Alumni Justice Ambassadors
Alumni Justice Ambassadors (AJAs) speak and teach on social and economic justice in Jewish communities and institutions. Through this position, Avodah alumni will both strengthen their own leadership and facilitation skills and help fulfill Avodah’s mission of strengthening the Jewish community’s fight against the causes and effects of poverty in the United States. This position will entail:
Speaking and teaching:
- Teaching a workshop, facilitating a program, and/or speaking at a Jewish conference, communal gathering, or institution 3-4 times over the course of the year
- Workshop topics include: What’s Jewish about Justice, Why a Jewish Social Justice Community, Intersections of Justice, from Tzedek to Tzedakah, To Be of Use, From the Personal to the Political (see below for session descriptions), Understanding Antisemitism, and Immigration Policy and Jewish Thinking
- Staff will share outlines/content for you to adapt
- You may also teach on other Jewish/social justice topics that you choose to put together yourself, in discussion with staff
- Avodah will use our connections to find teaching opportunities, and we also hope that you will use your network mapping skills and connections to find teaching opportunities as well
Training and ongoing support:
- An in-person, expenses-covered, 2 day training in NYC on Sept 22-23
- Support from staff and peers on curriculum development
- One-on-one and small group coaching and support on facilitation and education skill
Optional and paid for applicants in NYC, DC, Chicago, New Orleans, and Kansas City, required and paid for all other applicants
- Networking and building relationships with local Jewish institutions and organizations to discuss the AJA program
- In consultation with staff, working with host organizations to set up teaching opportunities and adapting content
- Participating in periodic check ins with local and national staff members
- You will be paid $25/hour (usually $150-$200 per workshop) for outreach, travel, preparation and teaching time
- Conference registration fees and travel expenses will be covered
- Some experience as a facilitator or educator (at least 2-4 years post-college)
- An interest in and eagerness to participate in the work of shifting and strengthening the way the Jewish community participates in social and economic justice work
Located in one of the following areas: NYC, DC, Chicago, New Orleans, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego (those not in these cities are also welcome to apply)
- Please fill out this form by Monday, July 22
- To get a sense of your teaching skills, we will contact select applicants to schedule a 45 minute interview, which will include a brief (20 minute) demo lesson for two of our staff (we will provide a sample lesson plan)
Subject to change
What’s Jewish about Justice?
- Many people know that justice is a central tenet of Judaism, but fewer understand why that’s the case, or how our tradition has inscribed this value into our religious and cultural DNA. In this session, participants will explore some of the sources of Jewish approaches to justice work and the implications of this ancient wisdom in the United States today. They will also be introduced to the history of various Jewish leftist movements, and will grapple with the intersections of justice values and oppressive perspectives in the Jewish tradition. They will gain tools to engage in the ongoing Jewish practice of evaluating if, how, and when to reframe oppressive tropes into liberatory ones.
Why a Jewish Social Justice Community?
- Why might we choose to do social justice work with a Jewish lens, rather than from a secular perspective? Does it matter if we do this work in community? Why or why not? This session will enable participants to explore the ways in which both the personal experience of activism and the efficacy of the work itself might be enhanced by the context of a supportive Jewish community. Participants will also be given space to think through how they might want to start or grow their own Jewish social justice work.
Intersections of Justice
- The idea of intersectionality–theories about how gender, national identity, or other statuses can compound the impact of oppression–may seem to be a new one. However, Jewish tradition and texts have long demanded a systemic approach to fighting inequality, and have long recognized that some classes of people are uniquely vulnerable. This session will look to ancient wisdom to help us better understand how to create a more just world today. It will utilize a range of traditional Jewish texts as well as data about poverty in the United States to help us explore how we can best understand the complexities of poverty, including the way race, gender, age, national origin, ability and sexual identity can come into play. Participants will walk away with the perspective necessary to bring these ideas into their work—both programmatically and strategically.
From Tzedakah to Tzedek
- This session aims to situate service and volunteer work within the larger context of systemic poverty and to help participants understand the opportunities and limits of various modalities of social action programming. Participants will explore the large-scale systems related to poverty, as well as the root causes and some of the ways in which the impact is made visible. They will explore the various levels in which the root causes of poverty function and will gain an understanding of how these issues impact people’s lives on a variety of levels. Through interactive workshopping, participants will develop game plans to create or adapt social action or service projects to reflect these new insights, in order to have an even stronger impact towards a more just world.
To Be of Use
- This session will explore the the importance of connecting one’s social justice work to one’s own personal vision and passion. Participants will examine several different methods of social change, including direct service, advocacy, and community organizing, and discuss the pros and cons of each method. They will look at how Jewish organizations have used these methods alone and in combination with one another. With this understanding of what “activism” can be, and of how that activism connects to Jewish values, participants will investigate their own passions and talents, and begin to develop a personal vision for their own ongoing social justice work.
From the Personal to the Political
- From cohort experiences to community organizing to our personal and professional connections, strong relationships are clearly key to advancing work for collective justice. How can we work to cultivate relationships that help complicate our thinking, to consider perspectives outside of our comfort zones, to resist complacency and to live our values as fully as possible? In this session, participants will discuss and study a range of the ways that this approach can be built into programs and look at how to apply those methods to many different kinds of relationships in our lives.