As cities across the United States and around the world continue to erupt in protests against anti-black violence, Jewish leaders and communities are grappling with how to respond. At the same time, many Jewish organizations are deepening their internal work for racial justice that they began many months ago – before the start of COVID-19 and before the death of George Floyd. These organizations are now better equipped than ever before to navigate the chaos of our present moment.
The Jewish Social Justice Roundtable awarded nearly $100,000 in matching grants to 21 Jewish social justice organizations for projects that address racism and promote racial equity.
These grants, made with the Jim Joseph Foundation and Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah, offer critical resources to embed practices of racial equity in organizational systems and cultures, and to honor the multiracial realities of the U.S. Jewish community.
Assessing Unmet Needs
The Roundtable had originally planned to allocate $20,000 to support organizations’ efforts. But the needs and requests for funding surpassed the initial budget. The Roundtable received 21 requests to fund strong and innovative projects related to advancing racial justice and equity, including trainings for staff or board, and retreats for Jews of Color who are stakeholders in the organizations.
Modeling a Spirit of Partnership
Motivated by the strength and urgency of the requests that the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable received, the Jim Joseph Foundation and Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah jointly committed in December 2019 to funding these projects for a total of $98,700.
Adjusting In the Time of a Pandemic
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, most organizations are adapting their work. Led by the principle of “compassionate accountability” in our Racial Justice Framework, the Roundtable extended the time frame of the grants by six months, gave organizations more time to raise matching funds, and asked each grantee for a short update about program changes.
The grantees and their programs are as follows. Most of these were the original programs. Some have changed in response to the pandemic, and we anticipate continued changes.
- ALEPH: Decolonizing Earth Based Judaism: A New Ordination Track
- Avodah: Racial Justice Training for Managers
- Bend the Arc: Retreat for JOCISM (Jews of Color, Indigenous Jews, Sephardi & Mizrachi) Staff to Strengthen Relationships and Define BTA’s Racial Equity Goals
- Boston Workers Circle: Racial Equity Training for BWC Member Leaders and Creating a JOCSM Affinity Space
- Habonim Dror Camp Moshava: Diversity Recruiter for Staff and Campers and Training
- Hazon: Racial Justice & Equity Training: Building Multiracial Community
- HIAS: Addressing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the COIVD-19 Era
- Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action: Intersection of Antisemitism and Racism: Addressing Systemic Inequities in Our Communities
- Jewish Community Action: Partnership with Edot: Midwest Jewish Diversity Collaborative for JOC Field Building and Leadership Development
- Jewish Council on Urban Affairs: Training for Staff and Board Members by People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond
- Jewish Youth for Community Action: Culture Articulation Project to Impact Hiring, Onboarding, and Institutional Culture
- Jews for Racial & Economic Justice: Restorative Justice Program in Brooklyn
- Jews United for Justice: Responding to the Pandemic With a Racial Equity Lens
- JOIN for Justice: Centering Equity in Organizational Policies, Systems, Programs, and Services
- Kavod: Retreat for Jews of Color, Indigenous Jews, Sephardi & Mizrachi Caucus
- Keshet: Racial Equity Training and Supportive Coaching for Staff
- Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan: Racial Justice Training for Staff and Lay Leaders
- National Council of Jewish Women: Racial Justice and Equity Trainings for National and Section Staff
- T’ruah: Board Development on Centering Anti-racism
- Urban Adamah: Furthering Racial Equity in Hiring and Retention
- Uri L’Tzedek: Responding to a Culture of Hate & Bigotry in American Orthodox Judaism
This list of projects is energizing and humbling. They represent the potential to better model the multiracial multiethnic reality of our Jewish communities. And there is still a lot more work to do to dismantle racism. To learn more about ways to educate yourself and take action, click here.