The American Jewish community is bursting with talent, good will, and activity. Whether we’re helping to rebuild Haiti, responding to the forest fires in northern Israel, or advocating for equitable labor practices in the United States, I am proud that our community is deeply engaged in fighting injustice. I have enormous respect for the growing number of groups and organizations – local and global – that are alleviating poverty and hunger and securing human rights. But I believe we could all benefit from greater collaboration and partnership. So, this year, my New Year’s Resolution is to continue to maximize collaboration between and among social justice organizations, and to share knowledge and best practices as we work for justice in every corner of our global community.
My New Year’s resolution for the next year (and hopefully many after) is to integrate service work and organizing for systemic change so that we can help people move from poverty, hopelessness, and despair to become activists who seize control of and change their lives, their communities, and society.
While we absolutely need to provide sustenance and services to people in need, providing certain kinds of direct service repeatedly does not actually change the dynamics of poverty. We also have to work for systemic change to genuinely address the underlying conditions that contribute to the cycle of poverty so that people in need aren’t constantly dependent on others. An essential part of that process is engaging those who are affected by these issues in the process of change.
Within the Jewish community there are increasing numbers of young Jewish adults who believe that it is their responsibility to change the world and make it a more just place. At AVODAH and Pursue we provide the space and the training to enable these young Jews to grow into life-long agents for social change. As I look toward the future, I am inspired and excited to be at the helm of an organization that will work toward integrating service and systemic change.
What is YOUR New Year’s resolution?