Mitzvah Corps connects Jewish teenagers with opportunities to understand the complexities of the world, and how Judaism empowers them to play an active role in the pursuit of justice.
Teens are yearning for opportunities to make a lasting impact on the world around them, to push the boundaries of what is and explore what could be. Faced with an overwhelmingly complex global community, emerging adults are driven to find creative solutions to the problems that exist, and to take real steps toward positive change.
What it takes to make a real difference is evolving; fundraising, campaigning, and rallying are powerful tools, but in an ever-increasing online environment, over saturated with causes worth fighting for, we believe that teens are inspired by the idea of coming face-to-face with other cultures, ideologies, innovations, and humans from around the world.
Mitzvah Corps focuses on engaging teens in social justice through relationship building, providing opportunities for meaningful interaction, and elevating an understanding of the complex dynamics of a given challenge, and the ways to create unique solutions. We address the systemic causes of the issues we focus on, and the narratives each of our participants are weaving as they journey from the comforts of home to the adventure of something completely new.
Our participants come away with an understanding of how and why a particular issue manifested itself the way it did in a particular community, what current solutions exist and the ripple effects they are having, and the role they can play in the advancement of the cause. They return home able to articulate the powerful experience they’ve had, asking similar questions and seeking answers in their own communities.
Judaism provides a unique lens with which to engage in this type of personal growth, offering a strong foundation to apply both traditional value, and nuanced teachings, in a relevant way to the world around us. Mitzvah Corps is rooted in the idea that Jewish life should be lived actively, both within and outside of existing Jewish institutions, and our teens are able to understand its importance in empowering them to be global citizens.
While teens are seeking powerful immersive experiences, at the same time, the demands of this generation, and constraints on their time and energy, are significant. There is more pressure than ever to be well rounded, maintaining high levels of excellence in extracurricular activities, leadership roles, and academics.
To provide a bridge between these seemingly competitive priorities, Mitzvah Corps offers short term programming at various points throughout each summer, allowing participants the chance to work around their demanding schedules, and take even just days to travel, immerse themselves in another culture, gain invaluable experiential education, earn community service hours, and make a real difference in the world.
In order to maximize the impact that an experience can have in such a short time, we carefully select partnerships with individuals and organizations that share our vision and values, develop a relevant and holistic supplemental educational curriculum, and invest in the creation of diverse communities.
Participants may join Mitzvah Corps for a single program, or return summer after summer. They may return as actively engaged members of a Jewish community, or to an otherwise secular environment. They’ll go to school, or continue to travel, becoming lawyers or restauranteurs, professional athletes or teachers. The diversity in where our alumni go after a Mitzvah Corps experience is as vital as where they’ve come from, but they each go home with the ability to integrate all they’ve gained into the next steps of their journey.