Hundreds of Jewish community leaders and synagogues have begun to engage in congregation-based community organizing, also known as broad based organizing, many within powerful interfaith organizations working for social change, others within the Jewish community itself, many successfully acting in both worlds. Rabbis, cantors, and Jewish professionals, through this approach to community, are working with their constituents to create a common vision, one which lay leaders play a critical role in implementing. The principles and practices of congregation-based community organizing provide seminary students with invaluable professional skills that will be used long after the participants leave seminary.
Courses utilize discussion, interactive and engaging training, role plays, small group work, and time for reflection. Sessions are taught by experienced organizers and rabbis using these tools in the field. Students learn how to uncover the stories, talents, and interests of the people they will serve, and explore these aspects of themselves as well. Concepts that are covered include: understanding and building power; recognizing and articulating common values and interests; engaging lay leaders as partners and developing them as leaders; navigating between public and private lives as clergy; building public relationships committed to common purpose; developing healthy, thriving synagogues; and learning to conduct successful, strategic campaigns and take effective action.
Students learn how to lead a community by focusing on the development of people, how to help their communities develop a common mission and act on it, and how to work in an interfaith context to bring about social change that reflects Jewish values and the interests of the community.
JOIN for Justice offers courses for rabbinical and cantorial schools at most of the major seminaries in New York and Los Angeles. The New York course is administered by JOIN for Justice. The Los Angeles course is administered by our partner Just Congregations. For more information about Seminary Leadership Project courses, contact Meir Lakein.