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Economic Justice Committee: A Political Engagement Workshop

by Karen Rachels

On April 2, Kehilla’s Economic Justice Committee (EJC) presented a “Political Engagement Workshop.” The aim was to provide a venue where, in the aftermath of the November election and in a sense of shared community, neighbors and members of the Kehilla congregation could gather to discuss and commit to future actions regarding pressing social and political issues.  Over 100 neighbors and members of Kehilla participated in productive discussions that were facilitated by activist experts in eight topic areas.  Attendees expressed appreciation for the well-timed event, and for the sense of community, direction and insights that they took from the discussions.

Eighty-eight individuals participated in the workshop. Hazzan Shulamit and Beth Dickinson opened the day with music and Rabbi Dev organized a breakout on centering activism in spiritual practices.  In addition, twelve resource people from outside the synagogue, and eight breakout group facilitators from the EJC and other Kehilla sectors, made the event happen.

Most well-attended breakout groups were those on vulnerable populations, voting rights and voters’ power, civil liberties, healthcare and spiritual practices.  Other breakouts covered criminal justice, social services, and climate.

Following the workshop planning committee’s internal debrief, the group decided to survey participants as well as those who expressed interest but could not attend to respond to three questions:

  • If you attended the workshop, did the event motivate you to take actions? If so, what have you done or are you doing now?
  • If you did not attend the workshop, have you been engaged politically in the last two months? If so, what have you done or are you doing now?
  • Is there anything you might want to see the Economic Justice Committee of Kehilla do in the future to support you?

Stay tuned for what we learned.

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