JOIN’s DC Rabbinic Fellowship Has Launched!

We are thrilled to let you know that the DC area rabbinic fellowship launched on May 27 with a full day of training. We have 12 rabbinic fellows, and JOIN Senior Organizer and Trainer Jeannie Appleman will be working with them to strive to realize their huge potential.

On our opening day, after a day of discussion, debate, and training, the rabbis heard from the campaigns they will be supporting. They will engage with one of three campaigns:

  • the Industrial Areas Foundation‘s national campaign to leverage the buying power of police departments to pressure gun manufacturers around gun safety;
  • the Washington Interfaith Network‘s campaign to bring about major reform in DC’s largest homeless shelter which is abusive, unhealthy, and dangerous — and parlay that into a fight for more affordable housing;
  • and, Jews United for Justice‘s campaign for the strongest family and medical leave act in the country, which will change thousands of people’s lives and serve as a national model.

These are all really solid campaigns which will provide Jewish communities with opportunities to really relate to and work alongside regular people and leaders from other communities and where Jewish power could make a difference.

A few of their comments from the opening rounds:

“Nothing we do is local and nothing we do really changes anything. We bake casseroles and take them elsewhere. And I’ve allowed myself to be satisfied with that.”

“I was so proud about an interfaith service for marriage equality at my synagogue — the place was packed — until I realized that there were only six people there from our synagogue.  And this issue wasn’t even controversial.  I don’t know why — maybe my people don’t feel like they have a credible outlet.”

“I have stories from when I was seven, ten, and thirteen when I did outrageous things and railed against injustice.  I don’t feel like that person any more — that’s my failure.  I need to do something about it.”

“My call to the rabbinate is around justice and I haven’t been doing a lot of it. I went to Baltimore two months ago — and have done nothing since. I don’t want to walk away — I’ve been doing too much walking away.  I want this fellowship and this group to hold me to the work.”

That’s the potential passion JOIN has tapped into and is beginning to train. Those passionate people represent 20,000 Jews from communities with power and resources. And they’re ready to begin to connect to critical, community-wide campaigns against injustice. They’ll also be recruiting congregants for the online course, building a base for this work.

This is what JOIN is building now — and we are thrilled to count you as a part of it!

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