Jewish Funds for Justice

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The Jewish Funds for Justice (JFSJ) was an American charity based in New York. In 2005, Simon Greer became its President and CEO.[1]. In 2011, Progressive Jewish Alliance merged with Jewish Funds for Justice (JFSJ).

History[edit]

The original Jewish Fund for Justice (JFJ) was created in 1984. Si Kahn and David Tobin spent eighteen months organizing the Fund [2]. Its first board chair was Kahn and its first executive director was Lois Roisman.[3]

JFSJ was created in 2006 when the Jewish Fund for Justice [4] merged with The Shefa Fund (founded in 1990). JFSJ then merged with Spark: The Partnership for Jewish Service in February, 2007. [5] While JFSJ is one of many Jewish organizations that receives funding from the Open Society Foundation for one of its projects, it does not receive any other funding from George Soros or his philanthropies.[1][2]

On June 1, 2011, Progressive Jewish Alliance merged with Jewish Funds for Justice (JFSJ), adopting the name Bend the Arc in 2012.

Divisions[edit]

  • Through its Alliance & Base Building Division, JFSJ worked to solidify the broad foundation of a Jewish social change movement. The activities of this division include Congregation-Based Community Organizing, supporting Jewish social change alliances, and online action.
  • Through its Capital Programs division, JFSJ mobilized Jewish financial resources to create social change. This division made grants to community-based organizations, invested Jewish dollars in Community Development Financial Institutions, and supported the post-Katrina rebuilding of the Gulf Coast.
  • Through its Leadership Institute, JFSJ trained hundreds of Jewish social change leaders. Programs included the Selah Collaborative Leadership Program and the Rabbinical Leadership for Public Life programs.
  • Through Spark: The Center for Jewish Service Learning, JFSJ inspired Jews to integrate community service into their lives through ongoing Jewish service learning programs and service and learning travel programs.

Activities[edit]

  • In May 2007, Jewish Funds for Justice organized a coalition of more than 20 Jewish organizations in an attempt to focus the attention of the 2008 American presidential candidates on the domestic priorities of American Jews. The coalition produced an online survey, which received nearly 9,000 responses, and which identified health care as the top domestic concern of American Jews. [6]
  • JFSJ has been called a "catalyst" of the synagogue organizing movement. [7] In February 2007, JFSJ brought together more than 300 leaders from 63 different congregations to discuss their involvement in community organizing. JFSJ also published a booklet and a video on Congregation-based Community Organizing.[8]
  • After Hurricane Katrina struck the cost of the Gulf of Mexico, JFSJ frequently spoke out about the need for fair and rapid redevelopment of the region.[9] [10] JFSJ co-sponsored the Blueprint for Gulf Renewal, published in August/September 2007 by the Institute of Southern Studies/Southern Exposure.[11]
  • JFSJ maintained a blog, http://www.jspot.org, which served as an online hub for Jewish netroots action and Jewish perspectives on contemporary issues of social and economic justice.
  • Jspot.org, aproject of Progressive Jewish Alliance & Jewish Funds for Justice, supported protesters at Occupy Wall Street, stating, "Many of us have found this call to action in our Judaism."[3]

Recognition[edit]

  • In October 2007, JFSJ was included in Slingshot, a Resource Guide to Jewish Innovation for the third consecutive year. JFSJ was one of only eight organizations to receive a grant from The Slingshot Fund in coordination with its inclusion in Slingshot. [12]
  • Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Rabbi-in-Residence at JFSJ, was included in The Forward's Forward 50 in 2006, for "almost single-handedly forc[ing] the movement to refocus on one of the oldest issues on the social agenda: workers' rights".[13]
  • JFSJ has been rated exceptional (4 out of 4 stars) by Charity Navigator for organizational efficiency and capacity. [14]

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

There Shall Be No Needy, by Rabbi Jill Jacobs