The curriculum is designed to complement and deepen the experiential learning that Fellows do at their full-time organizing placements.
The JOIN Curriculum challenges Fellows to explore central questions, rather than prescribing any one path for their journey as Jewish organizers. These four questions provide the frame for all the exploration that fellows do throughout the year.
- Who am I as a leader?
- How and why do I organize?
- Who am I, Jewishly?
- What can I/we uniquely contribute as a Jewish organizer(s)?
The JOIN curriculum is structured around eight modules, consecutive series of training and learning sessions framed around a common theme, with an anti-oppression curriculum interspersed throughout the year.
- Four Organizing Modules: Storytelling and Relationships, Leadership, Action and Power, Reflection.
- Four Jewish Learning Modules:
- Exodus as an Organizing Narrative I and II: Yetziat Mitzrayim/Leaving a Narrow Place; and Brit/Covenant
- Judaism and Social Justice I and II: Jewish Texts; and American Jewish History and Contemporary Landscape.
- Anti-Oppression Curriculum: Six sessions focused on different aspects of oppression, privilege, and identity, typically including a session introducing core concepts, racial justice, internalized anti-semitism, disability justice and ableism, patriarchy and cis-sexism, and classism.
- There are also sessions on Fundraising and Organizing, including one regularly scheduled Friday session and several optional evening sessions for Fellows who choose to participate in the Development Project.
Approach to Organizing Training
We believe that one learns the work of community organizing and working for justice primarily by doing the work and reflecting on how the work is going, what is effective, and how we personally fit in with this work. Sometimes we call the learning “training in community organizing” but it is not “training” in the sense of an easily reproducible set of skills that will always work. We think that organizing for justice is much more complex and effective work varies among communities and historical and political environments. There is also a deep personal relationship to this work that is important to explore. So, although there are certainly some practical skills one can learn to be a more effective organizer, long-term success is dependent on a much more complex set of understandings and abilities.
These sessions are the “glue” of JOIN’s program. In general, fellows learn together about social change, Jewish heritage, and community organizing. The sessions draw on both Jewish and non-Jewish texts, and connect fellows with JOIN’s inspiring network of trainers (community organizers and Jewish leaders). In addition, they provide a space for fellows to discuss their work and provide and receive support on specific issues.
Typical JOIN Friday Session:
8:30 Arrive, get settled, schmooze
9:00 Fellow-Led Learning Session (Planned and facilitated by a Fellow, with support from Fellowship Director)
10:00 Training led by Master Trainer or JOIN staff
12:00 Announcements, Evaluation, Key Learnings, Closing Song
There are three group retreats over the course of the year, which take place at a rustic ecumenical retreat center in Stoughton, MA. Retreats are an opportunity for group members to reconnect with one another and with themselves, away from the busyness and distraction of everyday life and work.