His Brother's Keeper

50 Years of the American Jewish Society for Service

By Paul Milkman
Foreword by Jacob Neusner

Subjects: Jewish Studies
Imprint: Distribution Partners
Paperback : 9781586841522, 179 pages, January 2001

Tells the story of young people’s volunteer efforts as part of the American Jewish Society for Service.


This book presents a detail flashback about the American Jewish Society for Service. For half a century the Society has realized in concrete deeds the prophetic vision for the social order, a vision of service to the needy, of tzedakah, the Hebrew word for righteousness and also for charity. But that service takes the form not of donating funds, an impersonal, generic action, but of donating one's own strength and energy, personally and particularly. Giving a month and a half or more for five eight-hour days a week to build, paint, renovate, clean up, the young people gathered in the Society's projects have gotten as much as they have given. The experience of hard work for others carries with it lessons learned for a lifetime.

The author, Paul Milkman, tells the story in the pleasing manner of a professional writer, but with the rigorous attention to fact and detail of a scholar. Milkman was educated in the New York City public schools, the City College of New York, Hunter College and Rutgers University, where he received his PhD in History in 1994. He is now a Project Director for the American Jewish Society for Service, which brings teenagers to work as volunteers in building or improving low income housing in cooperation with non-profit organizations throughout the United States.