Avodah is an amazing organization! The social justice fellowship in NYC was very powerful and impactful. The organization is welcoming, inclusive and works hard to fight for social justice on many different levels. I’m so glad I joined!
Avodah expands the work of so many important organizations through its corps member program, and it offers young adults a unique opportunity to step into the world of justice. As a board member and supporter of Avodah, I see many of our corps members profoundly affected by their year of service. They are often able to use it as a platform for their own career development and as the beginning to their lifelong commitment to changing a corner of the world.
I participated in Avodah's inaugural year in New Orleans from 2008-2009 and I owe so much of my journey since then to my experience that year. Avodah helped me explore my personal Judaism, and it set me on a path for work in the Jewish community. I love this organization and will continue to support it as a monthly/recurring donor.
I participated in Avodah in DC and I owe my career to it. Avodah gave me the opportunity to explore non profits in a way that I could have never imagined. It gave me the skills and start that I needed right out of college. I also am grateful for the network and support that I find in alumni across the country.
I am an alum of this organization's service program and also a former board member. That is one of the many reasons why I love them -- they put young people who are at the heart of the mission in a decision-making role. I continue to volunteer with Avodah on their Development Committee so I see firsthand how carefully they steward resources and how much they cherish their donors. It's been about 15 years since I 'graduated' from my year of service with Avodah and I'm still devoted to Judaism and social justice, and this organization is a huge part of that.
I am committed to the work of Avodah as a Board member and funder because it provides a critical connection for emerging Jewish professionals through the sacred work of social justice.
For over forty years I served as a professional Jewish educator in Kansas City, from congregational educational director to Director of Engagement and Leadership Development for the Jewish Fedeation. I was always focused on finding ways to connect members of the Jewish community with their Judaism through a variety of opportunities. In an era when our traditional Jewish institutions don't always resonate for everyone, organizations like Avodah provide a meaningful connection for the fellows, leadership and philanthropists who are interested in supporting social Justice through a Jewish lens. I am proud to serve on the Avodah board and support our local and national effort.
I have interacted with Avodah corps members past 10 years. They are passionate, curious, and dedicated. They are intent upon using their Avodah year to learn lifelong skills which they will use to promote and fight for social justice as social workers, medical professionals , legal professionals, rabbis, teachers, non-profit professionals, etc. Avodah is transformative for participants, and most remain in the social justice field throughout their careers.
Avodah harnesses the idealism and passion of young people and directs that to serving communities in need. It is social justice in action, through a Jewish lens. The organization itself is so well run, led by inspired staff and volunteers who ensure that the young people can make as great an impact on the people they serve and that the experience is transfomative for themselves. The very great majority of Avodah alumni continue to work in social justice fields.
An incredible organization that uses all of its resources and creativity to strengthen and improve communities.
I know two young women who participated in Avodah after college. One was my daughter and the other a friend's daughter. They both gained a lot from the experience, the love of non-profit work and the importance of social justice work. They learned that the ideals taught in school are impactful when applied to real people and real-life situations. Both of these young women have gone on to help others in their quest for economic fairness and justice in the world. The experience wasn't, as one person suggested, a way of feeling good about themselves. It was a way of feeling good about others, of learning to care and respect other people, and to be positive. Neither myself nor my friend financially supported our daughters when they were in this program. I'm sorry that one of the reviewers walked away with bitterness.
I served in the Service Corps in D.C. in 2013-2014 and currently serve on the New York Advisory Council. Avodah was a transformative experience, helping me shape abstract social justice values into a career path. Four years later, I am approaching law school graduation, and following a clerkship, I intend to return to providing civil legal services to people living in poverty–a field I knew nothing about before Avodah placed me in one of the greatest legal services organizations in the country. Since leaving Avodah, I have been continually impressed with Avodah's commitment to improving and growing. The alumni community is one of the best resources I have in serving clients, and I'm proud to be an Avodah alum and supporter.
