Sunday, September 11, 2016

What is the JDC?


I know I'm double dipping today, but I have yet to reveal this blog to anyone but my mom and dad, so I figured this post could be helpful for when I invite others to start their perusing.

Although I am an employee of the JDC (Joint Distribution Committee) this year, I do not pretend to know the full spiel that their marketing department might prepare. They do have tons of incredible PR and literature out there for those looking to do some homework.

I'll just give some background that will help gain a better understanding of my job this year and how it fits into the broader picture of the JDC. The JDC (sometimes colloquially called "The Joint") is a Jewish-American humanitarian organization that aims to strengthen the security, community, and general experience of world Jewry. As the world and the state of world Jewry have evolved over the last century, so has their work. However, as crises befell the Jewish people, such as the rise of the Third Reich, the oppression of the Iron Curtain, and discrimination following the creation of the State of Israel, the Joint was on the ground working to provide for the needs of the many affected communities. They continue to operate heavily in Israel, in the post-Soviet world, and around the whole globe, also serving non-Jewish communities, notably in relief situations. I really do encourage you to research further the tremendous work that the Joint does. Some employees that I met at the New York office decided to work for the JDC because the JDC rescued their family from some sort of oppression many years and miles away, and they now want to join that holy work whose mission revolves around the Talmudic principle: "Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh Ba'zeh," or "All of Israel is responsible for one another."

My fellowship is a part of the Entwine wing of the JDC. Through Entwine, JDC hopes to engage young Jewish leaders through service trips of varying lengths. My Fellowship, the Jewish Service Corps (JSC), is the longest amount of time of service that an Entwine program offers. When I studied at HebrewU, I volunteered once a week  throught a JDC-Entwine & HebrewU partnership with a Jerusalem family whose parents were both blind through. In fact, that service got me on the email list, which is where I heard about the Jewish Service Corps and decide to apply.

The Jewish Service Corps has 22 Fellows this year (I'm pretty sure...) who serve in countries around the world in which JDC operates. Four will be at a youth village in Rwanda, a handful will be in Israel, one in South America, two in India, and the rest in Europe. I am one of about 9 BBYO fellows. BBYO and the JDC collaborate because of their shared vision of Jewish engagement abroad, and they created a formal partnership through the Jewish Service Corps to leverage BBYO's youth engagement platform and resources as well as the JDC's fellowship.

BBYO-Hungary began just a year ago, but they already have dozens of eager teens (and preteens) showing up. As I begin my work and meet the community and the teens, I will be able to share more about the vision and goals of their chapter. Needless to say, it sounds like an incredible community.

As I refer to JDC or BBYO as I blog in the future, hopefully this gives a general overview of the organization and how my position as a JSC Fellow fits into the much broader JDC umbrella.

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