OCTOBER 19, 2017, KANSAS CITY, KS — Avodah, the leading organization devoted to strengthening the Jewish community’s fight against poverty in the United States, is taking its national Avodah Justice Fellowship to America’s heartland. Starting this winter, Avodah will launch the Avodah Kansas City Justice Fellowship to provide a new opportunity for young Jewish adults in Kansas City to gain leadership skills, deepen their connections to the Jewish community, and strengthen local anti-poverty work.
“Nearly one-fifth of all Kansas City metro area residents live below the poverty level. The urgency of these needs and the desire for the young Jewish community to meaningfully live out the Jewish value of tzedek, justice, make the Avodah Kansas City Justice Fellowship a much-needed and important undertaking,” Avodah Executive Director Cheryl Cook said. “We are excited about our partnership with many early investors from the local Jewish community, including the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, who have also served as critical thought-partners to welcome the Justice Fellowship into Kansas City this year.”
The very first of its kind in the region, the Avodah Kansas City Justice Fellowship is a 7-month leadership development and community building program for young Jewish professionals and volunteer leaders working to address poverty issues in Kansas and Missouri in both the Jewish and greater communities. The program will give Kansas City-based Justice Fellows the opportunity to:
- Develop professional, communal, and spiritual resources to enrich their Jewish lives;
- Strengthen and sustain their anti-poverty work and create social change;
- Prepare them for leadership roles in the Jewish and social justice communities;
- And gain on-the-ground experience in social justice work within a supportive, pluralistic Jewish community.
The Jewish leadership component of the Avodah Justice Fellowship will be run in collaboration with Bend The Arc, A Jewish Partnership for Justice. Through this partnership, participants will benefit from Bend the Arc’s powerful organizing and leadership expertise and gain firsthand experience in creating meaningful social change through a Jewish lens.
The Avodah Justice Fellowship has become a sought-after opportunity for emerging Jewish leaders. It currently operates in New York City and Chicago and Avodah is thrilled to now make this program available to early and mid-career professionals in Kansas City. According to a Pew Research study, the majority of Jewish Americans believe working for justice and equality is key to their Jewish identity. Avodah Kansas City Fellowship Program Director Amy Ravis Furey said:
“Currently, there are few opportunities for Jewish professionals to hone their social justice knowledge and leadership skills in America’s heartland. Through the Avodah Kansas City Justice Fellowship, young Jewish leaders will be equipped with skills critical to their identity and growth in order to help create a community that incentivizes young Jews to stay in Kansas City long-term, take on prominent Jewish leadership roles, become more connected to the Jewish community, and positively impact the community’s future.”
“I am looking forward to The Avodah Jewish Fellowship continuing to grow a community of Jews who see social justice through a Jewish lens, who see their Judaism and social justice issues intertwined,” said Aviva Solomon, Kansas City native and Avodah alumna and social worker. “Avodah was the springboard for tying my Judaism and social justice together. Because of Avodah I grew professionally and was able to find my own path forward. Some of my best friends are the people I met in Avodah; they are my community. I feel excited to have a community of Avodah people I can connect with here in Kansas City.”
Avodah is deeply appreciative of the generous support that we received from the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City and the other foundations, individuals, and families who made this project possible.
For media inquiries, please contact Avodah’s Director of Communications at [email protected].