The Avodah Blog

Responding with urgency – and staying the course

Dear Friends,

Over the past couple months, I’ve heard from many of Avodah Corps Members, Justice Fellows, alumni and partners across the country who work directly with immigrants and refugees. Between the President’s racist and fear-mongering statements, to the Executive Order attempting to bar refugees and Muslim immigrants, to recent sweeps by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and just-announced aggressive deportation rules, clients with whom Avodah leaders work are deeply concerned about their safety and their future.

We take these recent events very seriously and have stepped up our efforts to protect and stand in solidarity with these vulnerable communities. We will not stand by while the most vulnerable people in our country are threatened. We will not tolerate the trampling of the Jewish and civic values we cherish.

That’s why, in the last two weeks alone: Avodah co-sponsored and mobilized our community to take part in HIAS’s National Day of Jewish Action for Refugees; Avodah co-sponsored and marched as part of T’ruah’s Rabbinic & Jewish Community Action for Immigrants & Refugees; we joined an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief to challenge the legality of the President’s Executive Order barring refugees and immigrants from majority Muslim countries; and Avodah’s Rabbi-in-Residence Danya Ruttenberg wrote about the powerful intersection of Judaism and justice in the Washington Post.

But short-term organizing and advocacy are simply not enough.

With almost two decades working to advance social justice, we know that real change does not happen overnight. It requires long-term partnership and a tireless commitment to cultivating a new generation of leaders. It demands sustained service.

Service and leadership development are the bedrock of Avodah’s work. Our Jewish Service Corps Members, Justice Fellows and alumni are on the frontlines year-round at leading organizations including HIAS, the National Immigrant Justice Center, Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, Sanctuary for Families, New York Legal Assistance Group, and others. With Avodah’s support, they provide their clients with critical services including legal advice, help accessing public benefits and more.

Avodah is a vibrant and growing community of Jews committed to joining together to advocate for a more just country for all its residents. Each year, we provide thousands of Jews with the experience and knowledge they need to affect change over the long term.

It seems likely that this administration will continue to enact unjust policies that all of us must oppose. We will not hesitate to do so. But regardless of those immediate challenges, Avodah will remain committed to the long-term investment in our participants, our partners and their clients.

We count on you to make this work possible. Please join the Avodah community by making a gift today.


Thank you,

Cheryl Cook
Executive Director

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