Meet Our 2013 Fellows
Shanah: A Year of Jewish Service
Through the American Jewish Society for Service, Shanah: A Year of Jewish Service will create a community service focused Gap-Year program in the Washington D.C. area. Participants will spend 10 months learning intensively about the importance of volunteerism within Judaism, as well as obtaining a significant amount of hands on volunteer experience. Participants of Shanah will have the opportunity to personalize the focus of their gap-year experience by choosing a specific issue (the environment, homelessness). Split up into trimesters, participants will spend one semester on direct service, one semester on advocacy and philanthropy, and the final semester working towards community organizing and crafting their own project to better the community. They will complete their experience with a greater knowledge of their issue, and a multitude of ways to continue their work after the conclusion of the program. Because participants will be in D.C., they can also meet with experts in the field, explore the local attractions, and take classes to fulfill credits for college if needed.
Heneni is a venture to put the individual and collective Jewish story "on the map"--both figuratively and literally. By mapping individual-level impact, Heneni creates a venue for users to say "Here I am," connecting to the global impact of each local user. By keeping one's story up to date, the user is performing service to the local and global Jewish community, keeping viable social service and community resource data up to date across the globe.
Leveling the Playing Field is focused around the donation of excess and used sporting equipment to underprivileged youth. We aim to collect from a variety of sources from simple donation bins placed strategically, as well as reaching out to large organizations that may have surplus equipment. LPF's mission is to give underprivileged children the opportunity to enjoy the pleasure of athletic involvement with the end-goal of learning the valuable life lessons that can be taught effectively through sport!
There are thousands of Montessori schools in North America and almost 40 of them have developed a Jewish component. Their Jewish programming has evolved over the past decade without any centralized accreditation, professional development and standardization. In addition, there are 30 Montessori schools in Israel, operating in Hebrew language, that are lacking full professional staff training and shortage of materials. They are unable to meet the Montessori International standards of accreditation. IMA will be able to bring together various constituents to create a critical network that focuses on education and helps create best practices. In addition to the global education accreditation, IMA will allow exchange program for teachers and students.
The face of the Jewish community is changing. In both interfaith and Jewish relationships, individuals arrive with different levels of Jewish education, observance, and engagement in the community. In an effort to pursue klal Yisrael, a unified Jewish people, it is imperative that the we open our arms and provide an inclusive space for learning and open discussion so all couples feel comfortable continuing on the Jewish tradition and people. Our vibrant Washington, DC Jewish community is filled with opportunities to learn, lead, volunteer and socialize. The mission of this project is to leverage the existing infrastructure to develop ongoing programming and facilitate support in an effort to create klal Yisrael.
Jews in America (rightly) focus on bridging the gaps between Israeli Jews and their Muslim neighbors but often ignore the bridges that we need to build between American Jews and our African-American neighbors. Within Washington DC, an area formerly home to thousands of Jewish immigrants (like my great-grand parents) is now a huge community of Washingtonians with whom we have little to no interaction. This project will address the need for our local Jewish community to better interact with the black DC community. This is based on the notion that Jews and Blacks in the US have a lot of similarities: both are powerful minorities whose culture is largely built upon our histories of bondage and oppression but who have a strong internal drive for social justice and equality.
The A Shalom Alaykum Fellowship, a special project of Atlas Corps, recruits Jewish and Muslim nonprofit professionals from Israel, the Middle East and South Asia and places them in year-long service fellowships in the U.S. at leading nonprofits. The Jewish Fellows will serve at Muslim nonprofits and vice versa. Our experience shows us that when people are outside of their home environment, they are open to new ideas, more free to learn about others, debate issues, and grow social capital. This Fellowship is an opportunity to overcome cultural and political barriers to unite people in a spirit of service and shared experience.
Collaboration and consultation are so important for teacher growth and the success of students in the classroom. The goal of JewishTeacher.org is provide open-source, Jewish educational resources for teachers, by teachers, that cut across denominational lines. It is the only website that offers professional development, curriculum sharing, a place to share technology resources, and access to resources for all disciplines in Judaic Studies, all in one place.
This program will establish a sustainable legal aid program for the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse. The program will be designed to establish a legal advocate position that will act as a liaison between attorneys and victims of domestic violence in an effort to first evaluate their legal needs, educate the victims about their rights, and then arrange competent representation that is aligned to calmly guide them through the extensive process of leaving behind the abusive relationship. The Advocates will interact with attorneys and clients to facilitate the myriad of issues faced by victims, in a manner that optimizes the time lawyers have to devote to cases and minimizes the costly collateral time.
Yotzeret will be a website like Etsy for female entrepreneurs in the Jewish community, focusing primarily on supporting low-income women in Israel who have started small-scale, microfinance-funded craft businesses. These are women who could benefit financially from selling to broader market. The online marketplace will start off with products made by female entrepreneurs in Israel and Washington but will expand to include female Jewish entrepreneurs all over the world.