Summer Staff Overview

Mitzvah Corps provides social justice experiences for teens, helping them to understand the complexities of the world and the ways in which Judaism empowers them to be agents of change. We connect teens with communities around the world to engage in deep, holistic, social justice initiatives. We go beyond a traditional volunteering, working with innovative partners, supplemented by a curriculum designed to address the real issues inherent in volunteer travel.

The success of each program relies on a strong, dynamic, and experienced staff team. Mitzvah Corps staff members are responsible, knowledgeable, creative, and bring a strong energy to the group. They thrive in environments that are immersive, and require quick thinking, innovation, flexibility, and the ability to take initiative. They have experience overseeing the emotional, physical and mental health, happiness, and well being of others, and are willing and excited to be "on duty" 24/7 for the duration of their program. We hire people who seek to develop meaningful relationships with one another and the teens, to be mentors, educators, adventurers, and leaders in new and fascinating places.

Summer Staff Structure

Mitzvah Corps programs are led by three or four staff members, with a Program Director supervising the team.

All Mitzvah Corps program leaders are considered members of the program’s leadership team. The team will be given all necessary information regarding the program’s operational foundation, and will be given a high degree of independence and responsibility to create and implement additional educational, social, and community building programming. All program leaders must have demonstrated strong personal leadership skills, the ability to take initiative, the capacity to handle multiple ongoing tasks in an ever-changing environment, and excellence at working on a team.

To apply to staff a Mitzvah Corps experience for Summer 2021, please complete our staff application. For more information, email mitzvahcorps@urj.orgAt this time, we have no year-round job openings.

The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) is committed to the principles and practices of equal employment opportunity. The URJ does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, sex, gender identity, age, marital status, national origin, veteran status, or non-job related physical/mental handicap. The URJ complies with state, local, and federal regulations relevant thereto. 

At a Glance

Dates: Summer 2021 Dates TBD
Length: 29 days
Issue Focus: Community Empowerment
Community Service Hours: 160
Cost: Summer 2021 Rates TBD (2020 Rates: $4400 - Early bird before January 2, 2020; $4700 - Full Tuition)
Mitzvah Corps is open to all rising 10th - graduating 12th graders.

Description and Qualifications

Essential Functions

Mitzvah Corps program leaders will be mentoring and interacting with teens throughout the immersive, intensive experience. They all must have the flexibility and creativity to navigate a variety of situations, environments, settings, and challenges, while maintaining a positive attitude, and role model this type of leadership for teens. All program leaders must have demonstrated the ability to mentor, educate, empower, inspire, set limits, and manage appropriate boundaries with teens.

Essential functions include, but are not limited to: carrying out health, safety, and security protocols; program administration, financial management, summer communications, and on-site logistics; communication with families before and during the program; communication with Mitzvah Corps directors; participation in all aspects of the program alongside teens; ensuring high standards of programming; ensuring that Mitzvah Corps and Jewish values are present and intentionally addressed throughout all aspects of the program.

Specific Requirements

All Mitzvah Corps program leaders must:

  • Have at least 2 seasons (summer or academic year) of experience as a staff member:
    • Working with teens in an immersive, residential setting (camp, overnight NFTY event, etc).
    • Creating and implementing Reform Jewish education for teens.
    • In the realm of social justice, with experience in their program’s issue focus preferred.
  • Have been directly responsible for the health and safety of others in a residential setting.
  • Have experience living, studying, or traveling outside of the United States.
  • Be able to participate in the heavily physical demands of the program including, but not limited to, hiking, extensive walking, and physical labor.
  • Function successfully on 5-6 hours of sleep per night for the duration of their program.
  • Function successfully outdoors, in the climate of their program.
  • Function successfully as part of a staff team, and large group, for the duration of their program, without guaranteed time off.
  • Possess excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Possess the ability to build and maintain appropriate relationships with teenagers.
  • Possess the ability to remain calm and make swift decisions in emergencies.
  • Possess a valid driver’s license and be able and willing to drive teen participants.
  • Be at least 21 years of age or older at the commencement of their program.
  • Be eligible to work legally in the United States.
  • Speak, write, and read English fluently.
  • Have certification in CPR/First Aid/AED (at their own expense) prior to the start of the program.
  • Pass a background check and driving report.

