Continuing a Legacy of Jewish Service

The AJSS Henry Kohn Jewish Service Fund

Avodah is honored to receive a generous legacy gift from the American Jewish Society for Service (AJSS). For the last 66 years, AJSS has been at the vanguard of Jewish service and serving learning. Thanks to this contribution, Avodah will strengthen our service-learning programs and continue to catalyze new generations of young Jews committed to creating a better world through service.

Photo of Henry Kohn with teenagers building a home for a veteran in 1951.
It was Henry Kohn’s vision that established the AJSS in 1951 to provide an opportunity for young Jewish leaders to work in underprivileged communities throughout the US and put their Jewish values into action to serve others. His legacy is carried on by The AJSS Henry Kohn Jewish Service Fund of Avodah.

Founded in 1951 by Henry Kohn, AJSS pioneered the Jewish service and leadership movement by empowering high school students with meaningful service opportunities rooted in Jewish tradition. AJSS began by offering Jewish teens the opportunity to  build homes in Indianapolis for war veterans. Since then, more than 3,000 AJSS participants have served more than 160 communities in 48 states, changing the lives of underserved populations around the country. By empowering young people to assume leadership roles, the organization laid the foundation for these adolescents to expand their worldviews and effect meaningful change over the course of their lives.

Avodah is honored to carry forward AJSS’s proud legacy of providing motivated, young changemakers with meaningful service and leadership development opportunities through a Jewish lens.

Like AJSS, Avodah trains future leaders and promotes the Jewish values of tzedek and tikkun olam – justice, and the act of repairing the world. Avodah Jewish Service Corps Members and Justice Fellows are on the frontlines of antipoverty initiatives and work on issues such as healthcare, housing, immigrant rights and criminal justice. AJSS participants gained similar skills by tackling important projects that benefited communities often sorely lacking in access to services. The shared values and missions of Avodah and AJSS are further underscored by the fact that several of AJSS’ alumni have also participated in Avodah’s Jewish Service Corps, including two AJSS staff members. Avodah is grateful to continue the legacy of Jewish service leadership AJSS instilled in its young leaders and to continue the meaningful work of fighting the root causes and effects of poverty across the U.S.

You can help continue the mission of AJSS and empower new generations of Jewish leaders boldly working for social change by making a gift in honor of AJSS and its founder, Henry Kohn.

Click here to designate your gift to The AJSS Henry Kohn Jewish Service Fund.