Young Adult Mitzvah Corps, New Orleans, Louisiana (2008)
Thirty Reform Jewish young adults - from Boston to Los Angeles - came together in December to roll up their sleeves for some hard work in the Big Easy. This unforgettable volunteer week in New Orleans, LA included painting a home and building a picket fence with Rebuilding Together New Orleans, worship and study opportunities led by fellow participants, an area bus tour to see post-Katrina rebuilding efforts and plenty of fun in New Orlean's French Quarter.
Adult Reform Jews of all ages came together from across North America for a ten day Israel social action trip. This program included study with Israeli scholars, travel to Tel Aviv, the Negev and the Arava, hands on volunteer work and two special Jerusaelm Shabbat experiences.
Jacobs' Ladder, Utica, Mississippi (2006)
Jacobs' Ladder: A Relief Project of the Union for Reform Judaism was a vital part of the Union for Reform Judaism's response to Hurricane Katrina. Reform Jews across North America are collecting food and supplies and shipping them to the Union's Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica, MS where volunteers sorted and distributed these goods. Working in partnership with the town of Utica, the Union and Jacobs Camp operated a staging and distribution center for relief supplies from a warehouse provided by the city. The center collected supplies and distributed them through a number of local and regional ministries and relief centers that serve the greater Jackson community, the population of which doubled with displaced families following the storm. Together we collected and distributed more than 3,000,000+ pounds of relief supplies. More than 100 volunteers helped to sort and distribute the supplies we collected from the more than 100 Congregations who participated. Read A Jacobs' Ladder Diary.
As Reform Zionists, we are committed to the State of Israel: that it may flourish in safety, while striving to express the highest moral ideals of the Jewish people. We recognize the interdependence of Jews living in the Diaspora and those residing in Israel as well as our partnership in shaping Jewish destiny. With these ideas in mind, Tzevet Mitzvot journeyed to Israel to integrate our devotion to the State of Israel with our wishes for justice and peace in the homeland of our people. We wanted to understand more about Israeli society, its hopes, its hardships, and its efforts to enact the noblest visions of the Jewish people. And we wanted to be part of those efforts by learning about and participating in Israeli projects that responded to the needs of those who are struggling. Upon our return, we continue our mission to help Reform congregations and individual Reform Jews in North America become aware of some of the most fruitful responses to social problems in Israel, projects in which they can participate, either from afar or when they travel to Israel. The Commission on Social Action partnered with the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA) and the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) to create this educational and inspiring journey. We had 16 participants in this unique program, which was led by Rabbi Marla Feldman, Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism.
Orange County, California (2004)
Open to members of Reform congregations across North America, participants spent the week of August 15-21, 2004 building a home in Orange County, California in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. Each work day began with worship and ended with study. Local Reform congregations supported the project by providing meals, volunteers and Shabbat worship.
Burlington, Vermont (2003)
"The World Stands Upon Three Things: Torah (Study), Avodah (Worship) and Gemilut Chasadim (Righteous Deeds)." Inspired by this rabbinic dictum, thirty-two Reform Jewish adults from across North America gathered in Burlington, VT for the Commission on Social Action's Tzevet Mitzvot: Adult Mitzvah Corps. During the course of the week the group worshipped together, studied Jewish texts related to tzedakah and social action, and built a home for an impoverished family. Participants returned to their communities spiritually enriched and energized to continue the pursuit of justice. The program was a partnership with Temple Shalom, Succasunna, NJ, Temple Sinai, South Burlington, VT and Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity.