We are writing with some bittersweet news. After many months of discussion, AJWS and AVODAH have made the decision to wind down our shared program – Pursue: Action for a Just World – by the end of 2012. Over the last two years, both AJWS and AVODAH have engaged to various degrees in intensive strategic planning processes. Each organization has refined and focused our respective strategic visions and organizational goals. AVODAH is clear that in order to fulfill its mission of supporting the Jewish community’s fight against poverty by creating Jewish leaders for social change, it must focus on guiding and inspiring its alumni network and their peers in domestic anti-poverty efforts. And AJWS is committed to mobilizing the U.S. Jewish community – including its alumni and other constituents – to effect U.S. policy change in support of marginalized people in the developing world realizing their human rights.
As these separate paths have crystallized for AJWS and AVODAH, we have come to realize that Pursue, in its current iteration, is no longer a strategic fit for either of our organizations. But this decision in no way diminishes our shared commitment to young Jews dedicated to social justice. It allows AJWS to ramp up its commitment with targeted programming around national campaigns such as Reverse Hunger, travel to the developing world and deeper opportunities to make long-lasting social change. And it enables AVODAH to strengthen the network of people who participated in its immersive year long program and to find ways for alumni to collaborate with peers who share their interests, values and goals of alleviating poverty in the U.S.
This summer and fall, the Pursue New York community will have a robust, exciting menu of opportunities to plug into, including programs planned by the stellar Pursue City Team, Justice & Jewish Thought Summer School, Meet the Change networking events and a closing celebration party tentatively scheduled for late November. In the Bay Area, a summer film series on food justice will be the last Pursue event. The Pursue blog will continue for the next while. And although Pursue will wind down by the end of 2012, the Pursue staff you are accustomed to hearing from remain on staff and are excited to speak with you about different opportunities to plug into AJWS and AVODAH in your cities and nationally.
It has been a privilege for AJWS and AVODAH, through Pursue, to engage with such an inspiring community of activists and thought leaders. Moving forward, both organizations are deeply committed to providing Pursuers with the opportunities, skills and tools needed to make powerful change in the world. With AJWS, you can put your head, heart and hands to work through targeted strategies that maximize our power as allies of marginalized people in the developing world who seek access to their basic human rights; with AVODAH, you can develop and strengthen your skills as Jewish leaders for social change working to alleviate poverty in the United States.
AJWS and AVODAH are grateful to all who have shaped Pursue – from the innovative funders who helped seed this partnership, to the 165 Jewish organizational partners with which Pursue has collaborated over the last six years, and most importantly to you, the Pursue community. We look forward to continuing to advance the Jewish social justice movement with you in a multitude of ways now and in the future.
We encourage you to check out a not-quite-final snapshot of some of the pretty great things that Pursue has accomplished over the last six years (if we don’t say so ourselves!).
With great respect,
The Pursue Team:
- Merrill Zack, director, Pursue and associate director, education & community engagement, AJWS email@example.com
- Stephanie Ruskay, senior advisor, Pursue & director of alumni & community engagement, AVODAH firstname.lastname@example.org
- Audrey Sasson, senior program officer, Pursue/AJWS email@example.com
- Suzanne Lipkin, program officer, Pursue/AJWS firstname.lastname@example.org
- Erica Hymen, program officer, Pursue/AJWS email@example.com
- Chanel Dubofsky, program associate, Pursue/AJWS firstname.lastname@example.org
And our leaders at AJWS and AVODAH:
- Ruth Messinger, president, AJWS
- Marilyn Sneiderman, executive director, AVODAH