Leadership for Social Change

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

This opportunity is open to camp directors and other members of the year-round leadership team who want 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 Components

In-Person Retreats*

1:1 Faculty Coaching Sessions

Online learning sessions

Peer Mentoring Sessions

The program will take place in two parts, with a break for summer 2023. Part One will run from January 2023–April 2023. Part Two will run from October 2023–April 2024. Not including retreats, the program will involve 3–5 hours a month, between peer and faculty mentoring and online group learning.

* The current plan is for three in-person retreats. However, depending on Covid-19 safety needs, that would change to virtual programming if needed.

“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

See a measurable change in your leadership. Seek out an impact in your camp’s social justice engagement. Build a strong and supportive network of peers, teachers, and mentors who share your beliefs in the importance of this work.

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 will 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 will also be grounded in Jewish text, history and spiritual practice. There will be 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

Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question that’s not answered here? Contact us at .

Who is this course for?

This course is for directors and other members of the year-round leadership team at Jewish day camps and overnight camps who want to see a measurable change in their camp’s community and their own justice leadership. 

What's the application timeline?

Applications open: October 20, 2022

Priority deadline for applications: November 14, 2022

Final deadline for applications: December 1, 2022

Limited applications will be accepted on a rolling basis after December 1st

Participants will be informed of acceptance by December 7, 2022

Deadline for participants to accept: December 15, 2022

_____________________________________________

Ready to join the cohort? Fill out your application today!

How much does the course cost?

The participant fee is $500 for the first person from your team and $350 for every additional person from your team. Participants will be responsible for additional travel costs (except for long ground transportation to/from retreat centers, since Avodah is covering the cost of a shuttle to and from the airport to the retreat center).

What is the time commitment?

The time commitment will span 3-5 hours a month, made up of a combination of group learning sessions (2-3 hours) and coaching sessions (which alternate between 45 and 90 minutes each month).


Part One: January–April 2023

Opening Retreat
January 30–February 2 | Ramah Darom in Clayton, GA

Virtual Program Dates
February 15, 2023 | 2 pm–5 pm ET/11 am–2 pm PT | Full group programming

February | 45 min | 1:1 coaching sessions to be scheduled between each participant and their coach

March 1, 2023 | 2 pm–5 pm ET/11 am–2 pm PT | Full group programming

March 15, 2023 | 3 pm–4:30 pm ET/11 pm–1:30 pm PT | Small group coaching call

April 26, 2023 | 2 pm–5 pm ET/11 am–2 pm PT | Full group programming

April | 45 min | 1:1 coaching sessions to be scheduled between each participant and their coach


Part Two: October–April 2024

Midpoint retreat
Oct 2326, 2023 (Location TBD)

Virtual Program Dates
November 8, 2023 | 2 pm–5 pm ET/11 am–2 pm PT | Full group programming

November | 45 min | 1:1 coaching sessions to be scheduled between each participant and their coach

December 6, 2023 | 2 pm–5 pm ET/11 am–2 pm PT | Full group programming

December 20, 2023 | 3 pm–4:30 pm ET/12 pm–1:30 pm PT | Small group coaching call

January 17, 2024 | 2 pm–5 pm ET/11 am–2 pm PT | Full group programming

January | 45 min | 1:1 coaching sessions to be scheduled between each participant and their coach

February 14, 2024 | 2 pm–5 pm ET/11 am–2 pm PT | Full group programming

February 28, 2024 | 3 pm–4:30 pm ET/12 am–1:30 pm PT | Small group coaching call

March 20, 2024 | 2 pm–5 pm ET/11 am–2 pm PT | Full group programming

March | 45 min | 1:1 coaching sessions to be scheduled between each participant and their coach

Closing Retreat
April 14, 2024 (Location TBD)

Where are the retreats being held?

The current plan is for three in-person retreats. However, depending on Covid-19 safety needs, that would change to virtual programming if needed. Participants will be responsible for any travel costs to/from retreats (except for any long ground transportation to/from retreat centers).

Opening Retreat: Jan 30Feb 2, 2023 at Ramah Darom in Clayton, GA

Midpoint retreat: Oct 2326, 2023 (Location TBD)

Closing Retreat: April 14, 2024 (Location TBD)

What if I'm not able to make it to a live call?

Our goal is for all participants to join all sessions, which is why we set the dates in advance so you can ensure you are available upon applying. Group virtual programming happens only once a month so we expect you to prioritize participation.

That said, we understand that life happens and unexpected circumstances arise. If you really cannot attend a particular program, we will either send a recording or make sure you can check in with your coach or another participant to be filled in on the content. Our programming is relational and community-oriented, so we do not record all virtual sessions by default, to allow for the group’s privacy. 

I would like to run a similar program for my organization. Who should I reach out to?

If your organization would like to collaborate with the Avodah Institute for Social Change, please fill out this form.