Ideal Candidates

The ideal Mitzvah Corps program leader will possess:

  • A passion for engaging, working with, and mentoring teens from a wide variety of backgrounds.
  • Experience traveling with a group.
  • Knowledge of the social justice issue that their program will address.
  • Significant experience working with teens in an immersive, Jewish setting.
  • Patience, flexibility, self-confidence, and humility in a dynamic, team-oriented work environment.
  • A comfort with, and ability to, assess risk and make smart decisions regarding the health, safety, security, and overall well-being of the entire group.
  • Enthusiasm for having a high level of independence and responsibility in the creation and implementation of a holistic curriculum for teens.
  • The ability to intuitively understand, and articulate, Mitzvah Corps’ values, and to seamlessly integrate Mitzvah Corps’ language and philosophy into the program.


Mitzvah Corps program leaders receive a salary reflective of their level of education, length of the program and professional experience.

On top of the salary, Mitzvah Corps covers all reasonable travel expenses, including travel to/from the program, meals, and housing accommodations throughout the duration of the program.

Frequently Asked Questions

How old do I have to be to staff the Urban Mitzvah Corps program?
Because all Mitzvah Corps staff members must be able and willing to drive participants, and therefore covered under URJ insurance, they must be at least 21 years of age. Additionally, Mitzvah Corps staff are seasoned leaders, with experience in social justice, immersive teen programming, and oversight of health, safety, and security. Please refer to the job description for more detail.

What is the process for applying to work at Mitzvah Corps?
Once we have received your completed application, the hiring process is as follows:

  • Applicants who meet our minimum qualifications will be contacted for an initial phone interview. This will take approximately 30 minutes, and will both give our team a chance to get to know you, and you a chance to ask any additional questions about Mitzvah Corps that you may have.
  • After the informational interview and the submission of your reference referral forms, if we feel that you would be a good match with one of our program sites, we will set up a second interview with at least two members of our North American staff team.
  • Positions will be offered in late March and early April; all applications that are received after that time frame will be considered on a space available basis.

What happens if I am hired to work at Mitzvah Corps?
You will receive a contract, as well as a number of information forms (I-9, W-4, etc) that we will need to have on file prior to the summer. You will be introduced to your staff team, and provided an applicable timeline and schedule of onboarding and pre-summer preparation. You will also be provided with travel parameters to and from your program site; the Mitzvah Corps staff handles all airfare and train ticket bookings, so please do not purchase your own travel.

How is compensation determined?
Mitzvah Corps program leaders receive a salary reflective of their level of education, length of the program and professional experience. We use a salary scale to determine the offer for each candidate, and offer competitive salaries that are evaluated to ensure they are reflective of the required work and expertise of our staff; we do not negotiate salaries. On top of the salary, Mitzvah Corps covers all reasonable travel expenses, including travel to/from the program and meals and housing accommodations throughout the duration of the program.

When do I get paid?
Staff are generally paid upon completion of the program.

Will I have time/days off?
Because Mitzvah Corps programs are relatively short, and the programs are immersive and require specific staff-to-participant ratios, we cannot guarantee time off, and staff are rarely, if ever, granted traditional 24 hour days off. Each staff team is responsible for communicating with one another about the team’s needs, and then creating a schedule of hours or blocks of time for individuals to take off that meet the needs of the specific program. Examples may include: sleeping through breakfast, taking an hour break during the day, etc.

Will I have to attend a staff orientation?
Each staff team will have several team meetings over the phone/Skype prior to the beginning of the summer with the Mitzvah Corps team, and arrive on site approximately 2-3 days before the teens in order to have an in-person preparation and training time.

What if I am a vegetarian or have diet restrictions?
Dietary restrictions can be accommodated. Please advise the Mitzvah Corps North American team of any restrictions well in advance of the summer.

What are the staff sleeping arrangements?
Mitzvah Corps staff sleep in rooms adjacent to teens of the same self-identifying gender. Staff will be housed in single or shared rooms; room assignments vary and are dependent upon the specific accommodations.

What can I expect from my experience on staff at Mitzvah Corps?
Being on staff at any residential program is perhaps the most difficult and most fulfilling job you will ever have. A summer with Mitzvah Corps will be challenging, both physically and emotionally, but most of all, it will be fun! As a staff member at Mitzvah Corps, you will have the opportunity to experience life in our unique community and positively impact the lives of participants.

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