SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) – Jordan Namerow of Brookline, Mass., is in many ways the poster child of the Jewish term-of-service continuum.
Namerow, 24, spent a spring break during college in Nicaragua on an American Jewish World Service program working with a women’s construction cooperative. She spent the year after graduation in Poland as a Jewish Service Corps fellow, a program run by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, helping teach local Jews the importance of social justice work.
Now a communications specialist at the Jewish Women’s Archive in Brookline, an organization that preserves the stories of Jewish women throughout history, she volunteered for 10 days in northern Israel in January painting bomb shelters and preparing burnt forest land for replanting as part of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation-funded “Leading Up North” program.
[photo servicesidethree align=left] “I encounter people who have done multiple programs,” Namerow says. “But I don’t like to think of it as something you do on vacation. Service needs to be integrated organically into our lives. Long-term service programs are an important part of the process, but they’re only a start.”
Doing social justice work within a Jewish context is very important to her, and it was that connection she tried to convey in Poland, acting as a “gentle change agent” for the needy Jews she worked with every day.
“It’s important to how we look at the world as Jews,” Namerow says, “and how we look at ourselves as Jews.”