I participated in this program over a decade ago and the experience helped me in my post-college transition, obtaining full-time employment at the conclusion of the year of service, and has made me a part of a powerful network of alumni. They are doing critical work that benefits communities and those who participate in the program.
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.
Avodah helped me create a Jewish social justice community post college and kick-started my career in the non-profit sector.
I've been a fan of Avodah since it's inception and been involved as a volunteer since 2010 in Washington, DC. What moves me most about Avodah is watching young Jewish leaders engage in social justice in their local communities, all while part of a communal Jewish framework. This experience becomes a defining one for their lives, impacting future decisions about how to live their lives and how they will contribute to society. I always joke that I wish Avodah had existed when I was a graduating college student so I could have been a part of it. Now I wish that my kids will want to do it when they are old enough!
I was an Avodah corps member back in 2010 in Chicago and the organization had a transformational impact on my life. The year-long service program opened new professional doors for me, leading me to a meaningful career in refugee and international human rights programming. I made some of my best friends through Avodah and continue to draw on the support of its community for both spiritual and social sustenance. The alumni network Avodah has produced is unparalleled in terms of its members' ongoing commitment to social justice, activism, and social and spiritual engagement.
My son, who was involved in several Jewish and secular social justice organizations in high school and college, was a corp member in the year after he graduated from college. AVODAH was, by far, the most important experience in shaping who he is as an adult. His outlook on life and his choice of careers were shaped by his experience with AVODAH. He has gained lifelong friends and built a national network of contacts who have been invaluable. I would promote this program for any young Jewish adult.
Avodah does such incredible work for both the fellows and the community. The experiences that each young person gets with the organization is empowering and the work they do in service of the community around them enriches all they touch.
As an AVODAH Service Corps Member from 2002 through 2003, I had the opportunity to live communally with other Jewish recent college graduates, dive into the connection between Judaism and Social Justice, and work full time at a local non-profit. Together we created and participated in programs designed to deepen our connection and understanding of Judaism and Social Justice. Following my year of Service, Avodah connected me to an ever growing community of committed alumni. Over 15 years later, I still look to the alumni community with any and all of my Jewish/Social Justice questions. I feel lucky to be a part of this community.
I was a member of the Avodah Service Corps in Chicago in 2008-09; as a recent college graduate the Service Corps provided an incredible opportunity to work full time while receiving significant support and training from Avodah. My year in Avodah has shaped my professional and personal journey; I continue to revisit the lessons I learned and the experiences I gained on a regular basis. I'm now an active part of the alumni community - and a member of the Board - and continue to be grateful for the ways that the Avodah network shapes my life and helps fuel social change.
I got to know Avodah first through its fellows, recent college graduates who felt that part of their Jewish identity included giving back to their communities through serious service work. I have since joined the board of Avodah and have only been more impressed with the organization and its partnership with anti-poverty organizations and the young fellows who do the work. This is an organization worth supporting--your money not only helps to fund anti-poverty work in some of the most distressed urban centers, but it also supports a generation of young Jewish leaders who go on to serve their communities in different ways throughout their lives. Avodah is transformative!
I have been involved with Avodah for over 10 years and have been profoundly impacted by the organization. As a participant in Avodah's service corps, I had the opportunity to learn all about Judaism and social justice. I did the service corps in Chicago and my year in Avodah gave me authentic insight in the social justice community and work happening in Chicago. After completing my service corps year in Chicago, I continued to stay involved with the Alumni community and network in Chicago. Through this network, I am regularly invited to engage in learning and actions related to both local and national social justice issues. Additionally, Avodah has given me a Jewish home. The Avodah Alumni network has provided me with a Jewish community who I can spend holidays with and celebrate life milestones with. When I joined Avodah in 2006, I had no idea that the organization and program would so profoundly shape my adult life. I am so grateful for the ways Avodah built me as a Jewish leader of social justice-- and the ways in which Avodah does this for so many others.
