The Jewish Service Corps

Frequently Asked Questions

Bayit Accessibility

When you join the Service Corps, you’ll live in a bayit (communal home). The following bayit-specific information pertains to the properties that we are currently renting for use by program participants. This information is subject to change, as we often don’t learn whether we are invited to renew our leases until late spring.

Learn more about living communally in Avodah.

Single Bedrooms

We hope to be able to provide a single room to anyone who needs it, however, this is dependent upon the needs of everyone in the cohort. Some cities have more singles available than others.

Chicago: 6 single rooms, 3 double rooms

DC: 5 single rooms, 4 double rooms

New Orleans: 3 single rooms, 3 double rooms

New York City: 11 single rooms, 2 double rooms

During Service Corps orientation, each cohort has a facilitated conversation about needs regarding bedrooms and will determine together who will start the year in each room. For those in single bedrooms, they may occasionally be asked to temporarily move into another bedroom to allow for COVID quarantines and isolations.

Animals in the Batim

Service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (A.D.A.) are always allowed in the bayit. As a courtesy to your housemates and our landlords, we ask that you let us know in advance that you will be bringing an animal.

We also work with Corps Members who have Emotional Support Animals (E.S.A.) to determine if it possible to bring the E.S.A. to the bayit. We strive to make this possible, and will consider it along with other access needs such as housemates with severe allergies or upon receiving multiple E.S.A requests in one cohort (such that the units could not hold that many animals). When challenges arise, we will work with all concerned parties to try to find a way to meet all needs. Because we do not always know about allergies far in advance, we cannot guarantee that an E.S.A. will be permitted. To help mitigate minor allergies, we have HEPA filters and provide specialty pet dander vacuums.

In the event that a request to bring an E.S.A. to the bayit is approved, per city law, proper documentation will be needed prior to moving in (we need to provide this to landlords). If the animal causes damage to the physical house, the landlord has the right to no longer allow it in the residence and Avodah has the right to deduct the cost of the damages from the Corps Member’s exit stipend.

Chicago Bayit

Entrance: There are 2 steps from the sidewalk to the walkway and 3 tall steps to get into the bayit. There are no railings available. The front door is heavy and has a knob. It requires two hands to open: one to turn the key and one to turn the door knob.

Inside the bayit:

The kitchens, primary common spaces, and half the bedrooms are on the first floor. The unit’s laundry machines are in the basement, which is down one flight of stairs. There are railings, and the staircase turns at 90 degrees in the middle. 

There are bathrooms on both floors, although none of the bathrooms are A.D.A. compliant.

The city and surrounding area:

Below freezing temperatures for half of the year makes navigating the city difficult for anyone who struggles to traverse ice or snow.

All Chicago buses and railcars are designed to be wheelchair accessible. 70% of train stations are wheelchair accessible. You can find more info on public transit accessibility at www.transitchicago.com/accessibility 

DC Bayit

Entrance

It’s 4 steps (with railings on both sides), a landing with ample room, and then 7 steps (with a railing on one side and a ledge on the other). Additionally, there is a 6″-9″ lip on the doorway from the front porch to inside. The front door is a number keypad with a lever handle.

To enter via the back is 5 steps with a railing on both sides, but requires traversing uneven ground to get to the steps. There’s also a pet flap for a service animal or Emotional Support Animal (ESA) to access the fenced backyard.

Inside the bayit:

There is one ground-level bedroom and bathroom. Although the shower is quite small and has a lip to get in, the bathroom could be navigated by folks with many mobility disabilities.

All common spaces are on the ground level, although the area with the kitchen and living room is 1 step up from the floor that you enter on. Floors are hardwood with minimal bumps.

The city and surrounding area:

The neighborhood around the house has well-maintained sidewalks and curb cuts, which is great for mobility. There aren’t any “press button to walk” crosswalks. On the block is the bus stop for a major route, a USPS dropbox, a park, and a public pool. Many amenities are within easy access of the major bus route – including a grocery store. 

