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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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The Great!

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

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 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

October 23, 2009

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October 23, 2009

JOI changed my life forever. Before my fellowship year, I worked at a marginally effective non-profit and was frustrated with how slow and imperfect our efforts at change were. Once in JOI, I learned the real skills necessary for tikkun olam, practiced them, and developed those skills as a spiritual practice that connected my to long-ignored Judaism. Now my pursuit of justice is more powerful, effective, and personally transformative. I cannot imagine how empty my life would be without everything and everyone I've learned from at JOI.

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

friends for life. JOI-niks are loving and pushy people that help me be the best I can be every day.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 20, 2009

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October 20, 2009

My experience as a JOI Fellow was wonderful. JOI, while a small organization, uses the resources, including alumni, community members, experienced organizers, and the Boston Jewish community, at its disposal incredibly effectively to achieve its goals of training Jewish social justice leaders. Throughout the year I was a JOI Fellow, and now, as an alumna, I am very aware of the resources I have access to that will help me continue to develop as an organizer and a leader. JOI is well grounded in its values, and that is apparent in everything that JOI does.

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

committed not only to the continued success of JOI as an organization, but to reaching towards a vision of the world as it should be. They were compassionate and committed to the development and growth of each and every Fellow.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 18, 2009

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October 18, 2009

The Jewish Organizing Initiative is a fabulous organization that is slowly transforming the social justice world in Boston---through the intentional cultivation of young leaders in organizing. JOI has changed the way that I look at the world and given me a radical new set of skills with which to address injustice. Never before have I been in a community that challenges me as persistently and effectively as this.

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

expand outside of Boston, creating hubs of Jewish organizing in cities across the country!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 17, 2009

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October 17, 2009

I have been involved with a number of organizationsn that have had JOI fellows and I have known a number of JOI fellows. Each fellow has made, at a young age, a major impact on the organization they serve and directly on the people at the organization. There are few non-profits that can claim that and mean it. If we could clone JOI and have in every major city, the impact would really be transformational. I think the aspect of JOI that I really love is the connection between organizing and its roots in Jewish history and text. This makes so much sense to me and can strentghten both the Jewish and the organizing communities at the same time.

The Great!

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

multiple organizations - JCRC, Keshet and Gesher City. Each have benefitted from the people and the organizing theory of JOI.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 17, 2009

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October 17, 2009

My experience at JOI was one of the defining moments of my early career and has critically impacted the way I approach my work and see the world! Learning how to develop others' leadership and organize around issues impacting a community are skills that have greatly benefitted me in my subsequent jobs and experiences. I also gained a new awareness of how inequalities manifest themselves in society and what we can do to change the status quo. Being part of JOI also enabled me to plug into a vast network of social justice and Jewish resources and organizations in the greater Boston community, and gave me the opportunity to meet amazing community leaders, activists and friends.

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

The in-depth community organizing skills that I gained through my work and through sessions with leading activists and organizers from across the northeast.

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

Passionate, dedicated and super-intelligent.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 16, 2009

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October 16, 2009

The Jewish Organizing Initiative is an incredible program. It trains jewish young adults to be leaders in the jewish community, and act effectively for real lasting social change. It has re-engaged me into the Jewish world, help me understand my own Jewish identity and has taught me valuable leadership skills. I am a much better organizer because of JOI.

The Great!

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

I have learned important organizing and leadership skills.

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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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