Avodah San Diego

In August 2021, Avodah launched our sixth program city in San Diego. Avodah San Diego is our first site on the West Coast and we’re thrilled to be building partnerships and making real change on issues including immigration, refugee and asylum seeker assistance, homelessness, criminal justice reform, and much more.

Avodah San Diego is a collaboration between Avodah and Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFS), one of San Diego’s oldest and most impactful human service agencies. We’re grateful to be in partnership with JFS, which provides a range of services: from hunger and homelessness, to family violence, to immigration. In fact, JFS is a core partner of the Rapid Response Network, a dynamic collaboration between human rights and service organizations and attorneys and advocates, dedicated to aiding immigrants and their families in the San Diego border region, the largest land border crossing in the world.

Our Expansion to San Diego

When Avodah journeyed to the U.S./Mexico border in 2018 with a delegation of 17 Jewish organizations, we witnessed the devastation of our broken immigration system firsthand.

At the border, we visited detention centers with barbed wires and prison cells, severe lack of due-process, children separated from their families, denial of basic necessities, and people, who were desperately trying to seek legal asylum in the U.S. being met with the most inhumane conditions. This experience was incredibly moving and activating. We returned with a sense of urgency to create a more just system and we knew Avodah could play a role.

San Diego is the largest land border crossing in the world and has been a highly active location for deportations, human rights violations, and abuse. We know creating change takes time and investment. It takes a willingness to continue to work on solutions, even when the topic of immigration cycles out of the news headlines. In launching Avodah San Diego, we plan to build a pipeline of leaders in the region who will enhance the Jewish community’s work on this issue, while also fighting the causes and effects of poverty throughout the region in all of our issue areas including homelessness, hunger, criminal justice reform, climate justice, education, healthcare access, and more.

Since Avodah’s founding in 1998, over 1,400 Corps Members have served at nearly 300 social service agencies, adding over $22 million in capacity and assisting more than 700,000 individuals facing the challenges of poverty. We are excited and prepared to grow our work to the West Coast and to be in partnership with the top human service organizations in the region.

“This hard work is a Jewish calling. And the work, by its very nature, draws out meaningful Jewish questions and faith engagement. Avodah connects the dots between Jewish identity and purposeful endeavors. What could be more valuable to the Jewish world today?”

—Rabbi Alexis Berk, Temple Solel, Cardiff by the Sea

Headshot of Claudia Ehrlich

Claudia Ehrlich is Avodah’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, San Diego.

In this newly created role, Claudia will be launching Avodah’s presence and building a sustainable culture of philanthropy for the organization in collaboration with key stakeholders. In doing so, Avodah will have a profound, long-term impact on local antipoverty nonprofits and their clients, the San Diego Jewish community, and the young Jewish adults who participate in the gold-standard leadership development program.

Claudia holds a B.A. in Social Sciences from UC Berkeley and an M.B.A. from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. She is a first-generation American raised by Egyptian Jewish parents in a French- and Arabic-speaking home. Despite being a San Diegan – native, she doesn’t surf or have a great tan. In her spare time, you can find her doing pilates, hiking, or geeking out over philanthropy and healthy eating.

You can reach Claudia at [email protected] or (858) 480-9788.

Headshot of Anna Worrell

Anna Worrell is Avodah’s San Diego Program Director.

Through her education and experience, Anna Worrell has worked in various sectors including substance use prevention, community engagement, victim/survivor services and reentry services for previously incarcerated individuals. She holds a Master of Social Work degree with a Certificate in Global Human Rights from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Health Education and Health Promotion degree with a Special Award for Diversity Education from CSU Chico.

In a volunteer capacity, Anna holds a seat on her synagogue’s social action committee, leads a book club designed to provide a broadened understanding of various cultures, experiences, and historical context; and acts as an ambassador for the Orange County Jewish Coalition for Refugees (OCJCR).

She has a passion for exploring the interconnectedness of social issues and continuously works to address their root causes in order to create healing. She values open and productive dialogues in difficult conversations and is committed to creating spaces where all feel appreciated for their voice and perspective. In her spare time, Anna can be found playing with her two cats, spending time with family, driving through the mountains, and buying too many house plants.

You can reach Anna at [email protected] or 619-293-5016.

2021-2022 San Diego Corps Members

  • Jaelyn B.

    CAT Case Manager

    San Diego Youth Services

  • Noa G.

    Center for Jewish Care Program Support Specialist

    Jewish Family Service of San Diego

  • Mackenzie M.

    Border Rights Project

    Al Otro Lado

  • Naomi R.

    Volunteer Coordinator and System Navigator

    Dreams for Change

  • Rose R.

    CAT Case Manager

    San Diego Youth Services

  • Rachel S.

    Border Rights Project

    Al Otro Lado

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