Our partner, Jewish Coalition for Service, recently launched its new web initiative, the Jewish Service Online NetworkÂ (JSoN, for short — I love the name). It’s a social networking-cum-informational site for people who have participated or are considering participating in formal Jewish volunteerism. Good cause, and the site’s got some interesting content, such as this piece by Max Klau of City Year, which asks whether Jewish service constitutes a new Jewish movement:
In recent years, service programs have become an increasingly popular option for Jewish young adults. From New Orleans to Ghana to Honduras to Thailand, Jews are showing up in ever greater numbers to get their hands dirty repairing houses, digging irrigation ditches, and building schools. It wasnâ€™t long ago that these experiences were rare and exotic, attracting only the most intrepid, hard-core do-gooders in the Jewish world. Today, we seem well on our way to the day when a Jewish Service experience is a common, shared experience, like Hebrew school or summers at camp.
At some point, you canâ€™t help but ask: Is Jewish Service a new movement? When you spend that week in New Orleans, are you just signing up for a week of volunteering, or are you enlisting in what is essentially a new and meaningful way of being Jewish in the world?