Making a Social Justice Impact: A Year-long Immersive in Service Learning for Youth Professionals

This professional development immersive aims to expand the knowledge and the skills of Jewish professionals working with teenagers who provide transformative learning experiences for their students. This 8-session series will provide the framework, practical steps, and a little theory for creating engaging, meaningful, and mutually beneficial social justice learning experiences.

Avram Mandell, Founding Director of Tzedek America, will provide eight 90-minute digital social justice workshops throughout the academic year. Each powerful workshop elevates the voices of individuals and families impacted by social injustice and models for youth professionals how to connect Jewish texts, traditions, and values for our teens. Workshops will include guest speakers and will invite participants to work in small groups outside of the class hours to deepen their learning.

In this series, we will:

  • Define the essential components for what makes a social justice program effective
  • Explore different ways to connect teens to meaningful service projects that make an impact
  • Connect Jewish teaching and tradition to developing of social justice curriculum and projects

The Service Learning Immersive is open only to 15–20 participants. Participants are expected to attend all 8 online sessions and will receive a Certificate of Completion from Jewish LearningWorks. Cost of the year-long immersive is $300, with an early bird price of $275 if registration is received by September 22, 2020. All trainings at Jewish LearningWorks are subsidized by our generous donors. To arrange a cost adjustment, please email

Session Number Session Title Social Justice Exemplar Details
1 What is social justice? All of Them In this session we will define the difference between social justice and social action.  We will then explore various ways that people address social injustices through action and education. This will include exploring service-learning, impact learning, philanthropy, advocacy and volunteerism.
2 Creating Safe Space Racial Inequity We will learn how to have difficult conversations and how to create a safe space in which the learners and the partner organizations can have meaningful dialogue with one another in a stress free learning environment.
3 Textual Relevance Economic  Justice

LGBTQi Rights

We will learn how to select relevant and age appropriate Jewish texts and middot and teach them in a way that matters.  We learn to present relevant historical information that will bring light to the issues we are teaching.
4 Creating the Experience Food Justice In this session we will begin to examine how we can create active and interactive social justice learning experiences.  The way to move the needle when it comes to social justice by tapping into the emotions of the learner. “Stories change perspective.”
5 Pre, During and Post Honoring the Elderly Studies show, if you don’t debrief the learning, you may as well not lead the impact learning experience.  This session will guide the teacher in creating a meaningful learning experience from start to finish and beyond.
6 The Business of Social Change Homelessness In this session we will learn about the growing field of social entrepreneurship. This is a much different concept than corporate social responsibility.  Teaching some of your students how they can make money while changing the world may be an exciting way to engage them on their social justice journey.
7 Politics, Advocacy, and Me Prison Reform Politics is a tricky subject to navigate since not every participant has the same point of view.  In addition to that, the question may come up, where does my (facilitator’s) opinion factor into all of this?  In this session teachers will explore ways in which social change happens in our country while discussing how to make politics engaging for teenagers.
8 Facilitating the Day Immigration Justice Four students in your class, six different types of learners.  We will discuss how we can create a powerful experience for each individual under our supervision.  When dealing with such intense and emotional topics, the facilitator must help each learner navigate her own unique journey.  As we come to the conclusion of our year, we will discuss the way in which the  planning of impact learning experience must take into consideration the complexities of logistics and the physical and emotional safety of the participant.

Avram Mandell, Founding Director of Tzedek America, is a leader in the Jewish education world and has twenty years of professional experience in a variety of Jewish settings, including youth groups, summer camps, and synagogue schools. He is the former Director of Education at Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles, California and Temple Beth El in San Antonio, Texas. Avram holds a Master of Arts in Jewish Education (MAJE) from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Los Angeles and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Miami University. He was named the 2016 RHSOE Alumni-in-Residence Educator for Hebrew Union College. In addition to expertise in teen engagement and life-long learning, Avram brings many of his passions to Jewish education, including camping, improvisational comedy, music, and service. A published author and frequent speaker on a variety of topics in education, Avram is married to Abby Fifer Mandell, MAEd, Executive Director of the Society & Business Lab at the USC Marshall School of Business, and is the proud father of Shai and Bo.

Sessions will meet on Thursdays via Zoom, from 1:00 – 3:00 pm PDT.

October 22
November 12
December 3
January 28
February 18
March 4
April 22
May 13
Make-up session: June 3