You can sign up here to to be on our waitlist for our Fall 2017 course and we will be in touch when registration opens!

Together, JOIN for Justice, the Religious Action Center, and the URJ’s Just Congregations are delighted to invite Jewish leaders across the country to come together for an online course. Through our innovative online platform, students will examine how community organizing has been used to build a more just world, and how our Jewish tradition and history inform our own commitments and approaches to acting for justice.  Master teachers include, among others:

  • Rabbi Jonah Pesner: director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
  • Robert Putnam: Social scientist and best-selling author of Bowling Alone
  • Marshall Ganz: social movement legend, world-renowned thought leader, Harvard educator
  • Heather Booth: nationally recognized and long-time civil rights organizer
  • Ruth Messinger: president of the American Jewish World Service

Some testimonials from URJ course participants from our Spring 2016 course offering:

The self guided pre-recorded videos provided wonderful content. I benefited from every one and expect to go back and review some. I found them inspiring and they along with other aspects of the course truly shifted my understanding of social justice in a positive way.

I feel I have a much better grasp of the concepts underlying organizing and helps me understand why some efforts succeed and others fail.

I’d been around organizing, and people who were organizing, but never had anyone explain to me exactly what organizing is and what it can do. This course did that for me.

See more of what our past participants are saying here!

Participants will leave the course with:

  • A natural and powerful connection between their Jewish identities and acting for justice;
  • Stories that give a behind the scenes look at different organizing efforts, both iconic and lesser known
  • An understanding of a community organizing model and how it can be used in a practical way to tackle issues, big and small, in their communities;
  • An analysis of the current economic system, and how it leads to widening economic disparity;
  • A set of peers from the course with a shared language and knowledge, who can, if they desire, join together with to tackle issues they care about, even after the course!

“This has been an amazing fast-track introduction to the Social Justice organizing world. I notice the difference now when I read about any campaign…how to think about it, what I think is being done well or not so well, what I think might enhance it, instead of passively noting a campaign but not feeling attached/interested in any direct way.”

You can read the full course syllabus here.

THE BASICS | The course will:

  • Run for 7 weeks — starting October 22 and running until December 10, with a break during Thanksgiving
  • Be taught by master trainers and visionary Jewish leaders;
  • Be offered to 150 people around the country;
  • Include a weekly online session that students can watch on their own schedule;
  • Include sections, led by Course Instructors, where students can build relationships with one another, reflect together on what they’re learning, and push their learning further
  • Include a workload of about 3 hours of coursework (including classes) per week

“One key message that I am taking away from this course is the idea that Judaism is a radical tradition.  That themes of justice and equity are embedded throughout Jewish tradition.  Woven into even the most mainstream of rituals (like Shabbat, for example).  Before this class, I felt like I had a few explicit connection points between Judaism and my social justice values.  Now I feel like the whole of Jewish tradition is a connection.  I am excited to continue to wake up to the radical potential in everyday Judaism–drawing upon it as I continue my work.”

Who is the course meant for?

  • People who want to learn how they can have a meaningful impact on issues they care about, without it taking over their whole life
  • People who want to explore how Judaism or their Jewish identity can strengthen and be strengthened by their commitment to having a meaningful impact
  • People who have been doing social justice work but feel like they’re not getting very far and wonder if there is a way to be more effective
  • People who want to meet and spend time with like-minded folks who share an interest in making the world a better place


More information about costs for Fall 2017 coming soon. 

More Information

  • Please check out our FAQ page to learn more information about the course.
  • For more information, contact Tali Smookler, Program and Communications Associate by email or by phone at 617-350-9994 x 208.