Students deliver Passover food to elderly Jewish residents of Parkchester, New York. Photo by Max Orenstein.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010.
By Doug Chandler
Special to The Jewish Week
Thousands of Jewish students in recent years have spent their winter, spring and summer breaks building homes in New Orleans, working with the rural poor in Guatemala and helping staff human rights groups in Asia and Africa. It's all part of an upswing in community service opportunities offered by organizations like Hillel, the American Jewish World Service, Jewish federations and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
Rather than partying or heading to the beach, college students involved in these "alternative breaks" are choosing to pair their interest in social justice or tikkun olam, with Jewish study.
But rarely have Jewish students from campuses outside the New York area converged on the city for community service, as 35 Hillel students did last week.
That alone would have made their week a unique one, but making it even more unique is that it marked the first fruits of a large-scale partnership between a Jewish agency and a secular national service organization a relationship that Hillel is calling a first. And the students, from campuses in Oklahoma, Kansas, upstate New York, Maryland and Ohio, not only worked in Harlem, but also devoted part of their time to a study of Jewish poverty.
Read the complete story in the New York Jewish Week