When Avodah began with just nine volunteers in a tiny Brooklyn apartment, we took on a challenge to provide Jewish leaders with the skills, knowledge, networks, and community nourishment needed to make real social change. After 23 years, and with more than 1,300+ alumni from around the country (and world!), we are embarking on our next big step – one we believe has the power to not only impact individuals, but the Jewish communal field at large.
In our years of deep, community-based social justice work, we have seen time and time again Jewish leaders across organizations and institutions looking for training and coaching on how to better integrate justice into their organizations. So many want to examine and address their personal and organizational biases, work to be more inclusive, and proactively respond to justice issues of our time…they just don’t know where to begin or get stuck along the way.
The Institute helps Jewish organizations such as synagogues, Jewish Community Centers, Federations, camps, and more, center tzedek (justice) as fundamental to Jewish life. It will support lay leaders, mid-career professionals, and senior Jewish leaders in building their ability to deepen their institutions’ commitment to social change. Programming from the Institute will feature public seminars and symposia, retreats, guest lectures, consulting, and cohort-based learning. We’re especially excited to have staff from Hillel North America as our pilot cohort, which you can read more about in today’s edition of The Forward!
The Institute will also serve as an impact-oriented learning hub offering justice resources and Jewish social justice news, commentary, and thought leadership from trailblazers in the fields of social change and Jewish communal life.
Our hope is that with the Avodah Institute for Social Change, Jewish organizations will be able to deliver visionary policies, engage more robustly in local and national issues, better address the biases and inequities within our own communities, and offer programming that will support and deepen Jewish community and its commitment to social change in sustainable and authentic ways.
Click here to learn more about the Institute for Social Change and the leadership and faculty team behind it. And, be sure to sign up for the Institute’s monthly newsletter, The Gathering, which will feature a “gathering” of news and commentary on today’s most pressing justice issues through a Jewish lens.
Thank you for making this work possible and we look forward to writing this next chapter of Avodah with you.
The Avodah Institute for Social Change is generously funded by Crown Family Philanthropies, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Irving Harris Foundation, Perlin Family Foundation, and The Rakin Family.