Review from Guidestar
I had the distinct privilege of being involved with Avodah as a participant in the NYC fellowship, which equipped me with tools and insights to be more impactful and find more meaning in my job in public health. Shortly after the program ended, I took part in a women's leadership coaching program through Avodah with other alumnae, which played a powerful role in helping me chart a career path that feels inspiring and motivating. Today, I'm a proud board member of the organization, and the relationships I've built through my involvement with Avodah form the heart of my Jewish community. The Avodah community helps me see myself as a powerful agent of change, pushes me to think critically about the impact I have and can have in the world, and is a constant source of inspiration and joy.
Review from Guidestar
Avodah is structured so that only individuals with privileged backgrounds can succeed in their position. It is basically set up as a year for recent college grads to feel good about themselves while they continue to take money from their parents. For those who participate for different reasons and don't have a safety net, they cannot live off the stipend and keep up with the house social scene leading to burn out due to the onerous work, high demands, poor social support, and no financial pay off. Worse it's represented as something it's not. I'm three years out and still look back at the experience as a waste of time and a poor use of my skills.
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.
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.
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.
A truly meaningful, life-changing experience. I became more aware of the world I live in while also learning about myself. I met amazing people and connected to a community that inspires and accomplishes incredible things.
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.
My experience with Avodah has been transformative. It has changed my vision of the world and how Judaism and social justice are important in my own life.
Housing Unlimited, Inc. (HUI) is fortunate to have an Avodah participant-- Joshua Neirman-- work full-time this year with HUI. Josh has been an outstanding addition to our staff-- he cares deeply about our mission (HUI provides affordable housing to low income adults with psychiatric disabilities), he is very kind and respectful towards the people we serve, and he is a true team player-- happy to chip in with the large and small tasks that must be completed to keep HUI up and running. The Avodah supervisory staff is very organized and communicate regularly and clearly with HUI to ensure everything is going smoothly.
I have been receiving AVODAH volunteers to help run our legal clinic for seven years. They have been outstanding workers and friends. The quality of people AVODAH gets each year to donate their time to helping the poor with our and other organizations is incredible. AVODAH not only instills a strong sense of Jewish tradition and values in its members, it provides crucial services to this country's poor.
The reason for my ongoing involvement with Avodah is because my participation in this program has helped to amplify multiple songs in my soul and set them into powerful harmony. The song of Jewish community and intentional relationships. The song of social action. The song of taking up the fight against injustice. And the song of doing what’s right, of doing what’s human. I sing these songs loudly now, and with others who know the tune, the words, … the meaning.
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.
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.
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 love AVODAH! It gave me the opportunity to work in a field I would have never explored on my own. I made amazing friends and shared so many meaningful experiences making the Jewish connection to service work, as well as live with peers that shared similar values. YAY AVODAH!
AVODAH is a multilayered experience, full of strengths and challenges. Overall, I grew personally and professionally by leaps and bounds and strengthened my commitment to pursuing justice. I continue to feel like I'm part of a movement in this endeavor as the alumni community expands.
AVODAH The Jewish Service Corps changed my life. It is a program for recent college graduates who live communally and work at non-profits dedicated to social justice. I spent one year living in Brooklyn with 9 other young Jews of varying backgrounds and levels of observance. My work involved educating Medicare beneficiaries about their health care benefits, supervising a crisis hotline, and even representing clients at court. My roommates' jobs varied from staffing a neighborhood soup kitchen, to helping people with mental illness find housing, to staffing shelters for battered women. AVODAH staff members guided us with bi-weekly meetings in which we studied the ways our Jewish faith intersected with our passion for anti-poverty work. As an alumnus of the program, AVODAH continues to play a large role in my life by providing access to a network of alumni as well as annual retreats where we renew our commitment to Tikun Olam - making the world a better place. AVODAH was one of the single most influential experiences that shaped me into who I am today. Please support this wonderful program that has given so much to so many. Sincerely, Yuval Asner, MD Johns Hopkins Hospital
My year in Avodah was an amazing experience that solidified my commitment to working with the underserved, as well as exposed me to many role models doing anti-poverty work and different models for doing so. I had the opportunity to work for the entire year through my placement organization, a legal non-profit, doing welfare advocacy and eviction prevention work in New York City. I did this while living together with 9 other Avodah participants, all with jobs related to antipoverty, and we had opportunities to learn from and share with each other. Finally, Avodah provided us with formal teaching on various topics related to poverty, as well as tying our Jewish identity and texts to our anti-poverty work and providing opportunities for self-reflection.