All WMATA buses and railcars are wheelchair accessible. While all metro stations are designed to be wheelchair accessible, elevators are frequently out of service. We recommend you to sign up for alerts of which stations are currently non-wheelchair accessible due to elevator outages. WMATA also offers a shared-ride, door-to-door, paratransit service, MetroAccess, for people who cannot independently use the accessible bus and/or rail system due to a disability. Check out the WMATA accessibility webpage for additional details and eligibility.

New Orleans Bayit

Entrance and outside:

There are 6 steps to get from the sidewalk to the front door, with another small lip to get over the threshold. The front door is a thumb-lever. It requires two hands to open: one to turn the key and one to turn the door knob. There are also 2 side entrances, each with 3 steps.

There is a concrete patio outside that can be used for level ground in the backyard. The rest of the backyard is grass.

Inside the bayit:

There are 3 separate units in this building, 2 of them on the ground floor and 1 that is up a flight of stairs, about 16 steps. The inside staircases have railings. Each unit has a single, a double, a bathroom, and a kitchen. The main dining room and living room are located on the ground floor and have a lot of room to navigate around furniture.

Flooring is old hardwood or linoleum.

Bathrooms have handles in the showers and some bathrooms are quite large. However, they are not in line with A.D.A standards.

Lighting sources vary by room. All rooms benefit from natural light.

There are parts of the house that are very quiet, and traditionally one of the common rooms has been designated as a quiet room.

The guest bedroom and laundry room are located in an annex building accessible by concrete in the backyard and there are no stairs. The doors are narrow.

The city and surrounding area:

By and large, New Orleans is a difficult city for mobility accessibility: streets are cracked up and full of pot holes and houses are raised to prevent flooding. The street and sidewalk immediately in front of the bayit is smooth, but traveling around the city is difficult. There are buttons for crossing at the busiest intersections near the bayit, but they aren’t the ones that vocalize. Street crossings have curb cuts, and the city is in the process of installing the tactile bumps. The neighborhood is pretty quiet. 

Learn about NORTA’s accessibility standards and their paratransit option on their accessibility webpage. The nearest bus stop is on top of an oak tree that has broken up the sidewalk. No bench, just a sign. 

Grocery shopping: 15 min walking distance to closest, and another store via a 10 min streetcar.

New York City Bayit

Entrance:

There is a small lip from the sidewalk to the walkway, followed by a plateau and a stoop consisting of 5 steps with a railing on each side. The door knob is a lever with a keypad. We rent two apartments, one that is up 1 flight of stairs and the other is up 2 flights of stairs, which have railings on one side. Inside, the apartment doors are doublewide metal doors. The doorbell has a screen monitor and is sound-based.

Alternatively, there is an entrance to the basement that is down several stairs that uses a key, as opposed to a touchpad.

Firescapes are typical metal New York fire escapes.

Inside the bayit:

Each apartment has one level with smooth hardwood floors. All doorknobs are levers. The hallways and bathrooms are tight. Bathrooms do not meet A.D.A standards. 

The bedrooms have varying levels of natural light. Bedrooms that are closer to the common spaces have louder noise levels and two bedrooms in each apartment have a door between them, which makes noise cancellation harder.

The common spaces are lit with bright white light and a number of less harsh lamps. 

The city and surrounding area:

Learn about the accessibility standards of MTA and their paratransit options on their accessibility webpage. Please note that the New York Subway is famously inaccessible, although the city has many, many disabled folks who navigate the city every day. We encourage you to do close research on the system’s ability to accommodate your needs.

You can hear the street sounds quite well from inside the apartment, but luckily it’s a residential street without much traffic. It’s a typical noise level for a New York apartment.

The backyard is gravel. It’s too small for most pets to run in, but there is a dog park that is 5-minute walk away.

Still have questions?

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 they’re here to answer any questions you may have.