Don’t Kvetch, Organize! Fall 2016 Course Syllabus

Below is the syllabus outline for our Fall 2016 Don’t Kvetch, Organize! course. 

Dates:  November 6, 2016-December 23, 2016 (including a break for Thanksgiving)
Hours per week:  Approximately 3 hours per week
Course Components:
** Weekly online sessions that students can watch on their own schedule
** 3 ‘section’ meetings, led by Course Instructors
** Weekly homework assignments, usually posted to your section’s discussion forum
** Optional: Live sessions with master trainers


Week 1 (November 6) Why Do We Organize?

  • Course overview
  • Jewish values challenge us to act
  • The A, B, C’s of community organizing
  • Stories from 50 years of organizing for change

Week 2 (November 13): How We Win: Campaigns That Make A Difference, Not A Statement

  • A behind the scenes look at the campaign that set the model for national healthcare reform
  • Moving from being overwhelmed to building campaigns that can win
  • Using stories to show who we are and tell where we are going

Week 3 (November 20): Course participants will use this time to catch up on any coursework they are behind on from Week 1 and Week 2 or get ahead on the next week’s coursework. November 24-27 will be a vacation period for Thanksgiving.

Week 4 (November 27): Living Out Our Values: Organizing For, Not Against

  • The motivation to take a risk – Jewish involvement with immigration and criminal justice reform
  • Organizing around people’s own values and interests
  • How our relationships can be one of the most powerful things we have

Week 5 (December 4): Nothing Changes Without Power and Strategy

  • How the Montgomery Bus Boycott’ers used the resources they had to get the change they wanted
  • How we organize communities and resources to build power

Week 6 (December 11): The Growing Inequality Gap and the Struggle Against It: How Did We Get Here?

  • Human equality in the bible and our quest for justice
  • Why fewer Americans today have the opportunity for upward mobility
  • The continuing crisis of race in America

Week 7 (December 18): What Is Our Place as Jews in Justice Struggles? How Will We Lead Successfully and Respectfully?

  • Finding our place in justice struggles
  • Finding our Jewish connection to justice
  • Becoming the leaders our communities need
  • Risk-taking in the Jewish religious tradition