WHAT WE DO

ENGAGING IN TRANSFORMATIVE MOVEMENT BUILDING

JFREJ is laying the groundwork for Jewish communities to play an impactful role in a powerful movement for justice. Be a part of that movement.

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Below are our strategies for building that movement. But our work is more than the sum of its parts. Jewish tradition teaches us “great is study for it leads to action,” prioritizing learning that changes us, demands something from us, and leads to impact. As we organize in multiple spheres to transform the system, we simultaneously  transform the consciousness of the people who participate in organizations and movements, as well as the organizers themselves. We seek to make change that will last beyond any one issue campaign or election and will not sacrifice long-term outcomes for short-term gains.

WE TAKE ACTION FOR CHANGE

JFREJ organizes and mobilizes New York’s Jewish community to fight for racial and economic justice through campaigns, programs and actions.

Committed Long-Term Campaigns

We work in coalition and partnership with other grassroots groups around New York City to build and win campaigns. These are long-term projects to achieve specific goals such as passing legislation or changing unjust employment practices. Members plan street actions, advocate in the City Council and choose tactics and strategies designed to win real changes in New Yorkers’ everyday lives.

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Taking Targeted Actions

Movements have moments — periods of intense activity when our collective attention becomes focused on an issue. When these moments occur, JFREJ is there to make sure that Jews are never silent when there is a call for justice. From #BlackLivesMatter to Occupy Wall Street to The People’s Climate March, JFREJ mobilizes Jews to be a visible, powerful presence in the streets.

Forceful Thought Leadership

Our actions can’t happen in a vacuum. We need ideas to nurture and guide our deeds. Drawing on the rich traditions and instructive histories of the Jewish political left, we challenge ourselves and the larger Jewish community through editorials, educational events and engagement with journalists and social media designed to move us all toward responsible action.

Building Strong Partnerships

Our deep and lasting relationships with other communities are the heart of JFREJ’s activism. We build partnerships with organizations and coalitions led by those directly targeted by racial and economic oppression. We build partnerships across the Jewish community with rabbis, synagogues, organizations, and leaders with whom we share alignment on core values and strategic goals. Knitting these communities together into a powerful movement able to effect real change is what JFREJ is all about.

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Transforming Communities

We know that laws aren’t the only roadblocks on the path toward a more just world. Culture and communities have to shift as well. This culture shift is an ongoing practice — communities are transformed by taking part in movements and the sustained engagement with their neighbors and partners in that movement. So we help individual Jews and Jewish institutions become better allies in the fight for racial and economic justice. We do this by working alongside and challenging Jewish organizations and individuals with trainings and political education — calling them to action. We work internally to model a Jewish community focused on actively working for justice, dedicated to honoring our diversity, healing from our histories of oppression, and committed to staying in the struggle for the long-haul — the JFREJ culture of joyful and resilient radicalism.

WE BUILD FOR STRONG MOVEMENTS

To do all of this we invest in and build our powerful community. We need Jews with the leadership, analysis and skills necessary to play a vital role at the heart of transformative social justice. By building our community, we are creating committed allies who understand themselves to be in struggle with other communities; all of us working together for justice.

In other words, we are building a movement. Here’s how:

Base Building

Fighting to win real change means growing movements and campaigns too strong to be ignored. We’ve built a powerful, diverse, intergenerational base of Jews: secular and religious; Ashkenazi, Mizrahi, and Sephardi; white Jews and Jews of color, queer, gay, trans*, and straight Jews, individuals and families. We build our base through targeted outreach, one-on-one meetings, new member orientations, Shabbat dinners, and campaign and community events.

Political Education

We build the skills, political analysis, and cultural knowledge of our members to make our campaigns more meaningful and our actions more effective. Our members and staff work together to sharpen our thinking, deepen our understanding of complex issues and share that knowledge throughout our community. We value education that is participatory and rooted in the lived experience of our community.

Leadership Development

We help our members develop into committed leaders by supporting their learning and practice, encouraging them to take responsibility for challenging projects, providing mentorship and political education opportunities, cultivating peer support networks, and providing accessible chances to practice leadership alongside our partner organizations. Our Grace Paley Organizing Fellowship allows member leaders to take their work to the next level through rigorous skill building, mentorships and political education.

Countering Oppression

Like many communities, as Jews we have our own painful histories of trauma and oppression. We know that we need to heal from this history in order for our fellowship of Jewish activists to be their most powerful and accountable selves. Through arts and culture, community conversations, and ritual, we draw on lessons from our history to integrate an analysis of trauma and healing into our organizing.

Resource Development

We believe that committing financial resources to this movement is a political act and a key way to stand against oppression. So we fundraise for ourselves and for our partner organizations. The forces of oppression always seem to have plenty of money; we want our movements to be powerful and funded. And we want to remain accountable to our members — not big foundations — so we ask our members to fund us. Class-conscious grassroots fundraising allows us to take risks, stay true to our beliefs and engage our entire community in the project of building power on behalf of justice.

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JFREJ members drive this work and turn this ambitious vision into a reality every day. Help us bring the Jewish community to the fight for racial and economic justice in New York City.