Don’t Kvetch, Organize! Philadelphia Section

Registration is open until October 5th for our Fall 2016 Don’t Kvetch, Organize! online course. Register for our special Philadelphia section today!

Last fall, JOIN for Justice trained 18 rabbis in the Philadelphia area along with nearly 25 lay leaders in community organizing through our Clergy Fellowship program and our online community organizing course. We are excited to announce that we will be continuing our work in Philadelphia by offering a special section as part of our online course dedicated to participants from the Philadelphia area in our course offering in Fall 2016.

Through our innovative online platform, the Philadelphia section will be part of 150 students across the country 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

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“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.”

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 widening economic disparity, and insight into how to work across lines of race
  • 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!

THE BASICS | The course will:

  • Run for 7 weeks — starting November 6, 2106 and running until December 23, 2016 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.”

You can read the full course syllabus here.

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


  • The cost of this course for participants taking it as part of the Philadelphia section is $200 (subsidized from a $345 cost).
  • There is a limited number of Young Adult slots (under 35) at a rate of $99.
  • We will make every effort to include participants for whom the course fee is a barrier. Please contact us if you are in need of a scholarship.
  • Your registration is non-refundable; however, if you are no longer able to take the course this round, we will transfer your payment towards a future JOIN online course offering.

More Information

  • Please check out our FAQ page to learn more information about the course.
  • Join us for one of our Information Calls to learn more! Sign up here.
  • For more information, contact Tali Smookler, Program and Communications Associate by email or by phone at 617-350-9994 x 208.

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