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Volunteers

Hurricane Katrina: Community Responsibility and Tikkun Olam

The Kabbalah (Jewish mystical school of thought) teaches that God created the world by projecting a beam of light into the universe and then created vessels to hold the light. But the divine light was too strong for the vessels and they shattered into bits. These bits and holy sparks scattered into the world. Our job as humans is to redeem the holy sparks through prayer and action. In doing so, we act as partners with God in the work of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world).

Benevolent Societies and Tzedakah

How do you give tzedakah (charity)? Although Jewish women’s and men’s religious roles have differed for much of history, Jewish laws and teachings regarding a person’s responsibility to help those in need have always applied to both sexes. This Go & Learn guide explores different ways that American Jewish women historically—and we today—fulfill the obligation of tzedakah and gemilut chesed (acts of loving kindness).

Ray Frank's Yom Kippur Sermon, 1890

Ray Frank (1861-1948), called the "Girl Rabbi of the Golden West," became the first Jewish woman to preach formally from a pulpit in 1890, when she delivered sermons for the High Holy Days in Spokane, WA. Although the language of her Yom Kippur sermon may sound old fashioned, Frank's message remains both relevant and compelling.

Interview with Patricia Vile, Founder and President of Volunteer Expeditions

Hurricane Katrina, one of the most destructive and costliest natural disasters in U.S. history, slammed into New Orleans on this day in 2005.

Clara Schiffer, 1911 - 2009

Clara Goldberg Schiffer was born in Brockton, MA, into a family of poor immigrant eastern European Jews. She attended public schools in Brockton and Roxbury. Her intellectual interest started young.

She was smart. There is an extended family dispute about whether she got her brains from her mother Rebecca or her father Nathan — it was clearly both — and she worked hard. She got into Radcliffe, a great achievement for a poor Jewish girl.

Shabbat at Planned Parenthood

The people awake at 7:15 a.m., when I left the house this past Saturday morning, were walking their dogs, washing off the streets in front of their stores and picking up a bite to eat.

Is the shul a place for political activism?

I spent last Friday night celebrating Shabbat at Temple Ohabei Shalom in Brookline, Mass., a Reform synagogue I’d never before visited. I was in awe of the chapel’s breathtaking, brightly colored stained glass windows, and I was fascinated by Rabbi John Franken’s take on Parshat M’tzora, which drew unexpected parallels between, of all things, skin diseases and marketing (all with a Jewish bent, of course). But it was a bright green insert in the Friday night program that struck me most.

10 Things You Should Know About Emma Lazarus

Emma Lazarus was born in 1849 to Moses and Esther Nathan Lazarus, descendants of the pioneering group of Spanish and Portuguese Jews who settled in New Amsterdam in the mid 1600s.

10 Things You Should Know About Belle Moskowitz

Born in Harlem in 1877, Belle Moskowitz (née Lindner) enjoyed a successful career as a reformer, settlement worker, and labor mediator before becoming a force in Democratic politics in the 1920s. A close advisor to New York governor and presidential candidate Alfred E. Smith, by the 1928 elections she was the most powerful woman in the Democratic Party.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Volunteers." (Viewed on October 21, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/volunteers>.

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