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November 7, 2009

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November 7, 2009

Justice. Working towards achieving social and economic justice is no easy task. It requires tremendous dedication, support, knowledge, vision, empathy, direction, friendship, humor, sprit, and much more. JOI provides fellows/participants all of these things and the ‘much more.’ It is an immensely unique program that allows its participants to direct and create for themselves and also be guided by talented teachers and community members in the life-long process of determining how to make change and bring about justice. We all have something to offer in this plight and JOI helps people discover, cultivate, grow, celebrate, and explore both what they can offer their community and what their community can offer them. JOI was a truly transformative experience for me; I use lessons learned from JOI in my personal and professional life every day.

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The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Genuine, dedicated, diverse, and talented

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

November 3, 2009

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November 3, 2009

JOI has changed my life! I knew that I wanted to help people before JOI but I didn't know that really I wanted to organize the communities around me to create systemic change. I cannot thank JOI enough for the positive experience I have had from my fellowship year and the ever-lasting sense of community they create. JOI helped me share my story with others, and reflect personally on what type of leader I want to be. I now know that I want to spend the rest of my life working in the Jewish community. JOI takes leaders and give them the tools to empower those around them to work towards a better world.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

their ability to create effective leaders.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 30, 2009

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October 30, 2009

JOI is uniquely poised to train young adults to develop their own leadership skills and strengthen both the Jewish and secular communities from the ground up. As a fellow, I was given the invaluable opportunity to work and reflect weekly alongside other Jewish young adults with different levels of observance and different political and social values, but a shared passion for tzedek (justice) and tikkun olam (repair of the world). As a result, I came to examine my own Jewish beliefs and values and finally found a way "back in" to the Judaism I'd been growing apart from since becoming bat mitzvah. While I'd previously frequented synagogues and Jewish events in the community, no other Jewish program connected my core values and beliefs with Jewish education and skills-building in a concrete, experiential, identity-shifting way. Later, I volunteered as a "mentor/buddy" to two current fellows for 2 years and assisted in developing and facilitating the training for other buddies. I've experienced both first-hand and as a volunteer how JOI transforms lives--both the lives of the fellows and those who are engaged by fellows to transform and impact their communities. For the past 4 years, I've shared lessons learned at JOI in my work building Jewish community with college students. An investment in JOI is an investment not just in the lives of the individual fellows, but in the communities and lives of all that those fellows will shape throughout their lifetimes, and all that the impacted leaders they've developed will go on to change, etc. etc.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

using skills like power mapping, fundraising/friendraising, 1-to-1's, etc. in my work on college campuses and being actively involved in the Jewish community once again--a dues-paying synagogue member.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the concrete skills and knowledge gained through trainings, weekly sessions, and retreats.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

committed, dedicated, intelligent, multi-taskers with real-world experience in community organizing.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

develop chapters all around the country, doing a great deal more good.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 30, 2009

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October 30, 2009

In three different years I met with the volunteers to lead a seminar on the role of Jewishness and of Israel in their lives. Those seminars were fascinating and exciting. The volunteers were extremely thoughtful people with good access to their own emotional and intellectual processes. They were serious and mature. It was clear that their internships would be important in their own further growth and that they would be serious assets to the host organizations in which they would work. JOI itself is an excellent organization. Their selection process had been first=rate, and the programs are first-rate. It is a pleasure to recommen JOI strongly and with no resergvations.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the high quality of the selection process and the smooth and thoughtful staff work. No glitches; steady support.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

working in annual interactive seminars with the volunteers. I taught similar year-long seminar courses at University of Michigan with a similar population. JOI's people were terrific! Smart, thoughtful, dedicated--first-rate!

Ways to make it better...

I could also have met with the volunteers a second time during their placements and been able then to give feedback to the organization re possible improvements.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

October 30, 2009

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October 30, 2009

bs"d In one sentence: the eye-opening experience of a lifetime. JOI is not only an organization. It's a caring, warm, welcoming and empowering community. With a carefully planned pedagogical syllabus, and a passionate and knowledgeable staff, JOI puts together a hands-on community building and community organizing program led by some of the most experienced community organizers and scholars who join efforts in creating an environment that fosters open, heated and intellectual debates. Its network of mentors, past alumni and volunteers is a most resourceful tool to promote personal and social change that is long-lasting and effective. One of the most fascinating aspects of my experience at JOI is that we DO make a difference. Every Friday before Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath), we sit together, learn from each other, exchange information and create a support group that causes a great impact in the grassroots work that we do. You feel Tikkun Olam (the Jewish ideal to repair and make the world a better place) is not an abstract concept but rather is a reality and its pursuit becomes a lifestyle. Many times I walked into communities whose degree of exposure to Jews ranged from a feeling of hostility and animosity to complete ignorance and lack of awareness. My work in low income communities not only helped improve the condition of populations that lacked public health awareness or knowledge of workers' rights, but also helped break stereotypes and stigmas. It was a truly transformative experience to walk into Churches, community centers, local community gatherings and underserved areas and see that our work is empowering people, challenging views and even saving lives. All that I owe to JOI. And JOI is not only limited to the 50 states. Its impact can be felt anywhere from Argentina and the slums of Brazil to Russia and the Middle East as some of its volunteers like myself, return to their countries to impact local communities after having contributed to the beautiful fabric of the Human Rights and Social development efforts in the US.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the resourcefulness wherein their network of mentors, scholars, alumni and volunteers helped me design and implement several Public Health and Workers' rights projects and campaigns that generated immediate results.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

