Frequently Asked Questions

What does JOIN for Justice stand for?

JOIN for Justice is the Jewish Organizing Institute and Network for Justice.

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What is the history of JOIN for Justice?

Over the past few decades, thanks to the efforts of institutions such as the Jewish Organizing Initiative (JOI), Jewish Funds for Justice (now Bend the Arc), Union of Reform Judaism’s Just Congregations (JC), and others, more and more Jewish organizations and leaders are organizing to build vibrant, thriving communities of meaning and purpose, where people share their stories, develop a common mission, and then act powerfully on that mission both within their own communities and, in the larger world, by working for change that promotes the values of justice and compassion that are central to our tradition. However, despite various programs across the country supporting organizing in the Jewish community, there had not been one institution solely dedicated to the training and supporting of Jewish organizers.

In 2010, then Jewish Organizing Initiative Executive Director Karla Van Praag approached Simon Greer, former President and CEO of PJA & JFSJ (now Bend the Arc) to discuss what might be possible. Along with Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Senior Vice President of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and long-time community organizer Meir Lakein, they began to develop the collective vision and strategic plan to create a pipeline of Jewish organizers who could meet the demand for more training in these skills. Thus, JOIN for Justice was created in 2012.

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Is JOIN for Justice the result of a merger?

JOIN for Justice is the result of a joint venture between the Jewish Organizing Initiative and Bend the Arc to create a new multi-program organization, mentoring individuals from multiple constituencies across the country. There is no longer a separate entity with the name the Jewish Organizing Initiative, which has now been renamed JOIN for Justice to encompass the larger vision. JOIN for Justice is an independent nonprofit.

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What is the mission of JOIN for Justice?

The goal of JOIN for Justice is to identify, recruit, train, develop, place and mentor hundreds of top quality Jewish organizers in lay and professional positions inside and outside of the Jewish community, transforming and strengthening individuals and institutions as they work for a more just, inclusive and compassionate society.

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Who does JOIN for Justice work with?

Currently, JOIN for Justice targets three key audiences for training opportunities:

Young Adults: This program places young adults, aged 21-30, as organizers for change. Fellows receive high-level training and mentoring in leadership and community organizing skills as well as engage in intensive Jewish reflection and study, connecting their passion to build a more just world with Jewish values.

Clergy: The Seminary Leadership Project, in its 7th year, provides training for seminary students and mentoring for new clergy interested in applying organizing skills to increase community engagement. To date, over 200 students have participated in trainings at seminaries including Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion (in New York and Los Angeles), the Jewish Theological Seminary, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and American Jewish University. In addition to coursework, students may apply for internships with synagogues and broad-based community organizations (some in partnership with Just Congregations). Alumni receive mentoring as they put their learning into practice.

Jewish Institutional Leaders: JOIN for Justice trains and mentors Jewish professionals across the country in how to apply organizing skills to build community and achieve collective goals. Learn more about our training, mentoring, and consulting services here.

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Where is JOIN for Justice based?

JOIN for Justice’s office is in Boston, Massachusetts. However, the board includes national representation and our work is being implemented in cities throughout the country.

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How is JOIN for Justice different from other Jewish social justice organizations?

JOIN for Justice is the only institution dedicated solely to training, supporting, and connecting Jewish organizers and the organizations they serve.

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Does JOIN for Justice engage in political advocacy?

No. JOIN for Justice is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and is therefore prohibited from engaging in partisan politics. Additionally, we do not take positions on issues or get involved in specific advocacy campaigns. Our role is to provide the organizational training and support to Jewish organizers. These organizers use the skills they have learned to work with their constituencies and identify the issues importance to them and build a campaign to act on them, thus creating a more just society.

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