“Do you want to agonize or do you want to make real change?”

Rabbi Amy Eilberg lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, and signed up for the our 2019 Don’t Kvetch, Organize! course to support her work at Faith in Action and with Truah. JOIN talked with Rabbi Amy a few weeks after the course ended to share her experience in the course. Here’s what she had to say. 

Headshot of Rabbi Amy.

For anyone on the fence of taking this course, I would tell them you’re going to learn so much. There’s a lot of talk out in the world about “community organizing” but it’s not always clear what it is or what it’s made of. This course will really get you inside the world of how community organizers work and think. Community organizing is a powerful paradigm about how to make change on issues that are profoundly important to all of us. Despite being online, the course is done in a compelling and often interactive way and it was a really educational, wonderful experience. I recommend it very highly.

Before taking the course I wondered how the remote webinar technology would work for content that is so relational in nature. I was concerned it might not work as well learning at the computer, but it was clear that I wanted to take the course. My course instructor Rachel Leiken made really good use of the tech to maximize possibilities for interaction on the live calls. There was a cool whiteboard tool that was almost equivalent to an in-person group of people sitting in a room. It was different but still really interactive.

I found the videos incredibly compelling and useful. I especially responded to Meir’s teaching. He’s just a great teacher. It was conceptually clear and interesting, and he breaks down the issues in a way that changed the way I think about things.

One example was his analysis of the difference between a problem and an issue. It’s a very simple thing but it was powerful for me. I’m a person who has always been deeply engaged in “the big problem,” and feel that it’s meaningful to spend a lot of time and energy agonizing about it. And so do my friends! I surround myself with people like that. Meir was like a gentle knock on the head to say, “Do you want to agonize or do you want to make real change?” Maybe instinctively huge problems are animating for me, but if you want to make a difference, look locally and narrow in to where there are partners and you’re more likely to win. That was tremendously valuable for me.

You can learn more about the course here, and register below!

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