A core function of the Roundtable is to convene our organizations and help them learn from each other and from experts in the field. The Roundtable builds the capacity of our organizations by convening regular in-person trainings for staff from across the network. Consistently, at least half of the participants in these trainings are new to the Roundtable.
We hosted three West Coast trainings in 2017- one on Fundraising, led by Ruth Messinger, "Mentor-in-Chief" with the Roundtable, and Stephanie Rapp, Program Officer at the Walter and Elise Haas Fund. Yavilah McCoy led a day-long Racial Justice Workshop. We also worked with UpStart to create a Pitch in Action workshop for Bay Area organizations in creating and refining our organizations' pitches, and we then received feedback directly from funders as we strengthened our relationships with local foundations.
We hosted 3 more regional racial justice trainings in 2017, trained by Yavilah McCoy, Suzanne Feinspan, Dove Kent, Koach Frazier, and Miriam Messinger. See more about their powerful impact below.
In summer 2016, Joan Garry trained executive directors and board leaders in how to build a strong Board of Directors. In spring 2016, the Roundtable convened Jewish social justice organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area for a day of learning, networking and skills-building.
In 2015, we hosted a Fundraising Training, in which over 60 fundraising professionals gathered to learn new skills and perspectives from Ruth Messinger with American Jewish World Service and Idit Klein with Keshet, as well as from each other. We also hosted a training on the Voter File for organizations beginning to use the crutcial civic engagement tool.
In October 2014, the Roundtable convened 60 Jewish Social Justice professionals from 30 organizations from across the country for a two-tracked gathering on: Advanced Community Organizing facilitated by JOIN for Justice and Internal Organizational Structures faciliated by representatives from The Management Center and Bikkurim. Attendees were given the opportunity to learn from each other in addition to experts while also leaving with concrete pragmatic professional skills to enhance their practice. In December 2015, a similar sized group gathered to learn fundraising skills from Ruth Messinger with American Jewish World Service and Idit Klein with Keshet, as well as from each other.
Racial Justice Effort
As a multi-racial and multi-ethnic Jewish community, we are prioritizing our commitment to racial justice and racial equity both within and beyond our Jewish community as an expression of our Jewish and justice values.
In 2017, our core focus in this effort was to support our organizations by offering trainings and support to learn about racial justice and what it means to be an equitable organization. We also convened a community of practice of organizations engaged in transformative racial justice journeys both virtually and in person.
Our regional racial justice trainings - in Berkeley, CA, Washington, DC, Boston, MA, and Detroit, MI - brought Jewish learnings on racial justice and equity to more than half of our member organizations around the US. Our facilitators, listed above, offered us interactive workshops to explore how Jewish wisdom can inform our understanding of racial justice, delve deeply into the dynamics of implicit bias and how they play out in our organizations, and expand our awareness of the intersections of racism and anti-Semitism and their implications.
They provided a tailored set of frameworks and concrete tools, particularly relevant to those working in the the Jewish social justice field, in an environment of curiosity, compassion and challenge.
Through teaching, coaching, singing, challenging, and supporting each other, we learned about how to work on racial justice both as individuals and as organizations. The trainings are just the beginning of the work, and our commitment to bringing racial justice to the core of the Roundtable continues. See here for resources on racial justice.
The Jewish Social Justice Roundtable convened over 120 staff of Roundtable organizations at Pearlstone Retreat Center in November 2013 for our first Network Assembly. The Network Assembly built relationships across Roundtable organizations, engaged in collective visioning and built skills and capacity of the Jewish social justice field. 20% of participants led activities, including 18 sessions on topics like: Cultivating Spiritual Sustainability, What Anti-Oppression Organizing and Constituency Organizing Have to Say to Each Other, and Challenges and Opportunities of Coalition Building.
In 2017 we held our second Network Assembly! With 160 staff from 46 organizations in the Roundtable, we spent a powerful few days together building relationships, learning about our field as a whole, gaining concrete skills to bring back to our work, and learning from experts and each other on topics that are especially relevant to our network today. And, in the spirit of our racial justice commitment, we focused on racial justice throughout the Assembly. A full day was devoted to an impactful series of trainings, especially focused on lifting up the experiences of Jews of Color. We held an optional add-on day for the community of practice for organizations deeply engaged in the work of racial justice. We were guided by trainers Yavilah McCoy, Koach Frazier, Aba Taylor, Jo Kent Katz, Suzanne Feinspan, and Dove Kent. The journey was guided with love and with meaningful challenges, and was particularly profound as all 160 attendees learned and grew together.
Other Capacity Building
The Roundtable also works to build capacity of our organizations by:
organizing peer coaching initiatives to provide staff the opportunity to coach and be coached by a peer who works at a different organization yet faces similar professional challenges
offering extended, tailored coaching with experts, like Op-Ed coaching with experts from Auburn Seminary or Planned/Legacy Giving coaching with expert Lori Kranczer
mentoring executives through Ruth Messinger serving as our Mentor-in-Chief
organizing network-wide webinars or conference calls on topics of interest, including convening communities of practice
In 2013, dozens of Roundtable organizations worked together to educate, advocate and organize on immigration reform and to improve the lives of immigrants at the local, national and international level. Read up-to-the-minute updates on our blog.
Victories at the Ballot Box
In 2016, 11 Jewish social justice organizations worked to raise up issues of justice in the election. Through voter turnout, registration, and education - as well as ballot measure advocacy - they spoke with over 10,000 voters. They developed over 2,500 new leaders, put on over 100 civic engagement events, and scheduled over 700 volunteer shifts.
We also mobilized in 2012 with some amazing results:
Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice helped pass Proposition 30 in California, a progressive tax increase to invest in schools, public safety and state infrastructure.
Jewish Community Action helped defeat constitutional amendments in Minnesota that would have banned same-sex marriage and require photo identification to vote.
Jews United for Justice helped pass Maryland ballot measures for marriage equality and the Dream Act, providing in-state tuition discounts to undocumented students.
National Council of Jewish Women helped defeat ballot measures in Florida that would have taken away reproductive health care for women and allowed for public funding of religious schools and programs.
Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, in collaboration with immigrant rights groups, educated and mobilized immigrant voters in Chicago.
JCRC of Greater Boston, JCRC of Greater Detroit, Uri L’Tzedek and the National Council of Jewish Women in Pittsburgh educated hundreds of Jews on a range of social justice issues through candidate forums and events.
These successes - and more - were supported by the trainings and coaching from JOIN for Justice.
Define America 2010 was the first national coordinated voter outreach effort of its kind from the Jewish community. Jewish communities in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and New York registered voters, discussed issues, hosted candidate forums and helped people in communities with historically low voter turnout make it to the polls.
Jewish Social Justice Briefings at the White House
In 2011 and 2012, Roundtable members from across the country visited the White House to strategize on housing, health care, food justice and education. After a series of policy briefings, we discussed issues of concern with senior advisers Valerie Jarrett, Jon Carson and Cecilia Munoz.
Social Justice Presence at the General Assembly
In partnership with the Jewish Federation of North America, the Roundtable organized social justice activities at the 2010 General Assembly in New Orleans.
60 Roundtable members led more than 1700 GA attendees in service learning projects throughout New Orleans.
Roundtable members organized two panels: “Elevating Social Justice from Inside the System” and “Funding Jewish Social Justice: Perspectives from Donors.”
We created and distributed “Praying with Our Legs,” a booklet highlighting stories of young Jews working for social justice.