'Mifgashim Mumbai': Jewish Peoplehood in Action
GPM connects Jews from around the world with Indian Jews fostering a strong Jewish identity based on the Jewish principles of caring for the marginalized in society
The unique GPM model, built on active collaborations between Indian Jews and Jews from all around the world, offers an unprecedented opportunity to foster a Jewish peoplehood consciousness. Jewish young adults, no matter what their cultural or ethnic backgrounds, work side by side as equal partners in a project that is quintessentially Jewish: providing hunger relief to vulnerable children.
Each year, 30-50 young Jewish adults (ages 20-30) from different backgrounds and affiliations work together under the banner of caring for the most vulnerable children living in the slums of India. International participants are part of the JDC Entwine GPM Service Corps and Indian Jewish participants are part of the JDC-GPM Indian Internship Program.
Mifgashim fosters a strong Jewish identity based on the Jewish principles of caring for the marginalized in society, especially children in need. Indian Jews and their international counterparts work closely on tikkun olam (social justice) and chesed (charity) projects as well as studying Jewish texts on social justice. Moreover, organized seminars, retreats and workshops in Mumbai will focus on social justice as a crucial part of Jewish identity. The program reinforces the idea of Jewish Peoplehood as a catalyst for social change and creating a better society.
As part of ‘Mifgashim’, the challenges faced by Jewish communities around the world are addressed. Similarities and differences between Jewish communities’ cultural, historical and religious make up are covered at retreats and workshops. Organized social events and festivals strengthen the ties between Jewish youth and the communities they come from.
The Mifgashim project is a collaborative venture with the AJDC’s incredible work with the local Indian Jewish community. The existing AJDC supported ‘Jewish Youth Pioneers’ program has been working closely with GPM and in 2012 started the ‘JDC-GPM Internship’ program for young Indian Jewish professionals to dedicate their free time to helping children in the slums of Mumbai. The program is at its third four-month internship session and proving to be quite popular with the 20-30 year old Jewish young adults. Indeed, we feel, that while interest in religious service and holiday practice may be weakening for the Jewish youth, the opportunity to strengthen Jewish identity in India through service is growing.
Interaction between Jews from around the world through meaning social service and supported through study and engagement strengthens the Jewish identity and commitment of all participants. The Mifgashim program is a perfect platform and India is an ideal setting to foster a dedication to Jewish Peoplehood and identity.
To learn more about volunteering in Mumbai, click here