We work to create a pluralistic Jewish community rooted in a shared commitment to promoting social and economic justice in our communities and in America. We strive for our community to be a safe and supportive space for all who join it, a space that embraces diverse expressions of religious practice, level of Jewish knowledge, racial identity, gender identity, and sexual orientation, and the many facets that represent our whole selves. And we commit ourselves to updating this language as the Avodah community continues to evolve.
Though we consider antipoverty work an obligation, we strive to approach this work with a sense of joy. We hope to build a more joyful world in which all Americans are able to meet their physical, spiritual and material needs. We’re committed to making the journey towards this vision a joyful experience.
Jewish tradition teaches that partners are critical to our ability to understand and act thoughtfully. We cannot fulfill our mission without partnership and collaborating. We seek to collaborate widely, engage all of our stakeholders, and establish new partnerships whenever possible. We must always seek out those whose input will make this endeavor stronger.
Learning, work, and social change require community. No one of us can make social change on our own. We need a tight network of organized thought-partners with whom we can act. We also need people who help nourish our soul—celebrating life, holidays and victories together, while also mourning defeats and losses. We build and nurture the Avodah community so that we can create social change with others, while sustaining ourselves in the process.
“Tzedek, tzedek tirdof – justice, justice shall you pursue. (Numbers 16:20)” Our tradition requires us to pursue justice. We do so by working to address both the effects and root causes of poverty and injustice. We also strive to create a just environment for all Avodah stakeholders, as we believe that the ways we pursue justice must themselves be just.
To maximize our impact combating the causes and effects of poverty, we must strive for excellence in our work and in our outcomes. We aspire to be considered a role model for immersive Jewish service learning experiences. We aim to model the best practices in our field to lead the Jewish community to do high impact anti-poverty work that has a long-term positive effect, using our analyses of poverty and our understanding of Jewish values as a guide.
We hold each other accountable to “walk our talk.” We are as invested in the success of others—within the Avodah community as well as in the broader Jewish social justice community—as we are in our own success. We are communicative and accountable to participants, alumni, stakeholders, funders, and colleagues.
Jewish tradition teaches that we are responsible regardless of whether an act is intentional or inadvertent. Avodah strives to make principled decisions in all cases, from where we source our office supplies to how we treat our stakeholders. No act is too small to imbue with integrity and goodwill. We hold ourselves to high standards, expecting honest communication, assuming goodwill, and approaching one another and the world with generosity.