Below is our growing collection of stories from the field, from JRF Rabbis and lay-leaders engaged in community organizing.
To learn more about community organizing and ways in which JRF can assist your congregation's tikkun olam activities, please contact Rabbi Shawn Zevit at JRF, and see our Step-by-Step Guide to community organizing. read more »
Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
- Deuteronomy 16:20
"Jewish civilization is a means to greater ends – the fulfillment of the individual, the responsibility of individuals to treat others as reflections of the divine image, and the responsibility of each community to seek global justice and peace among all communities."
- Alpert, Rebecca and Staub, Jacob, Exploring Judaism A Reconstructionist Approach, p24
"Jewish Religion maintains eventual triumph of justice over brute force as the very essence of the faith in God"
- Kaplan, Mordecai M, Basic Values in Jewish Religion, p 43
In congregation-based community organizing (CBCO), existing institutions, mostly religious congregations, are recruited to join a citywide or regional organization. CBCO affiliates organize existing groups, as opposed to individuals, since existing groups already have leaders, interpersonal relationships, resources, a shared culture that facilitates group action, and community connections and commitments.
The local affiliate and the national networks train leaders in creating winnable campaigns on local issues that affect the day-to-day lives of their members. In focusing on the "winnable," CBCO blends idealistic values with pragmatic self-interest.
While CBCO avoids direct participation in electoral politics, organizations position themselves to become power players by thoroughly researching issues, building alliances, developing strong relationships with leaders in the public and private sectors, and staging large, dramatic public meetings to demonstrate grassroots support to targeted decision-makers.
Step #1 - Investigate what's happening locally read more »
By now many of you have received previous notices by e-mail or visited our web page regarding JRF's Congregation-Based Community Organizing initiative. Central to this effort is our participation in the Jewish Funds for Justice national training taking place in Santa Clara, February 11-13, 2006.
Many JRF rabbis and lay-leaders plan to be in Santa Clara, California, from Sunday, February 11 through midday Tuesday, February 13, 2007, for the K’hilot K’doshot: Holy Congregations, Just Communities, the second national gathering of synagogues involved in Congregation-Based Community Organizing (CBCO), sponsored by the Jewish Funds for Justice (JFSJ).
The National Gathering will be a unique opportunity to create a temporary community composed of synagogue leaders, clergy, organizers, and other faith leaders who are working to weave congregation-based community organizing into the Jewish community.
There, we will network, deepen our leadership and organizing skills, celebrate our successes and learn from our failures. Our work together will enable us to return to our local synagogue communities with more knowledge, better skills and the resources to engage in more effective CBCO work.
To register, click here.
Below are several texts that can be used for reflection and study in Congregation-Based Community Organizing (CBCO) settings. read more »