Leadership for Social Change

The Avodah Institute for Social Change, in partnership with Foundation for Jewish Camp, is offering a cohort for Jewish camp leadership from January 2023 through April 2024.

This cohort is an opportunity for camp directors and other members of the year-round leadership team to sharpen their social justice analysis, work through the challenges of supporting strong social justice programming at their camps, learn more about the social justice issues that matter most to their campers and counselors, and build their skills to continue deepening their camp’s commitment to social justice. 

Program Participants

• Dan C., JCamp, Westside JCC

• Ben C., URJ Jacobs Camp

• Sarah C., URJ Camp Coleman

• Haylee D., Camp J, Tuscon JCC

• Rachel E., Camp Young Judaea Sprout Lake

• Abigail E., BB Day Camps

• Molly H., Camp Sabra

• Kathryn J., Urban Adamah

• Kachel K., URJ Greene Family Camp

• Justin L., URJ Camp Coleman

• Adra L., Camp Havaya

• Jayme M., URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy

• Joshua R., Camp Sabra

• Ronni S.G., Camp Avoda

• Ken S., Camp Avoda

• Zachary W., Berkshire Hills Eisenberg Camp

• Cindy Z., Camp Kinderland

“Prior to the fellowship, I often felt like I lacked the language (both the precise jargon and the frameworks)  to be involved with racial justice conversations and work, beyond a general expression of empathy. Now, I feel that I’ve gained those skills and language and can really lean into the work  and  feel  confident  that  my  whole  team  will  be  involved.”

— 2022 Leadership for Social Change participant

Program Content

Visions of social justice and methods of social change.

Cross-issue and cross-method movement building.

Self-auditing your camp’s engagement with social justice and your own personal strengths and challenges in this work. 

The skills and analysis of anti-racism and allyship.

• Anti-semitism, its intersections with other oppressions, and the ways it factors into a Jewish organization’s justice analysis and engagement.

How to handle when and how Israel/Palestine impacts your organization’s engagement with social justice issues (even/especially on issues not directly related to I/P)

Tools for communication, dialogue, and hard conversations. 

The qualities of leading justly 

Organizing skills, especially as pertains to understanding the justice needs and interests of your campers, staff, and broader community. 

All of these topics have a multi-pronged approach that engages the practical, emotional, and behavioral aspects of these topics (i.e. in addition to building concrete new knowledge and skills, devoting time to how it feels to take in this new knowledge and handle the internal and external challenges of its impact).

These topics are also grounded in Jewish text, history and spiritual practice. During the cohort, there is an ongoing exploration of how Jews have engaged with these ideas textually and throughout history, as well as regular opportunities to experience how justice work intersects with and is supported by spiritual practice.

The Avodah Institute for Social Change is designed to train countless Jewish leaders from across the Jewish professional sector in social change work and transform the culture of American Jewish life. The work responds both to the timeless Jewish imperative to pursue justice and the current moment when Jewish organizations nationally have expressed a heightened concern with creating an equitable and inclusive society. 

Meet the Faculty

Faculty are expert educators who bring the Avodah Institute curriculum to life through mentorship and facilitation. They are leaders in their field and have expertise on topics like social justice pedagogy, anti-racism, leadership development, and Jewish communal life.

View the full Avodah Institute Team >>

Catherine Bell

Meet Catherine >>

Caroline Rothstein

Meet Caroline >>

Yoshi Silverstein

Meet Yoshi >>

Yehudah Webster

Meet Yehudah >>

“I was able to reconnect with my personal Judaism for the first time in a  while. Engaging in Judaism in a safe and supportive social justice context was extremely rejuvenating for me. The one-on-one coaching and support were really beneficial. I loved the coaching and think it is a really vital part of this experience.

— 2022 Leadership for Social Change participant