The course examines how community organizing can be used to build a more just world and strengthen our communities. Over the course of seven weeks (February 28 – April 17), participants will delve deeply into the fundamentals of social justice and community organizing, and grapple with how they relate to Jewish traditions and values. Most importantly, you will learn how to make a real difference on the issues you care about.
After an incredibly challenging year, this special edition of the course has been designed to help us take stock of where we are now and the opportunities for creating change as we move forward in 2021. As the pandemic continues, Don’t Kvetch, Organize! will offer skills and insights for people seeking to organize in this time of crisis, and will support participants to get involved in their communities as they learn.
Who is the course meant for?
- People who made new commitments to justice work in 2020 and are looking for a way to deepen their engagement.
- People who would like take action in their community on issues exacerbated by the pandemic, with an eye towards larger systemic change.
- People who organized around the election and are eager to continue the push for real change under the new administration.
- 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 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 in the world.
- The course costs $175 – $345 on a sliding scale based on income. If an organization is paying for your registration please register at the upper end of the scale.
- A number of full and partial scholarships are available for those who need additional support.
- Self-paced videos taught by experienced organizers and movement trainers that participants can watch on their own schedule.
- Four live cohort meetings, led by Course Instructors, where participants can build relationships with one another, reflect together on what they’re learning, and push their learning even further.
- Weekly discussion forum prompts.
Coursework will take roughly 3 hours total each week. Materials will be accessible to most screen readers, and all pre-recorded materials are closed captioned. Real-time captioning for live cohort meetings can be made available on request. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with further access questions.
“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.”
What Participants Get from the Course
Participants will leave the course with:
- A natural and powerful connection between their Jewish identities 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 tackle issues, big and small, in their communities.
- An analysis of widening economic disparity, and insight into working across lines of race and class.
- A set of peers from the course with a shared language and knowledge, who can, if they desire, work together 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.”
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 women and Jewish People of Color led nonprofit that provides training and consultancy 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