As a volunteer in Avodah's one year program, I gained a foot in the door with non profits working in urban centers and the beginning of my career in outdoor environmental education in which I'm particularly dedicated to brining city kids out into the wonders of nature. Avodah not only provides its members with a one year work and volunteer experience, with a life long opportunity to connect with individuals who care about creating thoughtful change in our society. Working relationships may be forged and Jewish community is strengthened as alumni of the program stay connected with each other.
My experience in AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps was one of the pivotal experiences of my life. As a volunteer coordinator I learned how to coordinate a program, manage a program, recruit and retain volunteers as well as navigate Brooklyn, New York. The corps members and I in my year really forged a close bond based upon shared values and though I am not always in touch as often as I might like, I still count them among my closest friends. Several years ago, AVODAH decided to work on alumni and the engagement there has been improving though still has a long way to go. Because so many of the alumni are still based in New York almost all of the programming takes place there. Because of my own personal scheduling challenges I have only been able to attend one alumni retreat and hope to be present at more in the future. I Think AVODAH does tremendously important work all of the people who are touched by its' programs from clients to corps members to any person that interacts with a corps member after their service year.
My AVODAH experience was one I will never forget, how many experiences will I have in my l live communally with 11 other young Jewish adults and have the opportunity to work for a top service agency in NYC. Most of the time I laughed, some times I cried (out of joy) but most of all I learnt what it is to care about other people. To care for my clients who came from extremely rough backgrounds,and to care for my peers who were simultaneously experiencing all of the emotions and happy times that I was.
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.
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!
AVODAH is an incredible organization and as much as I appreciated the program when I was a corps member, I appreciate AVODAH infinitely more now that I'm an alumn. The year program itself is a fantastic way to experience the social change sector first-hand, since both communal living and programming provide a much-needed support system and a venue for reflection on the many questions inherent in service work. As an alumn, I've had the opportunity to see that AVODAH has truly built a national movement for change fueled by Jewish values. When I moved out of NY last year, I was able to connect almost immediately with individuals who shared my values and vision for the world (and with whom I could also reminisce about a unique year-long experience) - what a powerful thing! I continue to feel supported by fellow alumni via the listserv and inspired by all the work that alumni go on to do in their lives.
excellent, one of the most transformative years of my life. i made friends that i will remain close with, i learned a lot about myself, the work was quite meaningful and important, and i learned skills from working, from workshops, and from communal living that have been useful in many aspects of my daily life. i was able to explore judaism in an open, creative, and affirming environment.
I am currently a Corp Member serving my year for AVODAH in Washington DC. I have been in AVODAH for about a month and a half now and am loving my work and the communal living aspect.
Avodah is an amazing program for young Jewish people just out of college. A group of 18, we live together and work on building an intentional community of people commited to social action. Each of us works in a different non-profit organization or agency around New York city (though there are other groups just like us in Chicago, New Orleans, and DC). We spend a lot of time talking about social justice and trying to connect the work we do to a broader vision of social change and tikkun olam. The program is SO well designed and comprehensive, which allows us to get right down to the important business. It's an amazing year so far!
AVODAH is a wonderful organization. No other non-profit allows young people to combine their Jewish values with their social justice values in such an integrated way. The experience goes beyond serving as a full-time volunteer for one year.
I participated as a Corp member in Avodah 2007-2008. It was an amazing opportunity to meet other justice minded young jewish adults wanted to give a year of our life to service and working with the underserved community. Now as an Alumni, I am part of a rich network of support who are available whenever I reach out to them.
