Dear Friends and Colleagues,
As Americans and Jews, and particularly, as American Jews, we’re living in an unprecedented cultural and political moment. Myriad disputes rage on the policy front, but deepening cracks in our democratic norms and institutions transcend these debates and represent a genuinely existential threat to America.
As Americans, we should be gravely concerned about these phenomena.
As American Jews, we have even more at stake. Our vibrant American Judaism is a unique historical phenomenon—distinct from 15th Century Spanish Judaism or 18th Century Polish Judaism or 21st Century Israeli Judaism—that represents a hybrid of Jewish tradition and culture and the tradition and culture of American democracy. We may speak English, as opposed to Ladino or Yiddish or another amalgam, but our identity as American Jews is no less an intermingling of America and Judaism. As Louis Brandeis wrote...
The Jewish Education Project: Adapting: Jewish Education and the Ballot Box
The 2017 Jewish Futures Conference
For Which it Stands: How can Jewish civics education elevate American democracy?
The Moral, The Political, and The Partisan with Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer
Personally Delivered: Making Everyone Count in an Election with Sam Novey
Conceived in Liberty with Dr. Tamara Tweel
MEET OUR GRANTEES
As one of the ten organizations on the leadership team of the Fight Back Table, a national coalition of progressive grassroots organizations, Bend the Arc is anchoring the faith engagement efforts of the table’s Count Every Vote initiative, which has been working to ensure that people were prepared with the information and training they needed to cast their votes and ensure that every vote counted in this unprecedented election year. The Count Every Vote community is cultivating the space to discuss the changes unfolding in this election season, coordinate work, and ensure all groups know how to best plug in.
In the runup to the 2020 election, the RAC’s Every Voice, Every Vote: The Reform Movement’s 2020 Civic Engagement Campaign built on the long Jewish American commitment to democratic norms and institutions. The campaign trained cohorts of leaders, especially Reform clergy, about how to engage voters and how to talk to congregants about the election process and the post-Election Day period when the winners may not be immediately apparent. They forged partnerships with local and national groups to combat voter suppression and offered aid in voter registration and education.
T’ruah’s election center provides text studies, divrei Torah, action steps, webinar recordings, and links to partner organizations intended to help rabbis, cantors, and the wider Jewish community learn and take action to protect voting rights and the integrity of the democratic process. Once all the votes are counted and the election results are certified, the election center will be repurposed as a democracy center, as democracy is an ongoing process that must be tended to year-round.
Through TJEP’s new educator portal, educators can access a range of curated resources to support meaningful engagement around civic participation. To date, the resources draw from a diverse range of both secular and Jewish organizations speaking to the educational approach for preschool through high school.
Civic Spirit educates, inspires, and empowers schools across faith traditions to enhance civic belonging and responsibility in their student, faculty, and parent communities.
Mahloket Matters is a six-part educational series designed to empower Jewish communities to use Jewish values, text, and conflict resolution skills to constructively engage in difficult ideological and political conversations.
T’ruah is publishing a weekly Torah commentary series, Torah 20/20, in which it invites prominent thinkers to reflect on the current Torah portion and on the wisdom it has to strengthen democracy and heal a broken society.
Drawing on its experience facilitating conversations around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Resetting the Table has responded to America’s growing political divide by holding a series of communal conversations in rural Iowa and Wisconsin between people across the political spectrum.
PLAY THE GAME
A More Perfect Union Card Game
Have fun exploring the connections between Judaism and American democracy.
Print the cards, cut them out, and follow the instructions.
Out of the Box
Order a complete set of the game for $10. (For institutions interested in using the game for programming, we have subsidies available, and we’d love for participants to complete a brief survey about their experiences. Email us to find out more.)
We’re in an ongoing process of learning about these issues.
Please share your email address below if you’d like us to keep you in the loop about what we’re learning and other opportunities for you to learn more.