Global Justice Chavurah

AJWS’s Global Justice Chavurah is a learning and action circle for rabbis and cantors advocating for justice and human rights in the Global South.

We may not be able to travel in this unprecedented moment—but AJWS has created a new way to connect, learn and lead. The Global Justice Chavurah is an online travel opportunity to meet activists from across the world, learn leadership skills, and take action to support human rights in the Global South.

During the COVID-19 global pandemic, we are offering workshops exclusively for clergy that bring together rabbinic and cantorial colleagues, AJWS staff experts, and our grantee-partners for insight into what transnational solidarity can look like. We will explore how this pandemic is exacerbating human rights challenges in the developing world and how activists are fighting for ethnic minorities and indigenous communities. We’ll learn how these activists are handling challenging economic and medical conditions, traumatized communities and autocratic leadership—and discover how these lessons can translate to our own communities.

Become a member of the global justice chavurah

While the global pandemic has forced us to retreat to our homes, we cannot limit our horizons. A global pandemic requires global perspective.

Register for our upcoming workshops below. New workshops will be added throughout 2022.

Contact Zoe Bloomfield with questions or to get involved.

Past workshops:

Reflecting with the AJWS Advocacy Team

Join us to hear firsthand from the AJWS Advocacy Team and Ruth Messinger, our Global Ambassador, as we reflect on our past year of advocacy together and celebrate our accomplishments! We will be reviewing the key issues for which you have served as crucial advocates throughout the year, and we will look at some of our biggest wins. Finally, the Advocacy Team will look to the future, forecasting their expectations of our highest strategic priorities in the year to come. Most importantly, we want to hear from YOU! We are so grateful for your partnership and commitment to advancing global human rights, and we want to give you the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback.

COVID-19 Two Years In

As we approach the two-year anniversary of COVID-19 being declared a global pandemic, we will come together—rabbis, cantors and AJWS staff—to mark this moment. AJWS staff will provide a broad overview of our grantee partners’ COVID-19 response work and will expand on how these activists have balanced addressing the needs of their communities generated by COVID-19 with their core human rights work. For so many of AJWS’s grantee organizations around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing social problems and introduced new challenges entirely. Repressive governments have used the pandemic as a pretext to limit freedom of movement, and gender-based domestic violence has risen with people confined to their homes and cut off from their support networks. Come hear how AJWS has supported grantees around the globe to become even more resilient in the face of this pandemic.

Global Justice Chavurah in Conversation with Ruth Messinger

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all for nearly two years—and we have all experienced massive shifts in the ways we gather, lead, daven and support, both within our own communities and beyond. Please join the Global Justice Chavurah community, your fellow rabbis and cantors as we take a moment for a conversation with our own Global Ambassador, Ruth Messinger. Ruth will speak on pressing topics such as leadership and moral courage, and how we as Jewish communal leaders can show up to support other communities at this time, both here in the United States and across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

“Political but not Partisan” – Promoting Social Change within the Synagogue

In the face of escalating political polarization and threats to our democracy, clergy and community leaders have faced an increasing imperative to speak out on social and political issues. For some, drawing a line between the political (advancing policy and promoting social change) and the partisan (supporting a specific party or person) helps clergy navigate politically divided congregations and maintain both legal and moral safety. In this workshop, we will investigate how and why partisan identification has increased, and what that means for U.S. civic life. We will then explore the benefits and limitations of the “political but not partisan” framework.

Human Rights and the Fight for Racial Justice

Building on the work of Drs. W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr., and so many others, the Black Lives Matter movement has risen up to demand that Black people in the United States be allowed to live with dignity, security, equality and prosperity. These demands encompass the full sweep of human rights—and yet, that rhetoric is rarely invoked in the fight for racial justice in the United States. In this workshop, we will briefly trace the history of human rights claims within the longstanding movement for racial justice in this country, and then we will learn about concrete examples of the human rights dimensions of racial justice work from Rabbis Capers Funnye, Susan Talve, and Michael Rothbaum. Together we will explore how advocating for human rights can bolster the fight for racial justice in the U.S., and how our understanding of these issues in the U.S. might offer insights into human rights struggles abroad.

Epidemics and Pandemics: Lessons from Ebola and AIDS

While the entire world faces a pandemic in 2020, many countries in the Global South and beyond have experienced society-transforming epidemics throughout the 20th century. In this workshop, you will learn from activist leaders who shepherded their communities through the Ebola epidemic in Libera and are now playing a key role in advocating for local community involvement their country’s COVID-19 response. We’ll review lessons learned in the fight against Ebola and discuss the challenges to implementing those lessons now. You’ll gain insight into how epidemics impact those most marginalized by society and hear how activists and community leaders can support the whole community in response.