Building a Field: 2010-11 Year End Report on Immersive Jewish Service-Learning Programs

Dec. 26, 2011

Source: Berman Jewish Policy Archive (BJPA)


Immersive Jewish Service-Learning (IJSL) for North American young adults has been an area of focus for Repair the World since its founding in July 2009. The purpose of this report is to share the progress of Repair the World’s 2010-11 grantee-partners and the IJSL field following the close of its second program year. The depth and focus of Repair's investment in building this field call for analysis and reflection to inform our ongoing work. Repair’s organizational values of being inclusive and participatory guided it to prepare and share this report.


This report includes:

  • Demographic information about young adult IJSL program participants.
  • An overview of the programs that Repair worked with in 2010-11.
  • Assessment of how programs and the field are developing, including IJSL practitioners' points of view.

From the Executive Summary:

Just a few years following a 2008 landscape study that described a nascent field of immersive Jewish service-learning, Repair the World is delighted to share a report on the progress, strengths as well as challenges for the IJSL field for the 2010-11 program year (September, 2010 to August, 2011).


In general, in this period, we are seeing the following:

  • Programs are growing stronger and more interconnected.
  • More than 2,400 Jewish young adults are taking part in high quality, high impact IJSL programs each year. In the 2010-11 program year, IJSL participants completed nearly 50,000 hours of service.
  • Dozens of communities and thousands of individuals benefit from the talent, time and energy of JSL service program participants.

This report is based on several sources, including Repair the World’s grantee-partners’ grant proposals, final reports and conversations with IJSL practitioners. The report therefore includes practitioners’ reflections on their work as well as aggregated data about their participants and programs.


Key Takeaways

Programs Are Meeting Higher Standards

Notable areas of improvement include:

  • More attention paid to relationships with and impacts on hosts/recipients of service.
  • Increased quality of educator training; refined curricula to improve participant outcomes.  More attention to Jewish learning overall.
  • Greater clarity about intended program outcomes.



Until recently, the IJSL program field has lacked a formal community with which to build best practices, share knowledge, and collaborate – all of which contribute to a more vibrant and robust ecosystem. Increasingly, IJSL practitioners have demonstrated enthusiasm for conversation, shared learning and formally and informal partnerships. Importantly, while similar programs pursue similar funding opportunities and participants, competitiveness has decreased and the growing recognition that a strong field is in programs’ long-term interest has enabled more cooperation and greater trust.


View the entire report here.



Updated: Mar. 04, 2012