The Rev. Liz Steinhauser, Senior Director of Youth Programs at St. Stephen’s Youth Programs
The Jewish Organizing Fellowship is currently paused. We are updating our programming to meet the needs of young Jewish organizers and social justice organizations today. To receive updates when we re-launch, and to learn about JOIN’s other programs in the meantime, please sign up for JOIN’s email list here.
The Jewish Organizing Fellowship
The year-long JOIN Jewish Organizing Fellowship, founded in 1997, recruits and trains excellent young community organizers, and builds pathways for organizing as a sustainable career path by creating communities grounded in Jewish heritage and social justice values. Our Fellowship alumni are incredibly talented and successful in their field. The majority of them continue to work as organizers in the fight for social justice.
A central element of the program is the Fellows’ jobs as organizers at local organizations that partner with JOIN. Typical partner organizations include unions, issue-based organizations, Community Development Corporations, neighborhood organizations, and broad-based or interfaith organizations. Jobs are typically full-time, but sometimes part-time. The partner organizations are the official employers of JOIN Fellows, paying the Fellow’s salary and offering high-quality supervision.
The Fellows—Jewish young professionals ages 21-30—gather for regular training sessions designed to develop the skills of early career organizers. Fellows have access to JOIN’s network of experienced organizers and community leaders as trainers and mentors. Additionally, Fellows receive mentorship from JOIN Fellowship alumni and staff.
Empower Fellowship: The Empower Fellowship is a track within the Fellowship for Jews who self-identify as people with disabilities, disabled, or differently-abled, and their employers. Part of JOIN’s efforts to center the leadership of Jews with marginalized identities, the Empower Fellowship includes many benefits for placement organizations, including funding, accessibility and inclusion training, and access to the full range of our talented candidates. Learn more about the Empower Fellowship here.
Benefits of working with JOIN for Justice
Recruitment of Talented Organizers
By recruiting a pool of talented emerging organizers, the JOIN Fellowship adds value to your organization’s next hire. JOIN attracts smart young leaders who are hungry for justice, both recent college graduates and more experienced recruits, with a particular emphasis on people who are looking to stay in the organizing field in the long run. Every year, approximately 70 applicants apply for one of 10-14 positions. We actively work to recruit and support Jews with marginalized identities, including Jews of Color, Jews from working class backgrounds, trans and gender non-conforming Jews, and Jews with disabilities.
Applicants from across the country and around the world submit written materials and references and participate in two rounds of interviews with experienced organizers. By the time your organization interviews JOIN applicants, only the top 18 or so candidates will have become Finalists. The considerable effort and staff time JOIN puts into recruitment and screening is work your organization does not have to do, allowing you to focus on other priorities.
Training and Professional Development
JOIN’s Organizing Fellows add value to their placement organizations by undergoing a year of focused training in community organizing and anti-oppression skills.
JOIN’s training curriculum has been honed over two decades of implementation and evaluation, and it continues to evolve based on the changing needs of our partner organizations and Fellows. Fellows participate in interactive and practical trainings led by experienced organizers and social change leaders, centered on skills ranging from recruiting leaders and mounting campaigns to facilitating meetings and raising funds. Trainings are designed to be relevant to a range of organizing settings, including unions, neighborhood organizations and Community Development Corporations, issue-based organizations, electoral campaigns, and interfaith or broad-based organizations. More information about our training curriculum is available upon request.
Additionally, JOIN provides our Fellows with regular, structured opportunities to reflect on their work and professional growth, to engage in best-practice sessions with other Fellows, and to seek mentorship from their peers and more experienced organizers.
The Jewish component of the Fellowship encourages Fellows to connect their social justice work to their heritage, traditions, sense of spirituality, and community. Grounding the challenging work of organizing in a Jewish context helps Fellows to see the work as a sustainable career path, and to connect their work to a rich heritage of organizing for justice.
Finally, through the Empower Fellowship, Fellows with disabilities will receive additional support to develop their leadership. Topics will include the Americans with Disabilities Act and reasonable accommodations, intersections of Judaism and disability, and adapting organizing best practices to fit one’s unique abilities. Empower Placements will also receive training and coaching about inclusion, accessibility, and best practices for employing people with disabilities. In conjunction with the Empower Fellowship, all Jewish Organizing Fellows learn to prioritize access and inclusion in their organizing.
Now in its twenty-second year, the Jewish Organizing Fellowship has a strong network of alumni who are experienced organizers and leaders in social justice organizations throughout Boston and beyond. Fellows can opt to be paired with an alum mentor, and Fellows can also use the alumni network as an informal source for professional advice and support. JOIN Fellows and alumni often find opportunities to make connections across organizations, uniting their constituencies and organizations in campaigns.
We ask that Placements pay their Fellow a salary of at least $34,000 (there is no maximum), and provide health insurance and other benefits commensurate with other full-time employees. For part-time positions, Fellows must organize at least 15 hours per week, and the Fellow’s salary can be lower but should be proportional to the full-time minimum salary based on hours.
We typically have funds available to support organizations that would like to hire a JOIN Fellow but are limited by budgetary constraints.
JOIN Fellowship Organizations
The group of JOIN organizing placements changes each year. In the past Jewish Organizing Fellows have worked at places such as the following Greater Boston area organizations:
- Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation
- Boston Center for Independent Living
- Boston Worker’s Circle
- Boston Youth Organizing Project
- Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee
- Community Action Agency of Somerville
- Disability Policy Consortium
- Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation: Youth Force
- The Food Project: Real Food Challenge
- Harvard Union of Technical and Clerical Workers
- The Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union, Local 26
- Greater Boston Interfaith Organization
- The Irish Immigration Center
- The Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action
- Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters
- The Jewish Labor Committee
- Health Care for All
- Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston
- Massachusetts Senior Action Council
- Massachusetts AFL-CIO
- Moishe Kavod House
- National Organization of Women, Boston chapter
- Neighbor to Neighbor
- Rosie’s Place
- Service Employees International Union, Local 509
- State Health Care and Research Employees/AFSCME
- Somerville Community Corporation
- The Welcome Project
- United for a Fair Economy