Meet the New Affiliates
The Jewish community has a critical role to play in helping to solve America’s problems because American Jews care deeply about this country and its future. Twenty-first Century polls continue to confirm what our families have known for generations: the vast majority of American Jews across the spectrum from atheist to secular to every kind of observant consider pursuing justice and caring for others the key to their Jewish identity.
That’s why, independently of each other, Jewish organizations devoted to an economic and social justice agenda sprouted up in places as different as Washington and St. Paul, or New York and San Francisco – each furthering the same mission – mobilizing Jews to take action on issues of basic fairness and economic opportunity. It’s no accident that each of these organizations has a commitment to working across lines of race, class and faith to make their communities better places to live and to help hold America to its promise. Those commonalities led to the birth of Bend the Arc, which resulted from the merger of the Progressive Jewish Alliance in California and Jewish Funds for Justice in New York.
Shortly thereafter, Jews United for Justice in Washington, DC and Jewish Community Action in St. Paul decided to affiliate with Bend the Arc, which today has offices in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, Philadelphia and Boston.
Jews United for Justice and Jewish Community Action each have a history of organizing Jews within their respective communities in support of better wages, affordable housing, workers’ rights, marriage equality, anti-bias and fair immigration laws, and other polices that promote economic opportunity and equality and strengthen civil rights. By affiliating, our three organizations have strengthened our ability to support each other in local campaigns and engage the Jewish community nationally in pursuit of domestic policy goals. You can read more about our affiliations in The Forward.
Our Collaboration with JOIN for Justice
JOIN for Justice was launched in early 2012 as a joint venture of the Jewish Organizing Initiative and Bend the Arc. JOIN was born from their shared vision to respond to the increasing demand for skillful leaders able to apply organizing skills and principles to further economic and social justice.
About JOIN for Justice
The Jewish Organizing Institute and Network for Justice (JOIN for Justice), is a national organization dedicated to training, supporting, and connecting Jewish organizers and their communities. JOIN for Justice responds to the escalating demand for skillful leaders who use organizing principles and practices to achieve positive social change both inside the Jewish community and in the world.
JOIN's core programs include the Jewish Organizing Fellowship, a year-long fellowship program for Jewish young adults where participants gain the organizing skills and experience needed to build powerful communities and create a just world; and the Seminary Leadership Project which provides rabbinic, cantorial, and education students at different seminaries around the country with organizing and leadership development training, mentorship, and opportunities to strengthen bonds with student from different seminaries. JOIN for Justice has trained hundreds of leaders with the tools they need to create lasting and effective change. Learn more about JOIN for Justice.
Seeding the Field
When Bend the Arc began encouraging synagogues to pursue social justice through congregation-based community organizing (CBCO) in 2002 there were only a dozen or two participating synagogues. Today there are hundreds. Bend the Arc was instrumental in growing this field nationwide, and convened the first and second national conferences for synagogue-based organizers with hundreds of organizers, volunteers, and Rabbis gathered to learn and share wisdom. They supported the launch of URJ’s Just Congregations and grew and sustained the Seminary Leadership Project.
As a founding partner of JOIN for Justice, Bend the Arc is proud to continue this tradition of training skilled leaders and building a stronger Jewish community.
Through our affiliations and partnerships we are best able to learn from each other’s experience, collaborate in developing and executing effective strategies that further our goals, work together on campaigns, and share programs and organizing methods.