SEA Change Initiative

Image Description: “SEA CHANGE Study | Engage | Act” written to the left of a swelling wave

SEA Change is a catalyst for congregational racial justice.

SEA Change trains congregations to organize and tackle racial injustice within and beyond their communities. SEA Change includes specialized training, coaching and campaigns targeted specifically at issues of racial justice and leadership development, led by expert trainers: Megan Black, Megan Madison, Jeannie Appleman, and David Schwartz.

SEA Change has been named among Slingshot’s 10 to Watch!

In 2020-2021, the SEA Change (Study, Engage, Act) initiative was piloted with two large, prominent congregations in the DC area: Washington Hebrew Congregation (Reform) and B’nai Israel Congregation (Conservative). Over nine months, 50 clergy and lay leaders from these congregations engaged in 12 sessions of training and discussion on issues of racial justice and organizing. They assessed their own congregations’ inclusiveness, built relationships with local community-based organizations led by People of Color, and worked together to act for racial justice.  

We are grateful to congregational leaders Marla Schulman of B’nai Israel and Karen Herron of Washington Hebrew, and their rabbis, whose leadership and collaboration was essential in the creation of this pilot. (You can read Karen’s reflections on SEA Change here.)

This program continues to grow! A new SEA Change cohort of synagogues begins in Spring 2022. 

The SEA Change racial equity training led by JOIN trainers at my synagogue has had a very significant impact on the direction of the congregation as a whole. The clergy and Board are doing strategic planning and because of the SEA Change experience, social justice work will be central to the congregation’s vision going forward.

-Laura Loeb, lay leader at Washington Hebrew Congregation

Our participation in SEA Change has been a transformative experience for our congregational community. The shared experience of learning, training, and taking a deep dive into an assessment of race equity within our synagogue has strengthened relationships and provided a sense of sacred partnership that extends into every aspect of synagogue life.

-Rabbi Susan Shankman, Washington Hebrew Congregation

If you are interested in bringing SEA Change to your congregation, please reach out to Jeannie Appleman at