is a year long service program, similar to Americorps. The experience that I gained in this program strengthened my knowledge of the field I currently work in and strengthened my commitment and passion to social justice. The friends I made while in AVODAH, have been a source of support and encouragement to me.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

2007-2008 when I was an AVODAH Corps member. The skills I gained from my placement helped me get a job in a similar field.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

open up corps in other cities across the US that desperately need committed individuals who would stay for a year and possibly longer.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

AVODAH is an amazing program (!) which provides Jewish individuals an experience to learn about social justice within the context of a Jewish framework. For me it was a year of meeting passionate individuals, who work towards the issues they believe in. AVODAH provides young college graduates with an experience of working with various marginalized populations. It is a year of growth and learning. It was a very important year in my life and in my growth of learning and understanding what I value and what is important for me to work towards.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

it's helping me realize that I want to receive an MSW and work with marginalized populations.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The year was amazing, and the friends that have remained since are very special people.

Ways to make it better...

You could do two years of the program.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

I found my year with Avodah privoded an invaluable job experience, fabulous educational experience. and I found friend for life who share my values and interests.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

brings Jews together with different backgrounds and experiences but similar values. We learned to live together, work together and celebrate Jewish events together. Avodah is unique in connecting to Jews who don't usually identify with Jewish orgs.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

AVODAH provides young Jewish adults with a phenomenal opportunity to engage their Judaism and pursue meaningful vocation. I am truly grateful for the support and challenge that the program provides!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

... personal and professional growth and learning about the intersections of Judaism and social justice.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Ways to make it better...

... the outside programming were more focused and challenging. We have been reivewing logistics and failing to really engage the readings that have been selected for our meetings.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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