Exploring Social Justice in the Big Apple

Published: September 6th 2010
in News » World

An Uri LTzedek clothing drive.
Pic: Uri LTzedek

A one of a kind social justice trip to New York City is taking place this Thanksgiving weekend, from October 7 to 11.


The mission, organized by Canadian Federation of Jewish Students (CFJS) and Hillel Canada in partnership with Uri L’Tzedek, will give participants the opportunity to learn firsthand about issues of urban social justice while fortifying their abilities to be advocates for equality.


“New York is an exciting city and has a lot of service learning opportunities,” Samuel Konig, Director of Hillel Canada, told Shalom Life. “Aside from spending Shabbat at NYU Hillel, which will be a unique experience, the social justice organisation which we are working with has their main operation is New York City.”


The trip will allow students to learn from pioneers in the field of social justice who will act as coaches. "We are hopeful that participants will gain inspiration, leadership development, and training which will equip them to be effective social entrepreneurs on campuses across Canada," said Adam Moscoe, Co-Chair of Social Justice and Jewish Identity for CFJS.


Students will partake in a midnight run delivering food and clothes to the homeless. They will also take part in a Lower East Side door-knocking campaign. Issues including affordable housing, gentrification and community development will be investigated.


“Our goal is to develop social entrepreneurs among the Canadian Jewish students but also give more opportunities to Jewish students in Canada who are already involved with projects within the social justice community in Canada,” said Konig.


Uri L’Tzedek is an Orthodox social justice group that follows Torah values and works to end suffering and oppression. Using community-based education, advocacy and leadership training, the organization strives to empower the Jewish community to create a caring world.


The students will also be able to help with Uri L’Tzedek’s Tav HaYosher initiative, a kosher seal for restaurants that is both ethical and socially responsible.


"The relationship between social activism and social justice is essential to Jewish identity,” said Rabbi Ari Weiss, founding director of Uri L'Tzedek. “By participating in this mission,  CJFS students are not only impacting the lives of others and learning how to become change agents, they are living up to the highest ethical and religious ideals of Judaism."


Exploring urban social justice within a Jewish context is important for Canada’s Jewish students, added Konig. “We have a very diverse Jewish student population in Canada and it is important that we offer different kinds of meaningful experiences.”




Early Bird Applications will be accepted until September 10 at http://studentsforisrael.ca/social-justice-trip-new-york. The cost, including flights, food, accommodations for four nights, is only $450. After September 10, applications will be accepted until September 22, and the trip cost is $550. Apply now to secure the Early Bird Price!


For more information, contact the organizers at nyc@cfjs.ca

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