Archive for August, 2015

Working b’yachad with Avodah

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

A letter of gratitude from Yachad’s Avodah Corps Member

The Hebrew word Yachad means together-and that is how we do our work. B’yachad, in togetherness, is a central tenet in the relationship that we build between ourselves (the staff at Yachad and our skilled contractors) and our homeowners. This relationship is also fostered between the homeowners’ families and the volunteers who are all brought together by the sweat and determination of a common goal.
These families and volunteer groups are ultimately bonded together through something higher. You can call it prayer or connection to a higher power or even a connection to G-D. We can also simply acknowledge the “something higher” as a communal feeling to do good and to help others. We are all inspired to help keep DC, families and affordable housing strong-and we are all pushed by that special feeling that comes over us while doing this work.

This is similar to the concept “Avodah” and can be a word to describe that special, spiritual feeling we get when repairing homes with Yachad. Avodah is a Hebrew word that means a few things: work, prayer and service. It can also be interpreted to the action of prayer through service work. If you’ve ever heard the idea of ‘praying with your feet,’ then we’re on the right track–this idea that we can feel the most spiritual at times of action. The connection between Avodah (work, prayer and service) and the work that Yachad does (together) makes sense to me.

(Avodah Corpps member-Kaety on the job)

Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps, works with young Jews around the world that are interested in social justice and anti-poverty work. These socially-minded Jews are placed at ground-moving non-profits around our city (and others!) to make real change in the community. Yachad is one of those non-profits. For two years, Yachad has had an Avodah corps member serve as their Program Associate. Yachad and Avodah are truly a partnership in work, service, prayer and togetherness.

Last month at Ramp It Up, our summer camp for teens, two fellow Avodah corps members spoke with our Rampers. Hannah Weilbacher, from Jews United for Justice, spoke about her experiences and the importance of making change. Also during camp, Milicent Dranoff, from the JCC and Behrend Builders, spoke on the importance of social justice and encouraged teens to be passionate about social issues. On a daily basis, we refer and receive referrals from corps members at other Avodah placements like Behrend Builders, Bread for the City, and Housing For All–together we best serve the DC community.

(Far Left: Hannah Weilbacher: Avodah Corps Member at JUFJ)

This is what meaningful work together looks like, Avodah B’yachad!

As my year with Yachad and Avodah comes to a close, I am so grateful for all that I learned, for the partnerships, the togetherness, the spirituality I’ve felt, the change I’ve made and the connections I’ve bridged. Thank you for supporting Yachad and their partnership with Avodah.

So happy for the experience and for what the future has ahead,
Kaetlin Ritchie-Yachad Program Associate
Avodah Corps Member 14′-15′