When I was recently asked to do a community organizing training about one-to-ones for a Jewish organization, I was both enthusiastic and apprehensive. I knew a bit about the organization, but did not have a great sense of who would be my audience that day. I had no doubts, though, that I would be able to deliver a superior training, thanks to the incredible resources, support, and training I’ve received from JOIN for Justice over the years. And I was right – the training I led for this organization was hugely impactful for them, and I attribute this to the relational organizing skills I learned through JOIN.
My involvement with JOIN for Justice began in 2014 when I joined the Seminary Leadership Project, continued as I took their online course Don’t Kvetch, Organize! the following year, joined the Strategic Planning Committee, and last year served on the Advisory Committee for the Empower Fellowship for Jews with Disabilities, a particular passion of mine (currently accepting applications!). If that wasn’t enough, this Fall I became a JOIN for Justice board member.
Through all my learning and involvement at JOIN, the skill of building relationships through one-on-one conversations has been the most impactful in my work for justice. I use this skill nearly every day in the work that I do. This is such an important way of interacting with people because so much of who we are is rooted in story, if we don’t get to know each other and build trusting relationships, we won’t be able to build a powerful movement. And we need a powerful movement. Especially as a Rabbi, I have a particular responsibility to be in relationship with many constituencies, and my learning with JOIN has given me the tools and space to be in relationship with many different Jewish communities in my work for justice.
I believe JOIN is an exceptional organization in the Jewish community because we hold a unique position in providing Jewish organizing trainings to a wide variety of constituencies. We need Jewish leaders equipped with the tools they need to be part of our collective work towards justice, which is exactly what JOIN has provided me.
But even further, and on a more personal level, I am proud to be part of JOIN because we have chosen to invest deeply in cultivating the talents and passions of organizers with disabilities through the Empower Fellowship. This is just one example of our commitment at JOIN to go deep where few organizations are.
I invite you to join me in supporting an organization that has given so much to me as an individual organizer and catalyzes Jews across the country to work on issues that matter to them.