Avodah was a life changing experience for me. I learned invaluable experience about working in social justice and about community. Through the three components of the program (working, communal living, and educational programming) I grew more in this one year than I possible could imagine. I made life long friends and learned so much about myself and my future in the social justice world.
Avodah helps young Jewish adults to do social justice work while engaging in Jewish programming. It places Jewish Corps members in non-profit placements and supports them through th progression of their work. It has a broad network, that brings speakers from all over to engage members.I have enjoyed my placement in Chicago, working with people with mental illness. Avodah has shown me how Judaism relates to my work and reinforces the importance of it. Living with 6 other girls all working at non-profits has provided opportunities for story telling and experience relating which teaches me new things every day.
I learned how to be a better "me," while helping those I served learn how to be better "them." It was truly one of the most enriching and life-changing experiences I have been blessed to have.
avodah provided me with the opportunity to live in community, explore my faith, and gain valuable experience doing hands-on social justice work. it was one of the most challenging and most rewarding years of my life.
I worked as a case manager at a homeless shelter for women with severe mental illness for a year through AVODAH.
AVODAH was exactly what I was looking for post college. The program gave me a chance to give back to a community in need, to live communally, and to engage with my own Judaism in a meaningful way. My placement/volunteer experience was helping formerly homeless or currently homeless and former substance abusers prepare to re-enter the workforce. I ran workshops on issues such as financial literacy and money management, succeeding in a job interview, and I helped create resumes for people who didn't have them or that needed updating. Living with the other people in the same house, who came with a variety of Jewish backgrounds, was both challenging and rewarding. I learned a great deal about myself and my Judaism, and also about communal living, time management, and conflict negotiation. Finally, engaging in community programs every week afforded us the chance to meet other social justice activists, to learn about important issues, and to enhance my Judaism through text study and discussion. AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps truly changed my life. I am currently studying to become a rabbi, and my time in AVODAH directly contributed to affirming my commitment to social justice, repairing the world, and being Jewish.
AVODAH changed my life both professionally and personally. My participation as an AVODAH Corps Member expanded my network, gave me essential exposure to a variety of social justice issues, and connected me with a job and a group of friends to continue my journey as a Jew working toward social justice every day. I am incredibly thankful for AVODAH.
Great organization, caring staff, results-oriented. Always looking to improve themselves and those that work with them. I love AVODAH and all it stands for.
being a participant in AVODAH transformed my life and changed the way that I look at the world. AVODAH taught me the value of social change work across the spectrum.
I had a phenomenal experience as an AVODAH corps member in New Orleans. AVODAH is training the next generation of Jewish Leaders.
I was a corps member in AVODAH: the Jewish Service Corps. My experience in my placement (a community organization, providing crisis intervention/case management services to individuals in the neighborhood) and the skills I gained changed who I am, changed the way I see the world and helped push me towards pursuing a graduate degree in social work. The opportunities that AVODAH gave to create community among the corps members was imperative as we all struggled to understand and deal with the problems we saw our clients facing (i.e. the immense poverty and systemic problems in the city). While we were often tired going to AVODAH organized discussion sessions and activities, the process of building community as corps members, develop skills, and challenge each other's worldviews is something that has spurred me to continue pursuing work to fight the injustices in our society.
AVODAH is an amazing program. Not only was I able to work in a non-profit with support and guidance, but I was able to contextualize that work within a Jewish framework. the best year.
AVODAH is a one of a kind organization really making a different in the lives of young Jews and the communities we are working in. We are learning, growing, and reaching out! One step at a time AVODAH is helping us to do our part and repair the world.
Avodah was a life changing experience. Skilled staff and a strong mission make this program effective and impactful. Our work was grounded in our values, and our learning and work complemented each other. I met great people and learned more about myself while strengthening my work skills and better comprehending the confluence of Judaism and social justice work.