When Sam Hipschman moved back home, joining the Avodah Justice Fellowship was the first thing he had lined up.
After completing an A.M. in Social Work at the University of Chicago, Sam was ready to return to his New York City roots. He knew he wanted to be more involved with the Jewish community, but had sometimes struggled to find spaces where he felt welcome. Then he spoke to a colleague who happened to be an Avodah alum who said, “I know exactly what you should do!”
As a Fellow, Sam found a new community and a new relationship to Judaism. “Connecting to the other Fellows was a radical thing for me because it opened so many doors…becoming grounded in a community of likeminded people who do justice work from a Jewish place was huge.”
The Jewish connection went deeper than the powerful relationships. While Sam had gone to Hebrew School as a child, he had never engaged in text study, or learned about the intersection of Judaism and social justice. Being in dialogue with sacred text brought new depth to his understanding of the issues at play, and what Jewish wisdom had to say about his work.
Today, Sam serves as Director of Community Organizing and Engagement at Lab/Shul, an artist-driven Jewish community in New York City. He provides home-based therapy to his clients in addition to advocating for them in court when necessary.
Sam thrives in his work because of the community he found in the Fellowship: “Getting involved in Jewish life is something that I’ve wanted for so long, and the welcoming community that I found with Justice Fellowship was the way in. My adult involvement in the Jewish community truly started with Avodah.”