Ruach Avodah

Organization: Avodah, Multi-city reach in Chicago, New Orleans, Washington DC, NY

Grant Year: 2016

Project Director: Sarra Alpert

Type of Grant: Signature

Grant Amount: $180,000.00 (3 years)

Website: https://avodah.net/

A new project that will infuse Avodah’s yearlong Jewish Service Corps program with Jewish experiences, giving participants a deep connection beyond formal learning. Through this grant, Avodah will enrich their yearlong immersive Service Corps program by providing innovative and nourishing Jewish experiences that will enable their Corps Members to holistically explore their Jewish identities and lives.

Ruach Avodah is comprised of two components:

  1. Embedded Jewish Educators/Spiritual Guides (Mashgiach Ruchanit): Avodah will hire four part-time Jewish educators, one for each Service Corps site (New York, Chicago, New Orleans and Washington, DC), who will work with Corps Members throughout the year. Educators will facilitate and support Jewish experiences that weave meaningful and inspiring Jewish moments into participants’ lives. They will work with Corps Members as a group and individually, by leading Jewish life and learning programs, providing resources and tools, and offering spiritual guidance/Jewish engagement, helping each individual with his/her Jewish goals and path.
  2. Immersive Retreats: Ruach Avodah will launch with a national orientation retreat, bringing together Corps Members from all four sites. This first retreat will take place over shabbat, and will be framed with the theme of Jewish joy and linked to the calendar through the lens of the approaching Yamim Noraim. In the spring, Corps Members will participate in local retreats in each of the four sites, focused on reflection on the year and a consideration of “what’s next,” focused on the ways Judaism can sustain and nourish the participants’ work for social justice.

This new project is focused on ensuring that Service Corps participants emerge from Avodah with deeply entrenched Jewish joy and nourishment, and equipped with the tools to replicate the kind of community that Avodah provides.