As part of my participation this year in #BlogElul and #ElulGram, I’m going to be using Thursdays for #TBT: Throwback Thursdays, an ongoing trend on Instagram–utilizing old images that speak to the theme of the day.

24 years ago, I spent the summer saving the world.


For 6 and a half weeks, we spent our days doing community service work,


Our weekends (and July 4) having fun and building community,



Our nights learning, our free time figuring out how to balance keeping the house together both physically and interpersonally with having a good time, our Shabbatot praying, our trip lobbying on Capitol Hill, and our every moment savoring the summer.

It was a summer full of laughter and memories and making a difference.  Equally exhilirating as it was exhausting.


I can’t really say how much of a difference we made that summer, how many lives we improved, how much of the world we repaired, but I know that we did.  And I know that our own lives were changed–that the impact on each of us was significant.

10 years later, I returned.  And I saved the world a second time.


Bringing that experience to a new generation. Realizing at some point that summer, that coming to the same program from the staff side of things would have just as much influence on me as an individual and would be a powerful reminder on how much we really can change the world.

Realizing  the memories from that summer would be as permanent in my mind as those of the summer a decade before.

 Photo Aug 08, 4 07 00 PM

Both of those summers taught me that our actions matter.  That each choice we make as individuals makes a difference, not just for us, but for others, as well.  Whenever we act, we have the potential to influence the world.  I hope, I pray, that I never forget that lesson.

Would you like to learn more about the program that changed both my life and the world for the better–and continues to do so for Reform Jewish teens? Urban Mitzvah Corps in New Jersey and the other Mitzvah Corps programs are amazing programs for the teens themselves and for the communities they serve.  Ask me, ask another alum, check out the website and learn more.  If you know a high school student that might be a good fit, tell them about it.  That act alone just might help change the world.


About rabbiisa

I'm a Reform Rabbi with a passion for education! I'm also a pop culture fan, political junkie, and NY Times crossword puzzle addict. I am INTP, a proud member of Red Sox Nation, and a fan of the Oxford Comma.

4 responses »

  1. Anonymous says:

    and to continue the story, your second time around you inspired one of your UMCers to continue on years later to be one of the counselors, passing on the teaching of helping others…

  2. Gavin says:

    that last one was Gavin 🙂

  3. rabbiisa says:


  4. Barbara Koppel says:

    How wonderful. Great memories which also push you / us forward to do even more.

    Keep ’em comin’ – as we all try to do good works.

    Love u –

    On Thu, Aug 8, 2013 at 9:29 PM, Off the REKord

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s