A Visit to Homeboy Industries

Fridays. Our weekday with no work. Our day to learn, do site visits, and go on adventures as a group. We learned over dinner that Homeboy Industries would be our first Friday site visit. Walking through Chinatown showed me a new side of LA. Few cars drove the streets. Older buildings and restaurants surrounded us…

Sukkot with Tzedek America

The only time I have been in a sukkah was in 6th grade. I remember being bored and not paying attention, so it wasn’t until this year that I found out why it’s important that we have one in the first place. The Book of Vayikra (Leviticus) describes it as a symbolic wilderness shelter, commemorating…

Carpool Karaoke

Week four of the program has come and went, and along with it, were two great experiences that brought the whole community closer together. I am finally settled into the house and with my job. Life can start to turn normal for me and way less chaotic. One thing that comes with normal is having…

My Yom Kippur Experience

When I returned from work on Yom Kippur, I went right to packing my bag. That evening, I was to leave the Tzedek America house for an overnight stay with the Feigenson/Perluss family. It was my first home hospitality stay, something I was (and still am) very excited about. The purpose of these overnight stays…

My Rosh Hashana Experience

Sooner than later, I will have to make important decisions about which parts of my judaism I intend to keep. I’ll be uninfluenced for the most part by a Jewish family, a Jewish youth group, or a Jewish gap year. How I eat, how I observe shabbat and of course, how I pray. Rosh Hashanah…

Manuvering the TA Kitchen

One of the first things I was told when I came to LA was a simple but brilliant piece of advice from someone I consider to be very brilliant: “things aren’t as hard to do as people think they are”. The first few weeks of Tzedek America have showed me just how applicable those words…

Meeting My Mentor

A great part about Tzedek America is that each fellow was paired with an adult mentor to meet with once a month. At the end of the third week the whole TA (Tzedek America) cohort went and met with these mentors that were hand picked for us. My mentor’s name is Adrian Stern. Adrian is one of the board…

Shabbat at ‘SC Hillel

Our second Shabbat was spent attending services and dinner at the USC Hillel. We had previously visited this Hillel, but it was after a long day of touring internships, so I was excited to come back with a clear mind.  I was also excited to go to Hillel on Shabbat to see how it functioned compared to…

My First Week as an Intern

This week I started my internship at The National Council Of Jewish Women. This organization was established in 1893 and works for the rights and needs of women, children, and families. They actively are involved with issues such as child welfare, women’s rights, and reproductive freedom. The first day of work, I could not have…

Bonding with Tzedek America

I never thought something as ordinary as a fence would change our group dynamic in just one evening. Walking back from a USC event during the first week of our program, we all realized it was the first time it was just the six of us and our house manager (word?) together. We hardly knew…

Our Camping Adventure

I quickly learned that camping, similar to any other Tzedek America experience, involved quite a spontaneous adventures. Rabbi Mitch Declau flew down from Washington state to camp with our cohort while connecting nature, spirituality, and tradition. I knew the drive would take up a good part of our Tuesday, but I would not have imagined that…

A Reflection on the First Few Weeks

My name is Ben. I am from Claremont, California which is a 39-mile drive to the eastern edge of the LA County. I chose Tzedek America because my parents thought a gap year would be a good idea and I wanted to stay in the United States. I found Tzedek America. It is Jewish, but…