The Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (FJMC) and the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism (WLCJ) have worked together over the past year to take action to expand the culture of our synagogues to create an environment that makes all of us, no matter our unique identities and needs, feel welcomed and embraced in our Jewish Community.
The goal of the initiative is that Men’s Clubs, Women’s League Affiliates and synagogues will create an environment that makes all underserved communities feel welcomed and embraced in the Jewish Community. Core targets are the Men’s Clubs, Women’s League Affiliates, clergy and synagogue leaders who we want to support, applaud for their work and encourage to improve their adoption of inclusion practices and policies.
We define “Inclusion” as “the process, practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized; a commitment to welcoming, respecting, accepting, institutionally supporting and valuing diverse identities and communities of people.”
Among the “Underserved Communities” that are the focus of the initiative are:
- Individuals with mental and/or physical health challenges
- Jews of Color
- LGBTQIA+ individuals
- Non-traditional Families
Working with several other key Jewish organizations, the joint FJMC/WLCJ Committee on Inclusion has developed an Inclusion Resource Guidebook, with a wide range of strategies, activities and programs for local use. The Guidebook can be downloaded here. For more information contact Jerry Brodsky (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Resource Guide is divided into several areas, designed to both successfully introduce inclusion initiatives into your club/sisterhood, plus, important resources to maintain momentum. Remember, it is a guide.
Resource Guide Components
- Why this Inclusion Initiative - The time is now to bring inclusion to your synagogues culture. Supported both by WLCJ and the FJMC to pilot programs in your synagogue and community asap.
- Identification - What groups in your synagogues are invisible? Identifying underserved groups in your synagogue
- Introduction - Starting the process. Ways to bring about a culture change on becoming more inclusive starting with your synagogues leadership - clergy and lay.
- Programs - Building momentum. Ideas to bring to your congregation highlighting inclusion
- Policy Statements - Codifying inclusion into your synagogues. Suggestions that can be incorporated into a) Synagogue Constitution b) Policy Initiatives c) New programs
- Speakers Bureau - Hearing and learning from those on the front line. Professionals or experts in the specific underserved groups to invite and speak to your congregation or target audience to help bolster the initiative
- Marketing Communication - Effecting change on all fronts. Ideas of updating your synagogues messaging a) Websites b) Newsletters c) Social Media d) BlogsAdministration
- Outreach - Don’t want to do it alone? Other organizations to consider partnering or sharing resources with are in the menu.
To mutually learn through sharing experiences and stories with each other is our next step. We want to hear from you about what your Affiliate Sisterhoods and Men’s Clubs have started in your synagogues. We want to hear about the challenges and successes so that we can learn and share with all our affiliates. As we get your feedback, this will be communicated both on our websites and on-going newsletters.