5 Committed Organizations Rooted in Jewish Values

Judaism teaches many valuable lessons that are worth putting into action. The organizations listed here have different goals, from giving teens meaningful experiences to helping Jews in need to increasing access to education, but they are alike in their commitment to Jewish values and their desire to make the world a better place. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Jewish Groups Working To Improve Lives

Organization Headquarters Location Mission
BBYO Washington, DC Involve Jewish teens in meaningful Jewish experiences that inspire a lasting connection to the Jewish people
Repair the World New York, NY Make meaningful service a defining element of American Jewish life
Pearlstone Reisterstown, MD Ignite Jewish passion while connecting guests with the land and Jewish values
JDC New York, NY Help Jews in need globally, lift lives, and strengthen communities
ORT America New York, NY Increase access to high-quality education in order to provide professional success and economic independence for youth and young adults from all backgrounds, leading to stronger communities and thriving economies

5 Denominations of Judaism

Over the years, many different movements of Judaism have arisen, often responding to shifts in culture either by adapting to new practices or standing firmly against them. Here are just a few of these groups:

  1. Orthodox: Adheres strictly to traditional practices and beliefs
  2. Conservative: Honors Jewish law, but affords for some adaptation to modern life
  3. Reform: A more liberal movement that modifies or abandons many traditional practices
  4. Humanistic: Nontheistic philosophy focused on Jewish culture and history
  5. Karaite: Recognizes only the written Torah, not Oral Law

Important Events In Jewish American History

Year Event
1654 First Jewish communal settlement in North America begins in New Amsterdam
1730 The first synagogue in America, Shearith Israel, is built in Manhattan
1775 Francis Salvador is elected to South Carolina Provincial Congress, becoming the first Jew to hold elective office in America
1840 Abraham Rice emigrates from Bavaria, becoming America's first ordained rabbi
1871 America's first Hebrew periodical is published in New York
1903 "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus is added to the base of the Statue of Liberty
1916 Louis Brandeis is appointed to the Supreme Court, becoming the first Jewish justice to serve on it
1933 The American Jewish Congress begins a boycott on German goods in protest to Nazi persecution of Jews
1944 Camp for Jewish war refugees opens in Oswego, NY
1976 The Jewish feminist magazine Lilith begins publication
1992 Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer become the first Jewish women to be elected to the U.S. Senate

Holocaust Survivor Iby Knill Shares Her Story

In Depth

With roughly five million Jewish people living in the United States alone, many organizations root themselves in values that reflect their culture. Ancestry and inclusion are both important aspects of life emphasized by these communities. Staying informed about the American Jewish experience can help all individuals, regardless of their cultural background, to better understand one another. In no particular order, here are five organizations committed to supporting the Jewish community.

At #1 is B.B.Y.O, a youth movement focused on inclusion. The organization operates from more than fifty countries across the world. They seek to give teens of all backgrounds an experience that provides them with the foundation for a meaningful Jewish life. The group is determined to bring students, about 70,000 in total, a stress-free environment where they can learn about their culture. Groups can also sign up to discover Israel's rich history on a multigenerational tour.

For over 90 years, B.B.Y.O. has offered leadership programs and identity enrichment experiences for teens across the world. They seek to shape the character of more than 350,000 young people through their programs. The organization's network of alumni, parents, volunteers, and philanthropists attempts to provide the community with a platform to speak about their culture. A donation can change the life of a young person by giving them the opportunity to learn about their ancestry, and make the Jewish community stronger.

A donation can change the life of a young person by giving them the opportunity to learn about their ancestry, and make the Jewish community stronger.

For #2, we get Repair the World, an organization that aims to make meaningful service a defining part of people's lives. This group's mission is to mobilize tens of thousands of young people to volunteer, and tackle pressing local needs. The company also works with communities in impoverished areas to equip them with the tools necessary to provide help. As a whole, they hope to transform neighborhoods, cities, and lives through meaningful volunteer experiences rooted in Jewish values and history.

Repair the World's signature program, Repair the World Communities, seeks to engage teens in social change. They focus on education in neighborhoods in Atlanta and surrounding areas. During the program, a city director supports a cohort of young adults who have made a year-long service commitment. During this year, this group works closely with local nonprofits in the attempt to create impactful service and education opportunities. Those who wish to participate can find a volunteer program near them.

At #3 on the list is The Jack Pearlstone Institute for Living Judaism. For about 20 years, the institute introduced people to their heritage through various programs and events. Then, in 2001, the Pearlstone Center opened in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland as a place for people of Jewish heritage and beyond to go on a physical retreat. Several years later the center launched its educational farm to provide a hands-on nature experience for its community.

Several years later the center launched its educational farm to provide a hands-on nature experience for its community.

The Pearlstone Center attempts to create common ground for all people by providing retreats, conferences, field trips, volunteering, multicultural programs, and more. Their goal is to embrace everyone with warmth and sincerity, and facilitate the interconnectedness of people, no matter their background or affiliation. When you donate to the organization, the money goes toward program and event enhancement, along with facility maintenance and expansion.

At #4 is the global Jewish humanitarian organization, JDC. The group works in seventy different countries across the world with the mission to strengthen communities. They also seek to rescue Jews in danger and provide aid to the most vulnerable people groups, along with developing innovative solutions to Israel's most complex social challenges. Leading the community's response to crises for over 100 years, they strive to help Jewish people survive across the globe.

With the fall of communism, JDC established cultural and educational programs to help foster a sense of identity. Their efforts are focused on Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, where Jewish life had been repressed. They developed welfare and relief systems in an attempt to support thousands of elderly Jews, many of whom are Holocaust survivors who were left with nothing. Donating to the organization goes to bettering the lives of these people groups.

They developed welfare and relief systems in an attempt to support thousands of elderly Jews, many of whom are Holocaust survivors who were left with nothing.

At #5 is ORT America, an organization that seeks to make a difference in people's lives through education. They work with more than 300,000 students who are trying to develop careers and live independently. In Israel, World ORT programs focus on disadvantaged students in the country's under-resourced periphery, where they work on increasing student efficiency. Their instruction in science, technology, engineering, and math goes toward helping students in Israel obtain translatable knowledge and skills.

In Europe, the Former Soviet Union and Latin America, ORT attempts to expand access to high quality education. In the process, their mission is to bring back to life a religious experience that was lost to many regions for decades. Through the study of culture, language, history, and traditions, the curriculum hopes to provide a counter to assimilation. The organization values the renewal of communal life, and deepening the connections to Jewish identity for generations to come. A donation can help further a young person's education.