Our application consists of three steps:
• In Chicago, we have switched to rolling admissions for a November start.
• In NYC, there is one more application deadline on October 12th.
• In Kansas City, the priority deadline is December 4th.
The Justice Fellowship will run from November 2023–June 2024 in Chicago and New York City. In Kansas City, the Fellowship will run from January 2024–June 2024.
Our program is designed to fit the needs and schedule of working professionals. The Fellowship includes:
• Weeknight sessions (typically 2-3x a month) and Sunday daylong sessions (typically 3-5x a year). Sessions focus on building a systemic analysis and toolkit for combating root causes and manifestations of social and economic injustice, Jewish life and the intersections between Judaism and social justice, and on community building, personal growth, and reflection.
• 2-3 weekend retreats designed to provide space for community-building and deep learning. We start with an introductory community-building retreat to develop a common language and a shared purpose and close with a year-end reflection retreat to help you focus on your next steps as social change leaders in the Avodah network. Retreats begin on Friday in the late afternoon and include a pluralistic Shabbat celebration.
• Mentorship provided via peer mentor groups, one-on-one coaching with your Fellowship Director, and optional meetings with an Avodah Community Mentor. Coaching and peer-mentoring will help you to address challenges occurring in your work, think about and tackle areas of personal growth, build on your strengths, and explore your long-term professional and person path. Mentoring meetings with your Fellowship Director will take place 2x-3x a time.
• A personal project (Jewish Leadership Opportunity) in which you will take on a Jewish leadership role around issues of justice and the connections you’ve been developing with your Jewishness. Projects can emerge out of work you are already doing professionally or personally or can be new initiatives you take on with the support of the Avodah staff.
• An active and engaged community that will welcome you for life! You’ll be invited to be a part of educational, social, cultural, and religious events and celebrations with members of our Jewish Service Corps (in Chicago and NYC!) and our network of 1,400+ alumni.
You’re thinking of our Jewish Service Corps program, where we match participants with non-profit organizations and they live together in a communal home for a year. The Justice Fellowship is different – it’s all about supporting you in your current work. No need to leave your job or pack up your bags!
The Justice Fellowship brings together a pluralistic cohort of social justice leaders working on a diverse set of local issues in a variety of different ways. Our Fellows are excited to break out of the limits of their personal silos and dig into a more holistic learning approach to building power in their communities. They seek to build power, solidarity, language, and strategy for a Jewishly-rooted movement committed to doing this work effectively, collaboratively, and sustainably.
In short, they:
• Have between 2-8 years of experience in either their professional, volunteer or personal life working on domestic social, racial, environmental, and/or economic justice issues;
• Have a demonstrated interest in exploring the intersection of Jewish life and social justice, and developing a deeper relationship between the two;
• Have an active interest in building a values-based community and developing the power of a local Jewish network during and after the Fellowship.
The Fellowship seeks to build a cohort reflecting many, diverse Jewish practices. We encourage people of all Jewish backgrounds to apply. Prior knowledge of Hebrew or Jewish texts is not required or expected and the program will be stimulating regardless of one’s textual experience. Food served at programs will be vegetarian and further specified in respect of the needs of the group, including needs related to allergens, kosher certification, etc.
Our Justice Fellows are typically in their mid-20’s or 30s, but we welcome all applicants in their early and mid-career stages. If you’re not sure whether you should apply to the Fellowship–we bet you’d be a great candidate! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
Throughout the Justice Fellowship, participants take on a leadership role at the intersection of social justice and Jewishness, either building off of existing work or starting a new initiative. Past JLOs have included using the counting of the Omer to live a zero-waste lifestyle, a family book club in partnership with the JCC of Kansas City that allows parents to be in dialogue about injustice with their children, hosting a panel of Chicago Jewish organizers during Jewish Currents magazine’s fall release party, and facilitating a group dialogue about we can better align our money usage to our personal values. They have been featured in the New York Times, The Rachel Ray Show, The Forward, The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle, and more.
Thanks to the generosity of several funders, the tuition needed for Fellows to participate in the program is subsidized. As an economic justice organization, we are also committed to offering a sliding scale model, with a scale that is based either on the Fellow’s organization’s budget or on the Fellow’s own salary/income (depending on whether the Fellow or the Fellow’s employer is paying). Since the Avodah Justice Fellowship is both a professional and personal development program, we encourage employers, when relevant, to cover all or at least part of the tuition. We can provide additional documentation to help secure professional development time or funding from one’s organization if needed. We do our best to ensure that no accepted candidates are prevented from attending due to financial reasons, including those who engage with social justice work on a personal rather than professional level.
We define social and economic justice work as addressing a wide range of pressing local and domestic issues. This includes: professionals who provide services to low-income individuals or groups of people, who help organize communities to fight for systemic change, who serve at government offices helping constituents in need, who work as a teacher or librarian in low-income or marginalized community, who work at a health clinic; who work on food or environmental justice related issues, who help people make their workplace better, and many more types of work. If this doesn’t sound like your day job, but you are personally involved in justice issues (through activism, organizing, art, sustained volunteer work, serving as a lay leader, etc.) your work can also be defined as justice work – and this still doesn’t cover all the types of social justice work that might qualify you.
Service Corps alumni are now eligible for the Justice Fellowship! We recommend that Service Corps alumni wait 2-3 years after the completion of their service year before applying to the Fellowship. However, this is merely a recommendation and if you would like to discuss your particular case, you can reach out to our team at email@example.com. Please note that there likely will be some programmatic overlap between the two programs!
The Justice Fellowship is New York City is officially back! Apply now to be part of the first returning cohort since 2020.
The Justice Fellowship will be in-person for the 2023-2024 program year as local ordinances allow. The FDA recently approved a new booster vaccine. All Fellows must have the new booster two weeks before the start of the Fellowship. You can review our protocols for the Fellowship here. Please feel free to reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more or discuss any concerns.
Our Recruitment team is here to help you through the application process and will be available every step of the way, from start to finish. We know that everyone’s background and needs are different, and we’re here to answer any questions you may have.