In one sentence: the eye-opening experience of a lifetime. JOI is not only an organization. It's a caring, warm, welcoming and empowering community. One of the most fascinating aspects of my experience at JOI is that we DO make a difference.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

passionate, knowledgeable and empowering. They were always attentive and tried to help identify opportunities for personal and professional growth.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change the world!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 29, 2009

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October 29, 2009

The Jewish Organizing Intiative (JOI) enabled me to immerse myself in the Jewish community for a whole year. I learned about social justice through a Jewish lens, interacted with other fellows who were part of various Jewish denominations and movements and took a closer look at my life to better understand my cultural heritage. JOI has a long lasting impact on its participants, and I would highly recommend this organization and its fellowship program.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

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If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

start building the curriculm in other parts of the country to allow individuals in their 20s to participate in the JOI experience.

Ways to make it better...

the fellows were living in closer proximity to one another during their fellowship.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2007

October 29, 2009

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October 29, 2009

I had the honor of being a JOI Fellow during the '07-'08 Fellowship year. It would not be an overstatement to say that doing JOI was one the best decisions that I have ever made. Not only did I learn an incredible array of practical tools to do better social justice work I met an incredible array of people and was transformed Jewishly. During my fellowship year we were trained by some of the most thoughtful and talented organizers and Jewish leaders that I have ever come across. I have been able to use the things I learned at every turn in my work as a community organizer and had my Jewish identity strengthened in the process. As an active member of the JOI alumni community I continue to learn a lot from my relationship with JOI and I continue to grow as a Jew and as a person.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

incredible social justice training

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the wonderful community it built for me and the new skills it taught me.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

incredibly dedicated and incredibly talented.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

move to other areas of the country and transform other Jewish communities. It could also help establish similar programs in other non-Jewish communities.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 28, 2009

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October 28, 2009

I am a graduate of the JOI fellowship program, class of 2008. My year with JOI was the most meaningful, powerful, and informative experience of my life; and one that gave me the skills and passions to thrive in the social justice community. As fellows, Every week we received extensive training in community organizing, worked with rabbis to explore the social justice ideals inherent to Judaism, and worked together on an organizing project which we designed ourselves to strengthen our own community. Since my JOI year I have gone on to law school, where the skills I learned in JOI to build and strengthen a progressive community of law students and you lawyers.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my fellowship year, and in my development ever since.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the people I met and formed life-long friendship with.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

dedicated, passionate organizers devoted to imparting their wisdom and the spirit of Tikkun Olam.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Train thousands of progressive, dedicated Jewish organizers to empower communities across America.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 28, 2009

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October 28, 2009

I am a JOI alumnus (05-06). JOI is an incredible organization! I gained so much as a fellow, both personally and professionally, that I still seek to give back. I am currently a buddy to a current JOI fellow and co-chair of the PR committee. JOI has changed the face of progessive Jewish Boston. JOI fellows and alums are deeply involved in local social change work in Jewish communities and beyond.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

many ways, as a fellow and an alum.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

their commitment to training young Jewish professionals to become leaders in social justice movements and organizations.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

AMAZING!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 26, 2009

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October 26, 2009

I am currently a fellow with JOI. Even before I started my fellowship year, I saw how JOI had created a network of progressive young Jews working for change and I wanted to be a part of it. The JOI program is even better than I ever imagined. I loved school and attended a great University (Wesleyan) but the intentional learning community created by JOI far exceeds these past educational experiences. It's shocking to realize how much I've learned and grown in just a few weeks of JOI. Not only have I made progress as an organizer, but JOI really opened my eyes to a way practice Judaism meaningfully, something which I hadn't even realized I was missing. The only major change I would make to JOI is that it should be bigger and in more places. I know they have the desire and ability to make that leap, if they can just find the funding.

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If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

expand to more cities and revive the wonderful Jewish tradition of activism and working for civil rights and social justice on a national scale.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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