Don’t Kvetch, Organize!

With so much going on in the world, how do you even start to make a difference?

This course examines how we can use community organizing to strengthen our communities and build a more just world. While society would often have us believe we need to go it alone — that we are solely responsible for creating change — community is one of the cornerstones of organizing to build power together and create real change in the world.

For seven weeks, course participants are guided by experienced trainers and instructors to delve deeper into social justice and community organizing fundamentals, relate these fundamentals to Jewish tradition and values, and get firsthand experience building relational organizing skills, growing their leadership capacity, and building power with other leaders in their cohort. No one has to do it alone.


Course  Takeaways:

  • A natural and powerful connection between your Jewish identity and acting for justice
  • Behind-the-scenes stories from both iconic and lesser-known organizing efforts
  • An understanding of a community organizing model and how it can be used in a practical way to address issues in your community effectively
  • An analysis of widening economic disparity and insight into working across lines of race, disability, class, and other intersecting identities
  • A community of peers from the course with a shared language and knowledge who you can continue to work with after the course to tackle issues you care about if you so choose
“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.”

“Is this for me?”

This course was designed for you if you…

  • Feel called to take action in your community on issues exacerbated by the pandemic, with an eye toward more significant systemic change
  • Have been involved in social justice work in the past, but feel like you’re not getting very far and wonder if there is a way to be more effective
  • Want to learn how you can have a meaningful impact on issues you care about (without it taking over your whole life)
  • Desire to explore how Judaism or your Jewish identity can be strengthened by your commitment to having a meaningful impact on the world

Course Components

This course combines live cohort meetings and written and pre-recorded materials. On average, the course has approximately 3 hours of coursework per week. You can review the syllabus here

  • Written materials are accessible to most screen readers
  • All pre-recorded materials are closed captioned
  • Real-time captioning for live cohort meetings is also available on request

Course Trainers

Teachers in the course include, among others:

  • Marshall Ganz: social movement legend, world-renowned thought leader, Harvard educator
  • Yavilah McCoy: CEO and Executive Director of Dimensions, a nonprofit led by women and Jewish People of Color that provides training and consulting in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Rabbi Jonah Pesner: Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
  • Ruth Messinger: former president of the American Jewish World Service, currently serving as their Global Ambassador
  • Dove Kent: former Executive Director of Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ) in New York, now works as Senior Strategy Officer at Bend the Arc.
  • Robert Putnam: social scientist and best-selling author of Bowling Alone and, most recently, of Our Kids

“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.”

Read more testimonials from past DKO participants!

For other questions, please email