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Justice Jams

Justice Jams

Many congregations such as Temple Beth Sholom have been very successful engaging people in service projects but haven't figured out how to stimulate advocacy. Justice Jams raises awareness about justice issues and galvanizes the congregation toward advocacy. The Justice Jams capitalize on lay leadership and utilize our lay people to recruit their friends by offering home hospitality. Dozens of people take leadership roles through research, developing a program, and leading the Jam presentation. Justice Jams has created a fruitful ground for exploring issues as a congregation, and building momentum toward action and advocacy. At each Jam there is an opportunity for sending an e-mail, signing a letter or committing to a next step.

Community Contact Information

Temple Beth Sholom

Miami Beach, FL

http://www.tbsmb.org

Goals

  • Small group meetings in peoples' homes that are designed to raise awareness about a particular justice issue and engage people toward action and advocacy.
  • A small team of lay leaders work with the rabbi to create an engaging, interactive evening in which they learn, discuss, challenge and have the opportunity to do advocacy work.
  • Every host is responsible for convening a group of at least 12 - 25 people in their home.
  • Every Justice Jam leads to a culminating action and/or advocacy.

Partnerships

  • Mazon
  • Guitars Over Guns
  • Moms Demand Action
  • Coalition of Immokalee Workers

Implementation

This is the third year of Temple Beth Sholom’s Justice Jams. Themes have ranged from Food Insecurity (1st year), Economic Justice (2nd year) to Gun Violence Prevention (current). Annually this program has engaged 125 - 150 people.

June

The year's theme is selected by Social Justice Network and affirmed by Temple Board

Summer

A team of 10 - 15 people research the issue

Late August

Research team convenes with results

Fall

A smaller team then plans the Justice Jam content and interactive presentation (finished product in October).

November – May

The Justice Jams are held, leading to a Spring time action project and ongoing advocacy.

Results

  • Congregants are engaged in important issues of Justice, learning and becoming advocates.
  • Jewish learning always informs topics so congregants are exposed to Jewish text by making it current and relevant.
  • Mobilize congregants toward action, the outcome of which is directed toward the justice issue at hand.
  • Develop congregational leaders through the many opportunities for lay leadership.
  • Activities stimulate meaningful conversations on serious topics thus enhancing relationships.