How will teens get to and from New Jersey?
Participants who do not live within driving distance of New Brunswick, New Jersey should plan to either fly or take the train to Newark International Airport (EWR), where they will be greeted by Mitzvah Corps staff and accompanied back to the program. Detailed instructions on booking travel will be provided upon registration. Travel to and from New Jersey is not included in the program tuition.
What if a participant needs to travel as an unaccompanied minor?
Domestic carriers have varying regulations regarding unaccompanied minors (read specific policies and fees of major domestic carriers Southwest, United, Delta, American, and JetBlue). Please refer to the protocol of the chosen airline, and notify Mitzvah Corps in advance of the program so that we can provide the contact information for the staff member who will greet the teen upon their arrival, and coordinate a smooth travel experience.
Are vaccinations required for participation on Mitzvah Corps?
The Union for Reform Judaism requires that all camp and travel program participants, staff and faculty must be immunized. Medical exemptions are granted in rare cases; please contact us regarding any potential exemptions prior to registration. For more information, please refer to the URJ Policy Statement on Vaccine Status.
What are the physical requirements for participation on this program?
Urban Mitzvah Corps New Jersey (UMC) requires light physical activity (walking/jogging with kids, spending long periods of time standing, etc). While, as with all Mitzvah Corps programs, participants are expected to be independent and not require one-on-one supervision, this program does not have any specific physical requirements. Currently, UMC is not ADA compliant.
Will participants receive documentation of community service?
Yes! Upon completion, participants will receive documentation for 160 hours of community service. Please note that this number is inclusive of all social justice community engagement; participants who are looking to document specific, traditional direct service hours should contact Mitzvah Corps in advance with any questions.
What are the housing accommodations like in New Jersey?
Participants and staff reside in the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority house next to Rutgers University's New Brunswick campus during the program. This three-story house is air conditioned and includes an industrial kitchen, smaller kitchenette, large dining room, and common room space, as well as numerous bedrooms that sleep 2-4 participants, and bathrooms on each floor. Bed linens and pillows are not provided, and there are laundry facilities available for use free of charge.
What kind of clothing should participants pack for Mitzvah Corps?
Urban Mitzvah Corps New Jersey participants should pack clothes that are informal, comfortable, and allow them the ability to be physically active; this includes close-toed shoes, which are required at all of the worksites. They will spend time both in air conditioned indoor locations, as well as in the outdoor heat and humidity. Many of the volunteering locations involve moving around, playing games, cooking, and more! Additionally, each participant should also bring at least one "nice/professional" outfit for Shabbat at a local congregation, or meetings with legislative professionals.
The Phi Sigma Sigma house is air conditioned, so participants can dress comfortably while at home. Participants should bring their own bedding, toiletries, and personal items. Laundry facilities are available for use, free of charge.
How will laundry get done?
The house has several washing machines and dryers that are available to the participants free of charge, and laundry detergent is provided.
Do teens need spending money?
The tuition covers all meals, trips, and special programs. Some families may wish to send extra money with their teen to cover other food or snacks eaten at non-meal times, gifts purchased while on trips, and other discretionary items. Anywhere from $30 to $40 per week should be sufficient. The participants will be responsible for their own money. There are ATM machines on campus.
Are visitors permitted at Urban Mitzvah Corps New Jersey?
Visitors are only permitted at specific, pre-determined times, and the information is available prior to each summer. In order to take a teen off site during these pre-determined times, any non parent or guardian visitors must be 21 years or older, and a parent must have pre-designated that person as being allowed to do so. If a participant’s family wishes to take their teen offsite at any other time, they must get approval in advance from an Urban Mitzvah Corps New Jersey Program Leader, in consultation with the Mitzvah Corps Directors.
How does Mitzvah Corps handle teens who become ill or injured?
The participants’ health and safety is our primary concern during the summer. In all instances where the health of a teen is in question, parents/guardians will be contacted.
The Mitzvah Corps staff are First Aid/AED and CPR certified, and will carry a variety of supplies and over-the-counter medications at all times; parents/guardians have the option to give permission for the staff to administer these medications while completing the health history forms.
If a teen needs medical attention beyond what can be provided by the staff, or there in event of an emergency, the group always has access to quality professional care.
Do teens have to be affiliated with NFTY-GER to participate in Urban Mitzvah Corps New Jersey?
No! Though UMC's history is rooted in NFTY-GER (the North American Federation of Temple Youth's Garden Empire Region, or Reform Jewish youth group in the New Jersey area), we are very excited to be a part of the suite of Mitzvah Corps programs. We have found over the years, that having participants from across North America only brings new perspectives and a broader outlook to the participants.
How do meals work? We keep a fully stocked kitchen with plenty of options for meals and snacks. There are cold breakfast options available to the participants each morning, and each teens is responsible for preparing and packing themselves a bagged lunch to each on their job site during the day. Dinners are eaten as hot meals together as a community, and prepared by the professional kitchen staff at the house.