5 Jewish Organizations Working To Strengthen Communities

Much of the Jewish faith revolves around tenets of goodness, charity, and justice, the idea that compassionate action can yield positive social change. The organizations included here take this notion to heart, using Judaism as a foundation to empower and bolster communities across the country. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

5 Community-Oriented Jewish Groups

Organization Headquarters Location Mission
Avodah New York City, New York Develop lifelong social justice leaders whose work is informed by Jewish values and who inspire the Jewish community to work toward a more just and equitable world
Nafshenu Cherry Hill, New Jersey Reclaim and reimagine Judaism in an ever-changing modern world
The Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life Jackson, Mississippi Support, connect, and celebrate Jewish life in the South
Areyvut Bergenfield, New Jersey Infuse the lives of Jewish youth and teens with the core Jewish values of chesed (kindness), tzedakah (charity), and tikkun olam (social action), so that they become thoughtful, giving members of the Jewish community of tomorrow
Romemu New York City, New York Elevate and transform individuals and communities into more compassionate human beings

Why Jews Are So Giving

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

Meet Avodah's Corps Members

In Depth

With millions of followers around the globe, Judaism is one of the world's major religions. If you are looking to get involved in your community while upholding Jewish values, look no further. Here, in no particular order are five Jewish organizations providing opportunities for charity, volunteering, and social change.

Up first, in the #1 spot, we have Avodah. For over twenty years, this organization has been inspiring Jewish leaders to commit to a life of social change. Since its start in Brooklyn in 1998, Avodah has grown into a national network. Today, this group provides volunteer options in cities across the United States.

Members of the Jewish Service Corp spend a year volunteering at an anti-poverty non-profit. The Avodah Justice Fellowship provides a unique learning experience for those who are working to address social and economic injustice. This organization also offers community engagement programs such as workshops for teenagers.

The Avodah Justice Fellowship provides a unique learning experience for those who are working to address social and economic injustice.

#2 on our list is Nafshenu. This group was born out of the realization that Judaism needs to be bold, courageous, and transformative to meet the diversity of needs for contemporary Jewish followers. Located in New Jersey, this non-profit organization provides a dynamic local community.

Nafshenu holds Shabbat services at various locations throughout South Jersey, as well as services for the high holy days. It offers a preschool program for young children, as well as a Jewish educational program that continues through high school. Community members are encouraged to pursue social justice.

Coming in at #3, we have the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life. The ISJL delivers programs and services directly to communities of all sizes throughout the Southern United States. The services provided include rabbinical visits to congregations with no rabbis of their own, as well as community engagement opportunities.

The services provided include rabbinical visits to congregations with no rabbis of their own, as well as community engagement opportunities.

The ISJL also provides historical preservation and cultural programs that appeal to a diverse range of interests. The group's Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities is designed to present a comprehensive history of Jewish congregations in the South. Its educational program serves thousands of students in communities across the region.

Up next, in the #4 spot is Areyvut. Since 2002, this non-profit organization has provided opportunities to empower Jewish youths. Located in Bergen County, New Jersey, Areyvut's mission is to infuse the lives of Jewish youth with the core values of kindness, charity, and social action.

This organization works closely with educators and Jewish organizations to inspire youths to get involved within their communities. It also offers a variety of grassroots programs, such as Mitzvah Clowning and Tikkun Olam Tours. Areyvut also provides programs for young children, as well as a summer camp for middle school students.

Areyvut also provides programs for young children, as well as a summer camp for middle school students.

And finally, #5 on our list is Romemu. This unabashedly eclectic community seeks to integrate body, mind, and soul in Jewish practice. Members of Romemu engage in body exercises like yoga, infuse traditional liturgy with ecstatic chant, and ground their practice with meditation and contemplation.

Located in New York, this group became a full-time congregation in 2008. This progressive and fully egalitarian community is devoted to social action. In the summer of 2019, the Romemu Virtual Yeshiva launched, combining rigorous text study, deep prayer, and Jewish mindfulness-based practices.