Clergy Leadership & Organizing Program

JOIN’s Clergy Leadership and Organizing Program invests in promising rabbinical students and rabbis, training them to use community organizing tools such as relationship building, leadership development, and collective action.

People in pews applauding, focused on one man in the middle with a kippah. In 2010, JOIN for Justice began training rabbinical, cantorial and Jewish education students in community organizing principles, taking over responsibility for a project begun by Jewish Funds for Justice (now Bend the Arc) in 2005. Today more than 750 alumni of JOIN trainings, workshops and mentorship are serving in pulpits, campuses, and organizations across the country. Many of these alumni are actively engaging their congregations in strengthening communities and working for justice.

The Clergy Leadership and Organizing Program works in three different program areas:

  • The Seminary Leadership Project provides rabbinical, cantorial and education students in all denominations at seminaries across the country with organizing and leadership development training and mentorship with rabbis and community organizers. It provides opportunities for students from various seminaries and denominations interested in organizing to impact the Jewish community and the world around them. In addition to a semester-long course for students from all the New York seminaries, JOIN offers training modules for seminaries in New York, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia.
  • The Clergy Network represents hundreds of rabbis, cantors and religious educators across the country who are alumni of JOIN’s training. The network provides clergy the opportunity to connect with, learn from, support, and align with other clergy with similar goals and values. JOIN supports the network with regular national community organizing training webinars and reasonably priced mentoring contracts.
  • The Clergy Fellowship targets clergy and master educators — whether they are in synagogues or other Jewish institutions and whether they are new to organizing or seeking to strengthen the organizing that they already do — interested in leading effectively and powerfully, developing as leaders, developing other leaders and transforming their own institutions, and having an impact on social justice campaigns. The Fellowship provides training, executive coaching, and engagement in community-wide justice campaigns that offers the opportunity not only to make a difference, but to practice what they learn in training and build relationships across lines of religion, race, and class. Fellows will also build a stronger base of support from their membership through engaging select congregants with in person training and JOIN’s online course.

Please explore our website and contact JOIN Director of Organizing Meir Lakein for more information about these program areas.