Throughout November, NFTY has focused on raising awareness about the environment and encouraging action in response to the threat of climate change. In this week’s blog post, NFTY-GER Social Action Vice President, Lev Freedman explains the urgency of climate action and why it is an issue we should care about as both Americans and Reform Jews. Read more…
9. “Walk the walk”
Our Jewish tradition teaches the importance of pursuing justice. We know it is not enough to simply study the text or learn about the Reform Movement’s history of social justice work. Put these values into action by dedicating your summer to repairing the world.
8. There are three new Mitzvah Corps programs for summer 2014
Mitzvah Corps is excited to offer three new programs for the summer of 2014. Be a part of the first group of alumni from the Portland, Washington, D.C., and Israel Mitzvah Corps trips. Each new trip is designed to take advantage of the locations’ unique history, environment and service opportunities.
7. You will go somewhere amazing
You can participate in a Mitzvah Corps trip in your own backyard or across the world. Participate in Mitzvah Corps Nicaragua, Costa Rica or Israel to gain international perspective on Jewish community and service. Or immerse yourself within a community in the United States, like the New Orleans area or New Brunswick, NJ, to build your understanding of social justice struggles closer to home.
6. Create a community
Besides working together, Mitzvah Corps sites eat together, live together and pray together. You will create a community based around a collective dedication to service and make lasting connections with your fellow participants!
5. There’s a program to fit your summer
You can spend anywhere from one to six weeks (and everywhere in between) as a part of Mitzvah Corps. Whether you are looking for a full-length summer experience or a shorter program to squeeze into your already busy summer plans, there is a program that will fit with your schedule. Browse each site on the Mitzvah Corps website to find out which program will work for you.
4. There’s a program to fit your interests
The Mitzvah Corps programs address a wide variety of social justice issues. Learn through action about issues of the environment and sustainability, economic justice, civil rights and others. Additionally, Mitzvah Corps at URJ Kutz Camp gives participants the opportunity to work with Jewish teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
3. You can spend a weekend at the RAC
The Washington, D.C. and New Jersey Mitzvah Corps sites spend a weekend together at the Religious Action Center. Participants learn about current legislative efforts to promote social justice in the United States. The weekend experience culminates with participants visiting the offices of their Members of Congress on Capitol Hill in support of these efforts.
2. Last summer’s participants loved it
Each site shared their experiences from last summer on the Mitzvah Corps blog. Read about participants’ experiences in their own words and look through photo albums from the summer.
1. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel would want you to
After marching in Selma with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rabbi Heschel wrote, “My feet were praying.” Spend your summer at Mitzvah Corps and be a part of the Reform Movement’s longstanding tradition of putting our values into action.
This week, NFTY is introducing advocacy into its Nothing But Nets month of action. In this week’s blog post, Southwest SAVP Jackson Dooling explains to his peers that it is important to let members of Congress know that we care about issues that are important to us and to advocate for them.
Below, Jackson shares why the President’s Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria are crucial in the global fight against malaria.
Advocacy is a word that gets thrown around a lot. It’s something that most of us have heard in some sort of discussion about social action. But what is advocacy and why is it important? In every situation, we can choose to advocate for a cause. This can be done in many ways. Educating others, speaking out in support of an issue, and encouraging policymakers to support a specific cause are just a few examples. The key to advocacy is speaking up. The more we can educate and inform, the more work we can accomplish.
After you finish reading Jackson’s post, join NFTY in sending your own letter to your members of Congress to ask for continued funding for these two crucial funds. If you are in NFTY, click here to send your letter to Congress.
NFTY’s Nothing But Nets Month of Action is still going strong. Every day, Regional Social Action Vice Presidents Olivia Kessler and Jackson Dooling have been educating others in their movement about malaria through various social media outlets and regular blogging. I can hardly keep up with all the tweeting and retweeting! If you haven’t yet, be sure you’re following them at @marsavp and @NFTYSWSAVP.
Below, Olivia shares why this issue is important for the Jewish community:
Since then, the URJ has exceeded their original goal of raising $500,000 and has raised over $750,000, sending more than 75,000 insecticide treated bed nets to those in need in Africa. Last year, Nothing But Nets issued a formal challenge to NFTY during the 2013 NFTY convention to see which region could send the most letters to Congress asking for continued funding for the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, which help send more nets and malaria-fighting medicines to Africa.”
This month, NFTY is helping to spread the buzz about malaria, Nothing But Nets, and our partnership throughout the month of October. Their goal is to help build awareness in their movement, advocate to their members of Congress to continue funding the President’s Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and maybe even to send a few nets over to Camp Nyarugusu in Tanzania!
NFTY Regional Social Action Vice Presidents Olivia Kessler and Jackson Dooling hailing from the Mid Atlantic region and the Southwest region respectively are heading up the month. To kick off the month, here’s how Jackson introduced this initiative to his peers:
Malaria, Nothing But Nets, and the URJ
As Jews, we have an obligation to help those in need. Currently, there are billions of people in need of a great deal of help. Though this help can come in many ways, NFTY has chosen to focus on malaria for the month of October.
Every year, malaria kills over 600,000 people, 86% of the deaths are children. This means that a child dies from malaria every 60 seconds. It exists in 109 countries around the world, which means that 3.3 billion people, roughly half the world’s population, is at risk. But what is malaria and how is it transmitted?
I recently had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. where I attended the Religious Action Center’s flagship policy conference, Consultation on Conscience. I spent four days listening to inspiring speakers, having meaningful discussions, and learning more than I ever thought possible. While reflecting on this incredible conference, I realized that there are three Hebrew phrases that can aid me in sharing my experiences: Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof (Justice, justice you shall pursue), L’dor Vador (From generation to generation), and im tirtzu, ein zo agada (If you will it, then it is no dream.)
Over one hundred regional board members have descended upon the URJ Kutz Camp for Mechina 5772. This event is an important beginning for the teen leaders comprising the regional and North American board. Mechina is a leadership training and development event for board members to share their goals and plans for the upcoming year, all while creating and strengthening bonds between the regions.