With Camps Closed and Travel Restrictions Orthodox Union Launches ‘Project Community 2020’ Summer Program

19 Aug 2020

Initiative Will Provide Engaging Programming for Teens, College Students and Yachad Members

NEW YORK – With thousands of Jewish teens left without summer programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Orthodox Union (OU) has developed a platform of local summer programs for teens, college students and Yachad members across more than 30 cities in the United States and Canada. Launching on July 6, in partnership with the OU’s NCSY, Yachad and OU-JLIC, ‘Project Community 2020’ (PC20) offers participants recreation, Jewish learning and volunteer experiences, helping to bring support to their local communities.

All programs and activities will be operated  within the framework of the reopening guidelines in each location.

Over 1,500 participants are expected to join programming, which will take place in more than 30 cities. Volunteer opportunities include: assisting the elderly; working with individuals with special needs and their families; helping single parent households; and showing appreciation to healthcare heroes on the frontlines of the pandemic response. Some groups will also volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.

Teens will have the opportunity to participate in virtual and in-person learning as well as participate in the Teach Coalition’s Advocacy Fellowship where they will be exposed to the civic process and help local “Get Out the Vote” campaigns in their communities. PC20 will utilize college students as advisors and mentors to teens both individually and collectively.

“The closure of summer camp programs this summer has left thousands of teens and parents across North America without enriching and fulfilling summer plans and our goal in creating PC20 is to answer that need, helping to contribute to our communities and enriching Jewish life across North America,” said Orthodox Union President Moishe Bane. “The OU is proud to have brought together all of our departments to develop Project Community 2020 as both a way to engage our teens this summer as well as help our communities rebuild after this pandemic.”

“We must meet the challenge of COVID-19 by coming together as a community to help each other. Our youth can and will be the critical players in meeting the needs of others. They will lead the way and experience the incomparable taste of making a difference in the lives of others, leading hopefully, to a life of such service,” said Orthodox Union Incoming Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Hauer.

All programs will be run in accordance with state and local health requirements. For more information, please visit https://www.pc20.org.

Founded in 1898, the Orthodox Union, (OU), serves as the voice of American Orthodox Jewry, with over 400 congregations in its synagogue network. As the umbrella organization for American Orthodox Jewry, the OU is at the forefront of advocacy work on both state and federal levels, outreach to Jewish teens and young professionals through NCSY, Israel Free Spirit Birthright, Yachad and OU Press, among many other divisions and programs.