5 Ways Jewish Organizations are Responding to #MeToo

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This blog post is adapted from an SafetyRespectEquity series framing piece originally published in eJewishPhilanthropy. This piece was co-authored by Robert Bank, Lisa Eisen, Sheila Katz and Idit Klein. 

The SafetyRespectEquity Coalition was formed to ensure Jewish workplaces and communal spaces are safe, respectful and equitable, and sexual harassment, sexism and gender discrimination are no longer tolerated. More than 100 organizations have signed onto the SRE commitment which signifies they are committed to work toward the implementation of comprehensive standards to achieve the goals of safety, respect and equity.

But what does change really look like? How are organizations actually approaching this work? 

It is in the spirit of how that we are excited to share a series of articles written by representatives from Coalition member organizations that are beginning the central task of ensuring their values and protocols align. You will hear from several leaders about their team’s efforts to proliferate best practices among emerging philanthropists; produce a gender awareness guide for funders to use in their grantmaking; create culture change within an organization and across a field; work toward gender equity at the highest levels of leadership; and more.

Not only are these efforts laying the groundwork for significant change within each organization, they also help to strengthen a broader culture of respect and inclusion across our community. Notably, these initiatives are not yet finished. We hope that by pulling back the curtain to reveal works in progress, we make change tangible and inspire others to get started with their own crucial internal efforts.

1) Jewish Camp as An Incubator for Culture Change
Jeremy Fingerman, CEO of Foundation for Jewish Camp, shares three tangible steps that his organization has taken to ensure camp professionals, FJC staff and board members are better prepared to recognize and prevent sexual harassment and discrimination.

2) Strengthening the Health of Philanthropy in the #MeToo Era
Jenna Weinberg and Stefanie Rhodes of Slingshot describe the replicable steps they have taken to ensure funders and board members engage safely and respectfully with staff members at the organizations that they support. 

3) Advancing Gender Equity in the Jewish Community
The Genesis Prize Foundation is distributing over $2,000,000 for work focused on gender equality at Jewish organizations in North America. Steve Rakitt and Jill Weber Smith share the lessons that staff at GPF have learned from focus group discussions with 30 women Jewish thought leaders on how funders and communal organizations can make progress. 

4) Training Teens on Safety, Respect and Equity in the Workplace
Noga Hurwitz, teen president of BBYO, unpacks how women's empowerment manifests in BBYO programming, and how BBYO leadership models healthy workplace relationships for teens around the world. 

5) Understanding Gender Inequities in Jewish Leadership
This year, Leading Edge applied a more focused gender equity lens when creating and compiling the 2018 Employee Experience Survey, which surveyed 7,300 employees at 105 Jewish organizations. Gali Cooks, President & CEO, discusses the gender-related findings from the survey as well as how those findings sparked change at Leading Edge itself. 

We hope these reflections inspire you to encourage the organizations of which you are a part to commit to this critically important work. You can learn more by visiting the SafetyRespectEquity Coalition website