The Jewish Service Corps

Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19

Throughout the pandemic, we have been able to continue to run the Service Corps by consulting with a team of medical consultants who help us figure out ways to best mitigate the risk of exposure to, and transmission of, COVID-19. In consultation with our medical advisors, as the COVID-19 Vaccine is now widely available to all Americans ages 12 and up, and all members of the 2023-2024 Cohort have been fully vaccinated, we have significantly revised our risk mitigation protocols to transition from a proactive restrictive protocol to a protocol where the majority of decisions are Bayit decisions.

This year, many of our Corps Members are going into work, while some continue to work virtually from home, or on a hybrid model. This is dependent on the placement organization’s needs, as well as the Corps Member’s preference. Our programming model also continues to be a hybrid model that combines in-person programs as well as national programming over Zoom.

We are requiring:

  1. All Corps Members must be up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations.* Whenever additional boosters are recommended by the CDC, all Corps Members must receive the additional booster within one month of becoming eligible (assuming boosted doses are available in their city);
  2. All Corps Members must follow city, state, federal and CDC guidelines for the general public. Corps Members will decide as a community if there are areas where they would like to be more strict than CDC guidelines;
  3. In the event of a need to quarantine or isolate (due to symptoms, close contact with someone who has tested positive, or testing positive) all quarantines or isolations will be bedroom quarantines/isolations in the Avodah Bayit. Avodah staff will provide guidance and support for navigating this. Please note that some Corps Members share bedrooms, and you will need to occasionally rearrange bedrooms to allow quarantining/isolating housemates to have a single for the duration of their quarantine/isolation. Avodah is not able to provide financial support for quarantine and isolations out of Bayit.

During any communicable disease outbreak, like the ongoing Covid pandemic, communal living is a higher-risk environment for disease transmission compared to an individual living alone or with one or two housemates. We recommend that prospective applicants discuss with their medical provider if this higher risk environment will meet their medical needs. Specifically, we strongly recommend all applicants consider if living in a house with 10+ housemates who are all following the CDC’s guidance for the general public is the right decision for them medically. Avodah cannot guarantee that cohorts will agree to abide by COVID protocols that are stricter than the CDC’s guidelines for the general public. That being said, we do encourage Corps Members to make decisions around Covid-19 through a disability justice framework that takes into account the accessibility needs of their housemates.

Avodah’s COVID protocol is a living protocol. It is subject to change as circumstances and best practices change. We will continue to consult with our medical advisors when necessary and provide guidance to our Corps Members around best practices and resources to support them in making collective decisions about COVID.

*Avodah is committed to the full inclusion of all qualified individuals in the Service Corps. While Corps Members are required to be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, program participants who are unable to be vaccinated because of a disability, relevant medical condition, or sincerely-held religious beliefs may request, and Avodah will provide, reasonable accommodations.

What additional support is in place for Corps Members?

Avodah has an Economic Access Fund to provide a safety net to Corps Members who don’t have access to one. Corps Members can apply to the Economic Access Fund for a variety of unexpected expenses such medication, copays, transportation for a visit home, work clothes, winter supplies, etc. In addition, we are aware of the increased strain on mental health that many individuals are feeling right now. We have contracted with a mental health professional to fill the role of National Mentor Health Advisor to provide support and programming for Corps Members on a regular basis.

Does Covid-19 change the application process at all?

Nope!  Our alumni interviews, program director interviews, and placement organization interviews already take place over phone or video, so the application process will run as usual. Interviews are a great opportunity to learn more about what the current year looks like, and to learn which positions for next year we anticipate will require in-person work.  

Help! I still have questions and concerns.

That’s totally understandable – things are still confusing and stressful right now! We are here to support you every step of the way during your application process. Please reach out to our Recruitment Director, Emily, with any questions or to set up some time to chat at apply@avodah.net.

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.