NEXTGen Detroit and Repair the World Partner with JFS for Fall Fix Up

November 24, 2014 | Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit

Nearly 50 young adult volunteers met at B’nai David Cemetery in Detroit on Sunday, November 9 to take part in Jewish Family Service (JFS)’s annual Fall Fix Up. NEXTGen Detroit and Repair the World partnered with Friends of B’nai David Cemetery and JFS to recruit helping hands and organize the effort. Raking, weeding, filling in holes, disposing of illegally dumped tires and removing graffiti were among the tasks that volunteers tackled.

“I was so happy with the amount of work we accomplished. From walking into the cemetery that morning to getting ready to leave in the afternoon, there was a distinct difference,” said Abby Rubin, Repair the World Fellow. “You could definitely tell people who cared had been there.”

The historic Jewish cemetery on Van Dyke was the “next gen” site for this year’s Fall Fix Up. A total of 450 volunteers worked on various sites throughout Metro Detroit, helping seniors prepare their homes for winter or beautifying important areas in the community.

“The energy level was awesome, and I think everyone responded to the work and to each other with openness and positivity,” said JFS Communications Manager Daniel Trudeau. “B’nai David Cemetery is an incredible place, and we were really grateful that Fall Fix Up brought everyone together to make a difference there.

B’nai David is one of four Jewish cemeteries in the City of Detroit. The first burial there was in 1898, and there are still members of the community who wish to be buried in the cemetery when the time comes.

“In Judaism, there is a very high value on kavod hamet, honoring the deceased,” said Rabbi Yisrael Pinson, Fall Fix Up volunteer and Director of Chabad of Greater Downtown Detroit.

“We can’t build our future without taking care of our past. And as we work to rejuvenate the City of Detroit, it is so important to remember our Jewish history here,” said Miryam Rosenzweig, NEXTGen Detroit Director. “When we kneel down and clean up a grave of someone who lived 100 years ago as a young Jewish person in the city, how can we not be inspired to continue Jewish life in Detroit?”

NEXTGen Detroit has recently heard from a lot of individuals interested in volunteer opportunities, and in response is currently developing regular programming to meet the demands.

“NEXTGenners are excited about the city and its many communities, and they have shown that they’re ready and willing to pitch in and effect change,” said Sarah Snider, NEXTGen Detroit Outreach Associate. “The enthusiasm for volunteering is really motivating, and we’re honored to work on these types of projects with strong community partners like Repair the World and JFS. Look out for more events like this in the future, they are definitely coming!”

FFU

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