Associate Director, Jewish Engagement and Advocacy

New York, NY or Washington, D.C. – Temporarily remote / In office upon return to office

Overview of AJWS

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is the leading Jewish organization working to fight poverty and pursue justice in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. By supporting hundreds of social change organizations in 18 countries, we respond to the most pressing issues of our time—from disasters, genocide and hunger to the persecution of women and minorities worldwide. With Jewish values and a global reach, AJWS is making a difference in millions of lives and bringing a more just and equitable world closer for all.

Overview of Team

The AJWS advocacy department envisions and executes all strategy towards a progressive foreign policy agenda that affirms and promotes human rights with U.S government stakeholders and institutions on behalf of our partners around the world. The work leans heavily on a national network of rabbis, cantors, and Jewish communal institutions who coalesce to play an essential role in advocating for justice and human rights in US foreign policy.

Position Summary

The position of Associate Director of Jewish Engagement and Advocacy is an exciting opportunity for the right professional to create, sustain and feed a movement of rabbis and cantors who are committed to impacting the advocacy work specifically, and the AJWS mission more broadly. Within the institution, this leader will envision and implement the entire grasstops engagement strategy, with support from key staff. While overseeing a team of 2, the Associate Director will build the capacity of leading rabbis and cantors to support the realization of human rights around the world and leverage the positional power of clergy in advocating to the US Government. This person is an integral member of the advocacy department and mobilizes rabbis and cantors to engage in the lawmaking process by influencing policymakers in the U.S. Government—including Congress and the Administration.

The Associate Director will work with Jewish leaders to shape policies that will help marginalized people live dignified, healthy, and productive lives and will shape the grasstops engagement strategy, with support from the advocacy team. They will lead and shape the signature Global Justice Fellowship, a selective program that inspires, educates and trains American rabbis and cantors to become national advocates for human rights in order to affect U.S. policy and advance AJWS’s mission. This Fellowship is a selective six-month-long experience which includes the opportunity to connect deeply with AJWS grantees in Asia, Africa and Latin America and advocate for policy change in Washington, D.C. Beyond the fellowship, they will build and maintain relationships with rabbis and cantors across the country, including through the Global Justice Chavurah alumni engagement program–a learning and action circle for rabbis and cantors advocating for justice and human rights.

The Associate Director will participate in frequent formal and informal cross-organizational collaboration, particularly with other Programs staff, as well as colleagues in the communications and development divisions.

The Associate Director will be responsible for the strategic direction, leadership, and management of the grasstops/clergy engagement strategy and staff, while working with the advocacy team to ensure maximum uptake of these mission critical relationships towards a more progressive foreign policy agenda.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Guide the entire vision and strategy for the grasstops engagement portfolio—including relationship cultivation, visioning and implementation of programming and monitoring of outcomes for this mission critical work
  • Manage and supervise a high-performing team responsible for the grasstops engagement portfolio
  • Cultivate and manage all clergy relationships on behalf of AJWS; support rabbis and cantors across the country to take meaningful advocacy action specifically, and more broadly, conceptualize and implement the clergy engagement strategy in direct connection to advocacy impact
  • Direct the organizational vision on representation and leadership in strategic Jewish communal and interfaith coalitions, campaigns and spaces; represent in said spaces and also delegate when necessary
  • Disseminate key state-of-play information and analysis as it relates to Jewish public opinion and the intersection of human rights; and advise senior leadership on decision-making in regard to the organization’s intersection of Jewish identity and human rights
  • Plan, organize and implement the signature Global Justice Fellowship: work with an AJWS team and Global Ambassador Ruth Messinger to recruit, select and teach fellows through this rigorous human rights clergy program
  • Lead and expand the Global Justice Chavurah program and alumni clergy engagement, especially with linkages towards advocacy opportunities, and document relationships and clergy organizing in a CRM
  • Advise Advocacy team leadership on strategy and implementation around rabbinic organizing in pursuit of U.S. advocacy goals that support work in the areas of Civil and Political Rights; Sexual Health and Rights; Land, Water and Climate Justice and urgent advocacy opportunities
  • Cultivate relationships, through the Advocacy team, with key partner NGOs – both secular and interfaith – who work to advance AJWS’s advocacy goals through the legislative process.
  • Support key staff with the operation of the Jewish Rohingya Justice Network: continuously educate coalition members and activate the Network when necessary for urgent Rohingya advocacy work (as determined in partnership with advocacy and grant-making colleagues)
  • Provide support on campaign advocacy and Jewish communal partnership to a variety of internal and external stakeholders including other AJWS departments, AJWS international partners, Jewish communal organizations, and colleague advocacy organizations

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree; Rabbinic, Cantorial, or equivalent ordination highly preferred
  • Intimate familiarity with the needs, opportunities and challenges of organizing clergy and experience in relational organizing
  • 10+ years relevant professional experience including Jewish or clergy organizing and extensive experience working in the Jewish community, strategy development and campaign experience
  • Strong management skills
  • General knowledge of and commitment to international issues preferred and a background in one or more of the issue areas within AJWS’s portfolio
  • Familiarity with U.S. government structures and law-making processes, Congressional action and the role of the American Jewish community as a political constituency. Experience with facilitating conversations about Jewish values, Jewish text, social justice and human rights, particularly with leaders in the American Jewish community
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment while maintaining a high level of organization, attention to detail and flexibility
  • Strong interpersonal and coalition building skills; excellent written and verbal skills
  • Demonstrated success in working effectively both independently and as part of a team
  • Passion for and commitment to AJWS’s mission and values
  • If not based in DC, willingness to travel to Washington, DC office several times per year, as well as other occasional domestic travel required (contingent on travel being permitted)
  • Willingness to travel internationally (contingent on travel being permitted)

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Standard knowledge of basic office computer programs (Microsoft Office, etc.) and SalesForce experience
  • Experience travelling in, living in or working on issues related to Asia, Africa and Latin America
  • Proficiency in an AJWS partner language.

Additional Information:

  • Salary Range: $89,500-$125,500
  • This role is full time (40 HRS), Exempt
  • Some travel required; possibly 1-2 weeks internationally per year and infrequent travel to and from NYC and DC.

Compensation and Benefits Information

  • AJWS is committed to a salary framework that aligns with our culture and values. The compensation range reflected is in alignment with our framework and individual pay decisions will vary based on skills and experience while still allowing for growth.
  • Paid Time Off: 15-22 Federal and religious holidays off each year in addition to generous vacation and sick days;
  • Full health benefits coverage with minimal contribution by employees;
  • 403(b): 4% company match (safe harbor);
  • Flexible Spending Account and Commuter Benefits;
  • Workplace flexibility and generous leave policy.

Additional Considerations

Black, Indigenous and People of Color; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Intersex, Trans and Gender non-conforming people; women; and differently abled people are encouraged to apply. We also encourage applications from people of diverse religious, spiritual and cultural backgrounds.

As an organization committed to promoting social justice around the world, it is essential that we incorporate a diverse, equitable and inclusive lens into all aspects of our work at AJWS. We encourage applicants with a global perspective and a commitment to values around diversity, equity, and inclusion to apply.

Authorization to work in the US is required.

How to Apply

For immediate consideration, apply below. Applications submitted without a resume and personalized cover letter will not be considered. We thank you for your interest in career opportunities with AJWS. Due to high volume, only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

We thank you for your interest in career opportunities with AJWS. Due to high volume, only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls please.