The Jewish Service Corps

Frequently Asked Questions

JOC Bayit

The Jewish Service Corps JOC Bayit is an intentional communal living home in New York City specifically for self-identified Jews of Color. We know that all too often, the Jewish community does not provide enough opportunities designed to specifically develop the leadership of Jews of Color and create a pipeline of JOC leaders. The JOC Bayit was designed to offer a JOC-only space within the Jewish Service Corps that can nurture the leadership of Jews of Color.

What does JOC mean?

JOC is an acronym for Jews of Color, an umbrella term for community members who self-identify as Black or African American, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, non-White Latinx, Native American or Alaska Native, , biracial, and/or multi-racial Jews.

Note: If you’re feeling unsure of whether the JOC Bayit is the right place to spend your service year or just want to talk through this piece, you can reach out to our JOC Bayit Program Manager Judi at jocbayit@avodah.net.

Why did we create a specific Bayit for JOCs? 

We heard from some of our JOC alumni and participants that living communally with predominantly white Jews can be challenging and overwhelming and that this complicates the communal living aspect of the Jewish Service Corps that is so central to the experience of Avodah. The JOC Bayit is a space where JOC CMs are able to focus their energy on building community, fostering a deeper connection to Jewishness, practicing self- and community-care, engaging in leadership development and identity formation, and celebrating what it means to be a Jew of Color. If you’re a Jew of Color and interested in living in a JOC-only space while completing your service year, the JOC Bayit may be right for you!

If I’m a JOC and I’m accepted to the Jewish Service Corps, do I have to live in the JOC Bayit?

Definitely not! We encourage you to consider if the JOC Bayit would be meaningful for you, but you’re welcome to apply for any city, including the NYC Bayit that is not JOC specific. We are also working to make sure that any targeted programmatic offerings available to JOCs in the JOC Bayit are available across our program cities.

Will the programming in the JOC Bayit be the same as the rest of the Jewish Service Corps cohort?

Usually, yes! Our NYC Program Director and JOC Bayit Program Manager work together to facilitate programming across the full NYC cohort. That being said, the JOC Bayit also allows for some programming opportunities that are specifically targeted to JOCs. Sometimes, this just means having a caucus space within a program. Otherwise, this may include programming around: navigating the leadership challenges of being a JOC in a majority white organization, personal ecology, developing an empowered  JOC identity, and community-building events in collaboration with local or regional JOC-led organizations.

What’s the relationship between the JOC Bayit and the rest of the NYC cohort?

A close one! If you live in the JOC Bayit, you will still be part of the broader NYC cohort, and have opportunities to be in community both with the other Corps Members in your Bayit, and across the full cohort. We have two NYC Program Staff Members, our NYC Program Director and JOC Bayit Program Manager, who work together to facilitate programming and deep community building. 

Is there a separate application process for the JOC Bayit?

Nope! Just make sure to indicate your interest in the JOC Bayit during your application. In your interview with a Program Director, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss your interest in the JOC Bayit more.

Should Sephardi and Mizrahi applicants apply for the JOC Bayit?

It depends! If you’re Sephardi and/or Mizrahi and identify as a JOC based on the above definition, you may want to consider applying for the JOC Bayit. If you’re unsure of whether you qualify, please feel free to reach out to our JOC Program Manager at jocbayit@avodah.net.

What if I’m an LGBTQ JOC; will this be a space for me?

We sure hope so! Across our Service Corps, approximately 50% of our participants year-to-year identify as being a part of the LGBTQ community year to year. Sometimes, that number can be as high as 75% in particular cohorts. We strongly encourage queer Jews of Color to apply!

Can you be a POC but not a JOC to be a part of the JOC Bayit?

Applicants do not have to be Jewish to participate in the Service Corps, but the JOC Bayit will be geared towards supporting the unique needs of Jews of Color. We welcome all to apply, however, priority will be given to self-identified Jews of Color.

Is the JOC Bayit tokenizing?

This is an important and complicated question with no easy answer. The JOC Bayit is an initiative that was developed by Jews of Color, based on the feedback of Jews of Color, with the specific goal of creating leadership development opportunities for young social justice-oriented Jews of Color. That being said, the honest answer is that we know this is ongoing, imperfect work—and work that comes with high stakes for the potential of causing harm. We welcome feedback from our participants, alumni, and other community members as we continuously work to ensure that JOC spaces in the Service Corps are safe, supportive, and impactful.

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.