News Stories

Avodah CEO Cheryl Cook moderates Women of Reform Judaism panel
Avodah’s Newly Formed Union Receives Voluntary Recognition

Avodah and its recently formed employee union jointly announced the formal recognition of the staff’s affiliation with the Washington-Baltimore News Guild on March 28, 2022. The staff were moved to form a union as an extension of Avodah’s mission and impact in the...

A Moment of Accountability in the Police Killing of George Floyd

  Yesterday’s full conviction of Officer Derek Chauvin represents a collective exhale. A breath we have been holding as a nation for three weeks (and for many far longer) and a reminder of the breath George Floyd was denied as he cried out, “I can’t...

Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month

The following remarks were given by Rabbi Lauren Tuchman, Avodah’s Ruach Avodah Spiritual Advisor, on February 3, 2021/22 Shvat, 5781 at the #JDAM (Jewish Disability Awareness Month) kickoff, hosted by Jewish Federations of North America. I would like to begin...

A Snapshot of What’s Ahead for Avodah in 2021

Our mission at Avodah is to develop lifelong social justice leaders who inspire and strengthen the Jewish community’s work toward a more just and equitable world. While 2020 was filled with incredible challenges that required us all to make major adjustments, we still...

Statement on Today’s Insurrection at The U.S. Capitol

To our Avodah community: As of 5 p.m. ET, all Avodah D.C. Corps Members who were out of the Bayit providing essential services to clients across the District were home safely and adhering to the curfew ordered by the D.C. Mayor. We offered car ride services to Corps...

The Day I Received an Email From Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I was on vacation last year when a surprising email crossed my inbox… Subject line: “From Justice Ginsburg.” From this email, I learned that Ruth Bader Ginsburg – yes, that Ruth Bader Ginsburg – had designated a gift to Avodah upon her...

Avodah’s Work Unwavering During COVID-19

  The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our society upside down, creating a culture of physical isolation, fear and sadness. While some of us have been fortunate enough to continue working while sheltering in place, millions of others in our country and around the...

Black Lives Matter – Commitment to Action

  Black Lives Matter.  We join a growing chorus of individuals, organizations, and institutions proclaiming this statement to affirm the dignity of Black lives and call for an end to structural racism. More importantly, while we know that a statement is powerful,...

In Memory of George Floyd

To our Avodah community, Last week, George Floyd died under the knee of a police officer, gasping that he couldn’t breathe. It is heartbreaking that just a few years after Eric Garner died with these same words, we are back in this place. So many lives gone. So...

An Update on Avodah’s Racial Justice Work

In Fall 2016, Avodah convened a Racial Justice Task Force comprised of staff, alumni, Board and Advisory Council members with the goal of strengthening Avodah’s racial justice work, both internally and externally. The Task Force had several recommendations that were...

Avodah Expanding to San Diego

Big news! We are very excited to announce that Avodah is launching our sixth program city…in SAN DIEGO! Our San Diego site, opening in summer 2021, will be Avodah’s first location on the West Coast. We’re thrilled to head to California and make real...

No Hate, No Fear at NYC Solidarity March

 On January 5, Avodah took part in the Solidarity March across the Brooklyn Bridge with 25,000 Jews and allies to rally against antisemitism.  The march was organized by UJA-Federation of the JCRC of New York after more than 10 antisemitic acts of violence took place...

8 Ways Avodah Grew Its Light in 2019

It’s hard to believe 2019 is nearly over. This year has been one of incredible growth for Avodah. From welcoming our largest cohorts ever, to expanding our program offerings, and reaching nearly 1,200 alumni, we owe so many of our milestones to you. While there is so...

My Family’s Refugee Story by CEO Cheryl Cook

During Sukkot, one of the most important actions we are called upon to take is to welcome strangers and offer shelter to guests in our sukkah. Amidst the greatest refugee crisis in recorded history, the need for shelter and protection has never been more clear. And...

Standing With Refugees in 5780

During the High Holidays – the Days of Awe – we take a moment to reflect on both ourselves and the shared history of the Jewish people. Through T’shuvah – deep prayer and returning – we have the chance to renew and recommit ourselves to Tzedek...

In Today’s NYT — An Amazing Story About an Inspirational Man

Today’s New York Times features an amazing story about an inspirational man. Calvin Duncan served 23 years in the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, the nation’s largest maximum security prison. During his years at Angola, Calvin worked as a “jailhouse lawyer,”...

Our Hearts Are Broken – Statement on Poway Synagogue Shooting

Once again, our hearts are broken. There are no words to express how devastated we are after Saturday’s hate-filled attack at Chabad of Poway, on the close of Passover, just six months after the Pittsburgh shooting. Saturday’s event was not an isolated...

A More Equitable, Inclusive, and Accessible Avodah

Over the past year, Avodah has put into place several new programmatic and organizational initiatives to help make our work more equitable, inclusive, and accessible. Many of these changes are due to feedback from our alumni, partners, and community about how we can strengthen Avodah, and we’re incredibly grateful. Below are some of the important initiatives Avodah is taking on to make our programs even stronger. Continue reading