'Jewish Community Hero' honored for JCorps innovation

Jewish Community Hero

ari teman 88 (photo credit: )
ari teman 88
(photo credit: )
The Jewish Federations of North America named its first-ever "Jewish Community Hero" last week, at its General Assembly in Washington. Ari Teman founded JCorps, which organizes community service events in the US (New York, Washington, Los Angeles and Denver/Boulder), Canada (Montreal and Toronto), Britain (London) and Israel (Jerusalem and Tel Aviv), and is run entirely by volunteers. Teman was chosen from 400 candidates and received a $25,000 prize. Immediately after the New York-based stand-up comedian won the prize, JCorps's Jerusalem branch began to feel the effects. "We are going into overdrive, increasing our number of volunteers," Leora Schanfield, volunteer director of JCorps Jerusalem, said on Tuesday. "In the two days since Ari won the award, the number of members in our Facebook group increased from 500 to 700." The Jerusalem branch began operating a year after Teman founded the organization in 2007, and has focused on volunteering at the capital's Hazon Yeshaya soup kitchen and Shaare Zedek Medical Center. Schanfield said, however, that the additional volunteers will allow JCorps Jerusalem to expand soon. JCorps caps the age of its volunteers - Jerusalem allows up to 30-year-olds, though most other branches have a maximum age of 28 - to ensure a "younger type of venue," Schanfield said. "But there may be room for older people to volunteer in another section of the organization at some point," she said. Schanfield also said that the organization prefers its members to be single, as Teman founded JCorps after becoming tired of meeting the same people at the same events. "It's not supposed to be a charity event - there are enough of those out there," she said. "It's a place for young people to meet and help out their community." To inquire about volunteering with JCorps in Israel, e-mail Jesse Nowlin at jesse.nowlin@jcorps.org.