At Avodah, we believe that Jewish leaders have the power to help change our country for the better. With more than 20 years of Jewish social justice leadership under our organizational belt, we’ve got a lot of experience – and we love to share it. We work with synagogues, Hillels, camps, day schools, and other Jewish institutions to to deepen their approach to social and economic justice through workshops, teen curricula, video series and consulting. Please see the reverse side of this sheet for more information about Avodah’s Jewish social justice resources.

Consulting & Speaking

Avodah’s staff of seasoned educators and organizers are available for consulting and training at your local Jewish institution. We bring individual consultation, facilitated talks, and workshops to conferences, organizations, and institutions to foster learning around today’s social justice issues, all through a Jewish lens. Contact Sarra Alpert at [email protected] to learn more.

Alumni Justice Ambassadors (AJAs)

Social Justice Workshops with Alumni Justice Ambassadors: Avodah has a network of more than 1,200 Avodah alumni  – and they’re experts on a huge number of issues related to social and economic justice in the United States. Our Alumni Justice Ambassadors (AJAs) are Service Corps and Fellowship alumni with serious experience and chops as educators who work with Jewish communities across the country to deepen their approach to social and economic justice, and to give them the tools to understand and engage with the most crucial issues that people in America are facing today.

AJAs are available to speak, teach, consult and facilitate in your communities. We have taught at synagogues, Hillels, conferences and more. AJAs are available on a sliding scale to organizations, depending on organizational size. Our workshops include topics such as “Intersections of Justice,” “From Tzedekah to Tzedek,” “From the Personal to Political,” and more. If you would like an Avodah Alumni Ambassador to lead a learning session with your synagogue, community, students, or other individuals, contact Avodah Rachel Glicksman, Alumni Director, at [email protected].

Learn more about our offerings at avodah.net/aja.

Here’s what our participants from our AJA workshops had to say:

Thank you very much for working with our staff on enhancing how we approach and implement inclusivity practices into our work and our Hillel space. I really appreciated it and I know my colleagues did, too.”

—Michael Simon, Executive Director, Northwestern Hillel

Tikkun Olam: Our Turn Logo

Teen Curriculum for Budding Activists

“Tikkun Olam: Our Turn” is our groundbreaking curriculum that offers 12-18 year-olds the opportunity to learn about the connection between Jewish social justice values and practice through the creation of meaningful individual social justice projects. It is a great framing for more impactful b’nei mitzvah projects, confirmation, camp and day-school programs, or other service and justice projects. Tikkun Olam: Our Turn gives teens the tools they need for broader social justice work. Learn more at avodah.net/tikkun.

 

Racial Justice

The Jewish community is stronger and more authentically rooted in justice when everyone has an equal seat at the table. This moment calls us to do the best, most authentic, and most effective work for justice that we can. We know that there are many kinds of injustice in our world, including racism, antisemitism, and white supremacy. To do our part in dismantling these systems of oppression and building a better, more just world, we need to understand how they affect each other, and we must do true coalition building. Avodah’s Racial Justice Guide is intended to be a resource for Jewish nonprofit organizations. It has been written for all stages of leadership, as racial justice and inclusion are everyone’s responsibilities. In each section, we share an example of how Avodah worked through this stage of our process, and resources for how your organization might put this into practice. You can view our interactive Racial Justice Guide here and the materials are also available to download as a PDF format.

 

Conferences & Panels

Strengthening Racial Justice in the Kansas City Jewish Community  Panelists: Gavriela Geller, Avodah alum & Executive Director, JCRC/AJC Kansas City; Hilary Singer, Executive Director, Jewish Vocation Service; Rabbi Doug Alpert, Congregation Kol Ami; Jancyn Appel, member of the Kansas City Jewish community Moderated by: Nate Looney, Manager of Racial Justice Initiatives, Avodah

Never Again: Social Justice, Activism & Using Your Voice to Speak Truth to Power Avodah’s CEO, Cheryl Cook, joins other Jewish women to discuss the call to social justice and activism that Judaism demands during the third Women of Faith Power Summit.

