Frequently Asked Questions:

The Justice Fellowship

Who should apply to be a Fellow?

You have 2-8 years of experience in either your professional or personal life working on domestic social and economic justice issues.  Our Justice Fellows are typically in their mid-20’s or 30s, but we welcome all applicants in their early and mid-career stages!

• You’re curious to explore the intersection of Jewish life and social justice in a pluralistic, intentional Jewish community.

• You’ve been feeling siloed in your work and are eager to dig into the connections between different issues areas, root causes of poverty, and methods of social change with a diverse set of Fellows doing impactful work in your city.

• You have a commitment to personal growth and an active interest in developing the power of a sustaining, values-driven network both during and after the Fellowship.

What does the application look like?

Our application consists of three steps:

Step one: Fill out your basic information in the Application Request Form.

Step two: When our recruitment cycle reopens, we’ll email you a full application to complete. At this time, you’ll be asked to send a reference form to two references, and to review our Covid-19 protocols and confirm you are vaccinated.

Step three: Join a group interview with your city-specific Fellowship Director and other applicants.

How long is the Fellowship?

This next cycle of the Justice Fellowship will run November 2022 – June 2023 in Chicago and Kansas City. Our application will go live on August 3rd and our priority deadline is September 9th.

What does the program look like?

Our program is designed to fit the needs and schedule of working professionals. The Fellowship includes:

• Sessions, typically occurring 2-3 week day evenings and 1 Sunday per month.

Sessions focus on building a systemic analysis and toolkit for combating social and economic injustice, Jewish life and the intersections between Judaism and social justice, and on community building, personal growth, and reflection.

• Two weekend retreats designed to provide space for community-building and deep learning. We start with an introductory community-building retreat to develop a common language and a shared purpose and close with a year-end reflection retreat to help you focus on your next steps as social change leaders in the Avodah network.

Mentorship provided via peer mentor groups, one-on-one coaching with your Fellowship Director, and optional meetings with an Avodah Community Mentor. Coaching and peer-mentoring will help you to address challenges occurring in your work, think about and tackle areas of personal growth, build on your strengths and explore your long-term professional and person path.

A personal project (Jewish Leadership Opportunity) in which you will take on a Jewish leadership role around issues of justice. Projects can emerge out of work you are already doing professionally or personally or can be new initiatives you take on with the support of the Avodah staff.

An active and engaged community that will welcome you for life! You’ll be invited to be a part of educational, social, cultural, and religious events and celebrations with members of our Jewish Service Corps (in Chicago) and our network of 1,400+ alumni.

 Just to be clear, do I have to move into a house and all that?

You’re thinking of our Jewish Service Corps program, where we match participants with non-profit organizations and they live together in a communal home for a year. The Justice Fellowship is different – it’s all about supporting you in your current work. No need to leave your job or pack up your bags!

 Can you tell me more about the Jewish Learning Opportunity (JLO)?

Throughout the Justice Fellowship, participants  take on a leadership role at the intersection of social justice and Jewishness, either building off of existing work or starting a new initiative. Past JLOs have included using the counting of the Omer to live a zero-waste lifestyle, a family book club in partnership with the JCC of Kansas City that allows parents to be in dialogue about injustice with their children, hosting a panel of Chicago Jewish organizers  during Jewish Currents magazine’s fall release party, and facilitating a group dialogue about we can better align our money usage to our personal values. They have been featured in the New York Times, The Rachel Ray Show, The Forward, The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle, and more.

How much does the Fellowship cost? Should I apply if my job can’t cover the cost?

Thanks to the generosity of several funders, the tuition needed for Fellows to participate in the program is highly subsidized. As an economic justice organization, we are also committed to offering a sliding scale model, with a scale that is based either on the Fellow’s organization’s budget or on the Fellow’s own salary/income (depending on whether the Fellow or the Fellow’s employer is paying). Since the Avodah Justice Fellowship is both a professional and personal development program, we encourage employers, when relevant, to cover all or at least part of the tuition. We can provide additional documentation to help secure professional development time or funding from one’s organization if needed. We will do our best to ensure that no accepted candidates are prevented from attending due to financial reasons, including those who engage with social justice work on a personal rather than professional level. Learn more here.

 Can you say more about how you define domestic social and economic justice work? I don’t work at a non-profit or with a social service, but I’m interested in this program.

We define social and economic justice work as addressing a wide range of pressing local and national issues. This includes: professionals who provide services to low-income individuals or groups of people, who help organize communities to fight for systemic change, who serve at government offices helping constituents in need, who work as a teacher or librarian in low-income or marginalized community, who work at a health clinic; who work on food or environmental justice related issues; or who help people make their workplace better. If this doesn’t sound like your day job, but you are personally involved in justice issues (through activism, organizing, art, serving as a lay leader, etc.) your work can also be defined as justice work! Take a look at previous Fellows  to get a sense of the diverse profiles of our participants, or reach out to our team at [email protected] to discuss! 

Are Jewish Service Corps alumni eligible to be participants?

Service Corps alumni are not eligible to be Fellows, but the Fellows will be a part of the larger Avodah network. Both Fellowship and Service Corps alumni will be able to enjoy mentorship, professional development and networking opportunities through Avodah. One significant way that Service Corps alumni can shape the Fellowship is to help with recruitment! Please spread the word in your networks and to colleagues, friends, and work contacts you think would make great members of the Fellowship.

Will the Justice Fellowship be returning to New York?

At this time, the Justice Fellowship is only running in Chicago and Kansas City. We are hopeful we will resume running the Justice Fellowship in New York City for a future cycle. 

How will Covid-19 affect the Justice Fellowship?

The Justice Fellowship will be in-person for the 2022-2023 program year as local ordinances allow. All Fellows must be fully vaccinated, including any boosters they are eligible for, at least two weeks before the start of the Fellowship. You can review our protocols for the Fellowship here. Please feel free to reach out to our team at [email protected] to learn more or discuss any concerns.

Take your next step as a Justice Fellow today.