The Jewish Service Corps

Frequently Asked Questions

Communal Living

Life within the Bayit (communal home) is both joyous and challenging, meaningful and complicated. This is where you’ll wrestle together with the hard questions of social justice work, learn from a diverse set of perspectives and backgrounds, negotiate creating a community that can contain a diverse set of Jewish practices and observance levels, and move through the inherent conflict that can arise from creating authentic community. Corps Members don’t have to worry about paying rent or utility bills, or even the challenges that come from trying to do chores, cook meals, and run errands alone. Living communally means you’ll share yummy meals, make plans to explore the city together, plug into local activism, celebrate Jewish holidays and life, invest deeply in community-care, and prioritize joy, relationship, and nourishment. To make it all work, you’ll spend time in orientation and ongoing programming digging deep into community building, conflict resolution, anti-oppression training, and pluralism.

Are Avodah houses furnished?

They sure are! And they have all the dishes, pots, pans, cleaning supplies, and everything else you’ll need to run a household, including a kosher kitchen. Before your year begins, you will receive a packing list and advice that will help your planning.

Will I have to share a room?

We’re excited to share that for the upcoming service year, we have more singles available in each Bayit than in past years! That being said, you should be prepared to share a room for all or part of the program year. During orientation, you will be assigned a temporary room. Before your placement work begins, each household then decides how to divide up the living space during a facilitated rooming conversation. Corps Members with medical or accessibility needs will be prioritized during these conversations. If you have questions or concerns about rooming, please reach out to our Recruitment Director, Emily, at apply@avodah.net.

Will my house be in a safe neighborhood?

We work to provide the safest living situations possible. That being said, you’ll be living in a city environment where—like in most city environments —conditions of poverty can lead to crime and levels of safety can be unpredictable. Our staff will provide resources for dealing with crime prevention and safety, and you’ll be living in a community where you and your housemates will help each other use caution. Avodah also has a robust Emergency Action Plan to prepare for possible scenarios related to safety (also including medical emergencies, inclement weather, maintenance emergencies, and more) and prioritize Corps Member safety. During orientation, Corps Members will learn about our protocols and gain access to important tips and resources (including alternatives to calling the police).

What kind of commitments to the community are required?

Living in community requires a commitment of time and energy. Since you’re working full-time and attending evening and weekend programs, you must make sure you are also able to commit time to living in community by participating in communal meals, Shabbat celebrations, and regular house meetings. That might sound like a lot of effort (it is!), but you’ll find that putting in that time for community is one of the most meaningful parts of your Avodah experience. Many of our Corps Members choose to continue living together after the service year ends!

How many Corps Members live in each city?

In the ‘24-25 program year, we are planning on 11-13 Corps Members in Chicago, 9-12 Corps Members in New Orleans, 15 Corps Members in New York City, and 13 Corps Members in Washington, DC. If you are only interested in a particular city, we strongly recommend applying early.

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.