Dear AJSS Friend,
It is with disappointment that we inform you that after March 2017, the American Jewish Society for Service will not operate our Summer of Service, AJSS Responds or DC Advocacy programs.
The AJSS Board remains committed to making a difference to communities in need across America, but it must do that in a way that is programmatically, operationally and financially sustainable. Over the next several months, we will be re-evaluating how we can continue to make a positive impact on individuals and communities, and look forward to sharing that information with you. In the meantime, if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
For decades, AJSS was ahead of its time by offering immersive service-learning experiences for teens in communities very different from their own, across the United States. When Henry Kohn and Rabbis Ferdinand M. Isserman, Isidore Hoffman and Arthur Lelyveld conceived AJSS in 1949, it was at a time in our nation’s history and in Jewish life that community-service and tikkun olam were not household words or practices. It was also a time when the market for teen summer programming was very different.
In recent years, AJSS responded to market, demographic and financial changes by expanding our program offerings to include new initiatives. In addition to our traditional six-week Summer of Service, we developed our AJSS Responds and DC Advocacy programs to give more teens the chance to make a difference throughout the school year.
Despite these positive changes, we still face a market with recruitment challenges, rising costs to run safe and meaningful programs, and a desire to charge a reasonable tuition while being fiscally responsible. Based on all of these factors, we were faced with having to make this difficult decision.
We take incredible pride in the more than 3,000 teens who over 66 years, rolled up their collective sleeves to help in more than 175 communities in 48 states. Many continue to dedicate their lives to making the world a better place. We are also proud that AJSS’ commitment to the value of service has been embraced in so many ways by many different organizations and communities.
On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff, we thank you for your commitment to our core values and for making a difference in the lives of others whether as an AJSS alum, supporter, professional colleague or in whatever other way you do. Together we will continue to change lives and make a difference.
’86/Cincinnati, OH; ’91/Topeka, KS
’80/Jeanerette, LA; ’84/Dahlongega, GA
And the entire AJSS team.