New Orleans Corps Members Provide Hurricane Ida Relief to Local Tribal Community
Just as Avodah New Orleans's newest Corps Members were embarking on their trip to the Avodah Bayit (home), Hurricane Ida, the second-most damaging hurricane to strike Louisiana on record, touched down in the region. While the storm delayed the Corps Members’ travel, their service efforts were just getting started. Thanks to the generous donations of this community, our New Orleans cohort was able to spend the following days collecting first aid kits, gloves, paper towels, rakes, diapers, food, batteries, tools, and other necessary supplies that had run scarce in the affected region. Thanks to the efforts of the Lowlander Center, our Corps Members were able to donate these needed supplies to the Grand Bayou community, one of the most remote tribal communities located in the southern reaches of the Plaquemines Parish in Louisiana. Our Avodah Corps Members traveled by boat to the village, as it is one of the rare tribal communities still only accessible by water transport. 

In addition to donating supplies, Avodah Corps Members spent the day volunteering in the village, with guidance from a community elder. With rakes and shovels in hand, they worked to repair the village churchyard that had been badly damaged from the storm. Avodah was one of the first volunteer groups to assist the tribal community, which has lived on and stewarded the Grand Bayou wetlands since before New Orleans was even called "New Orleans." We are so grateful to each and every person who donated to these efforts! If you would like to support this continued work, please consider giving to the Lowlander Center Hurricane Ida Response Fund here.
In the News: What Would It Look Like to Create Safe, Inclusive Spaces for Jews of Color?
Last week, New York Program Director Jennifer Turner was published in Lilith Magazine, exploring the question, "What would it look like to create safe, inclusive, spaces for Jews of Color?" In her piece, Turner, who runs Avodah's New York Service Corps programming, including Avodah's new JOC (Jews of Color) Bayit, discusses her own experiences with racism in white, Jewish institutions and the critical need for faith-based spaces where participants are not seen as ‘other.’

"...Even as we sing camp songs, daven, do community service, bake challah and celebrate chagim with joy and love, we still also experience exclusion, invisibility and marginalization," she states.

Turner's hope in leading Avodah's first JOC cohort is that these emerging leaders may find themselves able to be their "wholly authentic self, in community that embraces both their racial and Jewish identities."
DC Corps Members with a homemade Sukkah.
Service Corps Members Celebrate the High Holidays Across the Country
From Rosh Hashanah to Simchat Torah, our newest Corps Members in New York, Chicago, D.C, New Orleans, and all the way to San Diego, celebrated the High Holiday season in their new homes and communities. Enjoying Sukkot dinners together in their homemade sukkahs, singing songs on the beach, and dancing with the Torah, Avodah's Corps Members spent their first weeks in the program experiencing new and old traditions as they embark on this year of service and Jewish community. Be sure to follow along on Avodah's Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to catch up on this month's celebrations. And if you're looking for a way into creating justice-oriented practices for your own spiritual nourishment this new year, check out Avodah's High Holiday guide here for practices and materials that can be used all year round.
Ready to work, live, and learn
at the intersection of activism and Jewish life?
Limited spots remain for this year’s Service Corps! We are seeking Corps Members for an immediate start to:

  • Provide support to Spanish-speaking immigrants south of the border at Jewish Family Services of San Diego;
  • Assist Afghan refugees at Jewish Family Services of San Diego;
  • Drive health services and criminal justice reform in the wake of Hurricane Ida at EXCELth and Southeast Lousiana Legal Services;
  • Engage in direct service and advocacy work for populations with disabilities at Libenu in Chicago.

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Avodah develops lifelong social justice leaders whose work is informed by Jewish values and who inspire the Jewish community to work toward a more just and equitable world.