Being Jewish in America: The Privilege and Price of Whiteness Panelists: Yavilah McCoy, CEO, DIMENSIONS Inc. and Cheryl Cook, CEO, Avodah Moderated by: Bill Robinson, Executive Director, Na’aleh Hosted by: Na’aleh: The Hub for Leadership Learning (Oct 2020)

Racial Justice and the Changing Face of American Jewry Panelists: Nate Looney, Manager of Racial Justice Initiatives, Avodah; April Baskin, CEO, Joyous Justice; Simone Steinbach Kgnego, Author of “The Extraordinay, Unordinary You”; Rori Picker Neiss, Executive Director, JCRC; David Heller, Chair of the Board, Jewish Cleveland; Margaret Mitchell, President & CEO, YWCA Greater Cleveland Moderated by: Rabbi Isaiah Rothstein, JFNA’s Rabbinic Scholar and Public Affairs Advisor  Hosted by: Jewish Federations of North America

Justice and Redemption: A Discussion of Just Mercy Panelists: Nate Looney, Manager of Racial Justice Initiatives, Avodah; Rabbi Ora Nitkin-Kaner, Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Congregation; Maggie Yates, Avodah Alum & Administrator, Regional Law and Justice Department, Spokane Washington Moderated by: Cheryl Cook, CEO, Avodah Hosted by: HUC College Commons Book Club

More information coming soon. 

 

Speak Torah Video Series

Speak Torah to Power” is a groundbreaking speaker series that connects today’s most pressing social justice issues with Jewish wisdom to guide us in doing transformative work in the world. In this series, six leading Jewish educators from across the United States explore the connection between activism, service, spirituality, community, Jewish wisdom and the events of our day. More than 15,000 people have already tuned in to Speak Torah to Power.

Discussion Guides: Visit avodah.net/speaktorahtopower to learn more about the speakers and download our free discussion guides to support your communities in exploring these issues and questions together.

Over the past month we have signed on to the following letters of advocacy and co-sponsored the following events:

  • Dayenu’s Chutzpah Campaign – A campaign to share information on how to vote safely with climate concerned voters. Since the election the campaign has shifted to urge President-Elect Biden to take swift action on climate change. (Ongoing)
  • Worker’s Circle Letter re: Protect Our Courts Act – A NY State Act that would halt Immigrant Customs and Enforcement (ICE) actions in and around courthouses in New York State. (Sept 2020)
  • National Council of Jewish Women letters to urge the Senate to keep RBG’s seat open until inauguration (Sept and Oct 2020)
  • Anti-Defamation League Jewish COmmunal Statement Denouncing White Supremacy (Oct 2020)
  • Service Year Alliance’s letter to Presidential candidates about the importance of expanding national service (Oct 2020)
  • Lippman Kanfer Foundation’s Free and Fair Election Day Pledge – A coalition of Jewish organizations who committed to closing on Election Day to enable their staff to take part in ensuring a safe and fair election. (Nov 2020) 
  • National Council of Jewish Women EACH Woman Act letter to repeal the Hyde Amendment (which blocks the use of federal funds for abortions) (Nov 2020)
  • NY State Letter to urge the state legislature to pass elder parole and fair and timely parole acts this session. More info here. (Dec 2020)
  • Bend the Arc Jewish Geography for Good – By being part of this program, individuals can use an app and see which of their contacts are registered to vote in Georgia, and then reach out to them with the information they need to vote safely. (Dec 9, 2020)
  • Bend the Arc Hanukkah Celebration – An event to bring our community in this moment of on-going struggle and triumph. (Dec 17, 2020)
  • Phonebank to Georgia Voters of Color with the Worker’s Circle (Dec 22, 2020)
  • Letter to Governor Cuomo on NY State Prisons and Family Visitation (Dec 23, 2020)
  • Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan Cinematters Film Festival (Jan 2021)
  • Jewish Disability Advocacy Month through Jewish Federations of North America (Feb 2021)

More information coming soon.