Starting off my Summer at AVODAH

I only just started my work at AVODAH, and I can already see that my work will directly affect change. AVODAH is organisation which fights to strengthen the Jewish community’s fight against domestic poverty in the United States. We run two a programs: a service corps, and a fellowship. Our corps members are stationed in four US cities: Washington DC, Chicago, New Orleans, and our main office, where I work, is in New York. All of these cities suffer from poverty, and that’s where we can best affect change. Our corps members work for legal aid firms, social work agencies, public health institutions, family agencies, and other social institutions that aim to aid those in need. While they work hard to fight poverty, they also receive leadership training and development, hear from speakers, and they live together in a house so that they can be fully embraced by social justice. The houses serve as centers of thought and support for our corps members to thrive in their work, and living together allows them to grow together in their work, through the Jewish values that they all share.

While fighting poverty through a Jewish lens, we also prepare the next generation of Jewish communal leaders, who appreciate our tradition and want to make change. Our fellowship serves to spread the AVODAH magic among those already in the non-profit work force. Fellows enter a professional development program, that instils Jewish ideas and ideals into the anti-poverty work that’s being done. While all of our corps members and fellows do different work, they all have a common goal: to end domestic poverty in the United States.

I found my internship on Hiatt’s website B.Hired. B.Hired is a job/internship listing built for Brandeisians, and sure enough, I found a job perfect for me and my Brandeisian identity. At AVODAH I am the recruitment intern. I work closely with all the AVODAH staff, and my main responsibilities are threefold: strategizing how best to reach out to individuals who may benefit from our programs; intensive research into contacts at universities, Hillels, and other social justice non-profits; and establishing relationships with these individuals, not only to advertise and recruit for our programs, but also to transmit the same ideals that drive our work and mission, into the minds of others.

I already have been exposed to many different aspects of non-profit work. In the short time I have been at AVODAH I have attended two organisation events. The first event was an educational program on faith based community organising. We learned about how we can band groups together to affect change through common goals and a common faith tradition. The second event was donor relations related, and in preparing for/ working at it I was able to learn even more about non-profit work. I hope to come out of my time at AVODAH having learned about the workings of non-profit management, but even more so, about the many different ways to combat domestic poverty in the United States. I already feel myself contributing to that effort, and I hope my time at AVODAH proves to be both educational and enlightening.

– Ariel Kagedan ’16

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