I participated in the Selah leadership program, which was interesting--I met some good people, but the program didn't really help me to connect my leadership with Judaism or social justice. I've enjoyed many of the teachings that have come out of JFJ and jspot, but there doesn't seem to be much action.
The Selah Leadership Program sponsored by JFSJ was a transformative experience for me as an individual and as a leader. Selah helped me articulate my purpose and a clearer vision for my work, stay more grounded in order to constructively move through difficult moments, learn a set of concrete tools (for instance, constructing a meeting agenda with a clear purpose, set of outcomes, and process and listening actively in order to most effectively engage and contribute), and connect with a community of Jewish social change leaders who have become both colleagues and friends. I'm so grateful to have had the chance to participate in Selah and support the program ongoing.
Jewish Funds for Justice has been at the forefront in supporting synagogues to embrace interfaith organizing for social justice. With creativity and innovation, they've helped spread the work using a variety of strategies, including linking leaders from around the country, creating accessible yet compelling documents to explain and lift up what the work is, grantmaking, convening national gatherings, and supporting/challenging people diverse segments of the Jewish world. Moreover, they've persisted in this work over a period of years, rather than moving on after the first flush of success. Their work has directly strengthened me and many others. I also appreciate their focus on economic justice, and their steady involvement in both the Jewish institutional world and in many diverse communities supporting self-determination.
Jewish Funds for Justice does an excellent job of of using money as a positive force for change. They develop high quality educational resources and engage the communities they work with in a powerful and effective way.
I've had an incredible experience with the Jewish Funds for Justice. The Selah Leadership program changed my life, connected me to incredible people and resources and positively impacted my own organization. The leadership resources have helped me as I've increased my role in my organization and helped build innovative partnerships that continue now, years later. Also, their grantmaking efforts and support to local organizations, makes sure to keep JFSJ accountable to local organizing, even as they support a variety of national/state/local leaders.
My experience with the Jewish Funds for Justice has been through the Selah Leadersip Program, and through their email bulletins. I nominated a staff member for an award that I learned about through the emails, which is how I learned about Selah as well. Participating in Selah was a transformation experience for me as a then new Executive Director of another non-profit, Disability Rights Legal Center. The training and trainers were excellent, the follow up with thoughtful and thorough. I continue to implement the trainings.
My primary contact with JFSJ is as a participant in the Selah Leadership Program. Selah is incredibly high quality program that both creates community, builds individual skills and helps people to envision their work as part of a broader social justice movement. This is hard to accomplish together. I stayed invovled as a volunteer organizer for Selah and am always impressed by four main elements of the work: thoughtful, inclusive, pushing to a deeper level and organized. My other interaction was years ago as a grantseeker and I remember not always being clear on why they were attracted to certain social justice organizations and not others (we didn't get funded!) I hope to stay involved--JFSJ has been excellent at convening powerful and creative groups of people committed to justice and change.
Thanks to the generous support of the Jewish Funds For Justice, our congregation has deepened the social justice work amongst our teens and families with Middle School Students. For the past 2 summers, we have had a social justice internship for our teens staffed by a rabbinic student. And this winter, our 8th graders and their parents will be going to the Gulf Coast to work with individuals and families still struggling to recover from Hurricane Katrina.
I went on a trip to New Orleans with JFSJ and had one of the most meaningful experiences of my life! I've never felt more at home as a Jew. I made some meaningful connections that I'll never forget.
I have been involved as a participant of JFSJ's landmark Selah Leadership Program, which trains Jewish social justice leaders in personal ecology, leadership skills, and management skills. I have seen the way that the Selah Leadership Program uniquely takes people who were not in touch with their Jewishness or who were active as individuals but unaware of others like them and brings them together in ways that produce deep new relationships and innovative new programs. The organization has demonstrated a youthful energy and a willingness to innovate, which is infectious.
One of my favorite Jewish organizations! Besides my tremendous work and training experiences with JFSJ, I have become a regular donor to the group because of the impact it has had on my career and on the field of faith-based justice work. Most impressive is their four-star rating on CharityNavigator.org!
JFSJ partnered with the AJC to organize a trip for myself and nine other women on a mission to rebuild New Orleans last winter break, and it was a life changing experience. The JFSJ mentors were truly inspiring.
As a seminary student, JFSJ became home to a program that taught me and many other future Rabbi's and Cantor's how to do CBCO. This class was crucial to the Cantor I am today, I gained confidence because I understood how power worked and I know how to create allies and use the power-structure to be successful. I learned how to get to know people by finding their personal stories, and how powerful that personal motive is for acting in the world. CBCO is not something I do currently, but the tools have helped me to reach my congregants in a way I never thought possible, thank you JFSJ for your seminary class, you are having a big hand in the future of Jewish leaders.
I had a life-changing experience on my trip to New Orleans in February 2009. Honestly. The combination of helping a community that is in great need (insulating and dry-walling homes for Hurricane Katrina victims), learning about the community and governmental reaction/inaction to the storm and its aftermath (speakers included healthcare, housing, & Jewish community professionals), connecting with volunteers/clients/community organizers/trip leaders, and the educational sessions that enabled us to talk about our experiences and apply Jewish theology to our experiences all made for a well-rounded & inspiring experience, and enabled new friendships. After returning from our trip, I was so inspired by my experience with the organization that I decided I needed to do something that made the best use of my talents and my voice. So my husband and I wrote an article for the Atlanta Jewish Times and the JFSJ newsletter. Professional Photographer magazine also did an article about me, our trip and the photographs I took while there. I recommend this trip and the organization to everyone looking to be a part of something larger than themselves, to have an impact on a community in need, and to connect with other similar-minded Jewish people.