Serving Cleveland and Repairing the World

Tags: Federation, Young Adults

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For Shaker Heights resident Nadav Marcus, serving the community is something that’s been engrained in him since he was a young child. So when the opportunity to join Serve the Moment here in Cleveland presented itself, he jumped at the chance.

Launched in early 2020, Serve the Moment is a Repair the World program, supported by the Jewish Federation of Cleveland that combines urgent community service projects and meaningful Jewish learning for young adults ages 18 – 29. “A lot of the organizations we partner with are grassroots or volunteer–run, so our corps members can really help increase their capacity to serve our community” said Lucie Shiffman, Cleveland city coordinator for Serve the Moment. “At the same time, our corps members are connecting to the city of Cleveland through impactful work that aligns with their Jewish values and skillset.”

Serve the Moment handpicked where the approximately 25 corps members would be working, based on where they would be the best fit. Each member serves an average of 10 hours a week for 10 weeks. The corps members commit to volunteer, learn, and reflect together, focusing on social and systemic inequities and rooting the experience in Jewish values. Service corps members volunteer with organizations like Cleveland Chesed Center, Kosher Food Pantry, Greater Cleveland Food Depository and Naaleh Cleveland to address social isolation and food insecurity that was exacerbated by the pandemic.

Nadav worked at the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless where their mission is to break the cycle of homelessness in our community through advocacy, education, and street outreach. “My role was to close the door on some of their projects and help find where new funding could be located if it was needed,” said Marcus. “Because of my past BBYO experience and working with teens, I was also able to help review and update the language in many of their education sessions that had already been run in the local high schools and colleges.”

Service corps members also helped launch the very successful Cleveland Vaccine Volunteer Network (CVVN) to help increase access to vaccines within Northeast Ohio in early 2021.

“I’m proud of the work my team and I did to educate the Cleveland area about COVID–19 and the benefits of getting vaccinated,” said Bretton Keenan, a corps member who volunteered at the CVVN. “I’m also honored to have worked with a group of dedicated individuals who felt the same urge I did to educate and protect the people of Greater Cleveland. The connections and resources we gained to achieve our goals were invaluable and I’m grateful that I had this opportunity to fulfill the Jewish value of piku’ach nefesh (an obligation for all Jews).”

Partnering with the Federation, Serve the Moment has been able to reach out to many organizations in both the Jewish and general community that need assistance during this time. “Creating the space for people to invest in their community has been really impactful,” said Shiffman. “The support of Federation has been invaluable, and the respect that the Federation has in the community is what allows us to forge new partnerships. We are incredibly grateful for that.”

For more information on Serve the Moment, contact Leah Taylor at ltaylor@jewishcleveland.org or 216–593–2853.

Learn More: Federation, Young Adults