From the right, JDub Records President Aaron Bisman, Hillel President Wayne L. Firestone and the band Guster at the LA Food Bank in 2006 during a Hillel-sponsored service learning blitz in Los Angeles.
Hillel President Wayne L. Firestone has been named a “2010 MLK Day Ambassador” by the Corporation for National and Community Service in recognition of Hillel’s ongoing commitment to service and volunteering. Ambassadors are integral to the success of MLK Day of Service, as they help the Corporation generate awareness about volunteering on the King Holiday among a broad audience and promote service as part of the solution to the nation’s most pervasive challenges.
“I am honored to represent Hillel as 2010 MLK Day Ambassador,” says Firestone. “This acknowledges Hillel’s contribution to advancing the concept of service in the Jewish community as well as the thousands of volunteer hours that Hillel students perform every year. We are proud to link two great names, Hillel and Dr. King, in the service of humanity.” Firestone recently returned from Los Angeles where he joined with student volunteers on the first joint Hillel-City Year alternative break.
“These individuals have demonstrated a level of commitment to service that can inspire and activate thousands more to help transform our communities on MLK Day and beyond,” said Nicola Goren, the Corporation's Acting CEO. “They exemplify the promise of Dr. King's dream and through their leadership advance his legacy of serving others.”
The MLK Day of Service, held on January 18, honors Dr. King’s legacy and helps to realize his dream through service. The Corporation leads the MLK Day of Service annually and calls on Americans to make the holiday a “day on, not a day off” by volunteering in their local community and making a commitment to serve throughout the year. It is the Corporation’s largest and most successful service event, and engaged more than 1.5 million people in over 13,000 service projects across the country last year.
Hillel has been a pioneer in the field of service learning, providing Jewish students with opportunities fulfill the Jewish concept of tzedek, or social justice, in a variety of settings around the world. Hillel, which has sponsored community service Alternative Breaks for over a decade, was the largest Jewish volunteer group in the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the 2004 Hurricane Katrina and has contributed over $1 million in volunteer hours to New Orleans alone. In the 2010 school year, approximately 1,300 students will participate in Hillel-organized Alternative Breaks in Israel, New Orleans, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Latin America. Hillel student activists will participate in MLK Day volunteer activities around the world, including a joint project with the Muslim Student Association and the Carlson Catholic Center at University of Washington and a “Mitzvah Day” at Stanford Hillel.
Hillel recently began a new relationship with City Year, the first large-scale partnership between a Jewish and secular national service organization. The partnership will enable 200 Jewish college students to perform 5,000 hours of hands-on service at-risk communities during winter and spring break.
Other Jewish leaders named MLK Ambassadors are American Jewish World Service President Ruth Messinger , Repair the World CEO Jonathan Rosenberg and Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism Director and Counsel Rabbi David Saperstein.