Helen Bennett likes to do things that help people remember how much it’s worth it to trust and depend on each other. She is passionate about building resilient community rooted in ritual and focused on social justice, which has been the foundation for her work as a community organizer, facilitator and network weaver for over 10 years. Helen is a founder and director of Tzedek Lab, a multi-racial network of Jewish political education trainers, community organizers, and spiritual leaders established to build collective competency to better politicize, transform, and inspire the Jewish community into collective action against racism, antisemitism, and white supremacy.
In addition to her work with Tzedek Lab, Helen currently provides coaching, training, culture and infrastructure support for the Kavod House community in Boston and for young adult Jewish community organizing on a national level. She organizes a transformative workshop for Jewish young adults on the Intersections of Anti-Semitism and Racism which is building a community of young Jews with a vision and tools for reclaiming trust, connection, and resilience. She has enjoyed developing organizing and ritual resources for an emerging network of healing circles centered around the new moon. Helen also works with the Ayni Institute/Momentum Community which is dedicated to creating and supporting local and national social movements with tools like escalation, mass training, decentralized organization, and systems of mutual aid. She is a member of the Harvard Divinity School How We Gather Network of Spiritual Community Builders, and is a Spiritual Director.
Previously, Helen held the role of Lead Organizer at Moishe House Boston: The Kavod Jewish Social Justice House, where 600+ progressive Jews in their 20s and 30s work to create a welcoming Jewish community that is personally meaningful and deeply engaged with the world. As a Resident Organizer at the Moishe Kavod Jewish Social Justice House in Boston, Helen built and facilitated the growth of a strong network of relationships, which continue to serve as the foundation of the Moishe Kavod House community. With three to five events every week, the Moishe Kavod House engages over 600 Jewish young adults in social justice and community building initiatives. Along with her three housemates and co-organizers, Helen would meet with individuals one-on-one, listen to their stories, help draw out their passions, values and leadership potential, along with their fears and baggage around the organized Jewish community and then help them connect to others who share their passion or vision, plugging them into a facet of the community in the way that feels best for them. This network organizing model is innovative because it allows young Jews to act on their own behalf: They are able to grow, share, shine and learn together with their peers in unique and profound ways. Specifically, Helen was responsible for a handful of Kavod's 12 lay-led teams, each with their own focus, including the Farm to Shul/Food Justice Team, the New Moon Rosh Chodesh Group, Chesed (LovingKindness), Arts, and the Social Justice Strategy Team. Additionally, Helen has worked with The Jewish Organizing Institute and Network (JOIN) for Justice, which is dedicated to training, supporting, and connecting Jewish organizers and their communities. At JOIN, Helen connected Jewish organizers with each other, helping to facilitate more grassroots social change across the country. She also worked at the Jewish Women's Archive which is dedicated to collecting and promoting the extraordinary stories of Jewish women.
A native Seattleite, Helen studied urban planning and religion at the University of Washington, cooperative living, intentional community building and organic farming as an Adamah Fellow and community organizing and power building as a Jewish Organizing Fellow. As a student, Helen’s values and visions were further influenced by her travels and learning experiences in Israel and India and in the ethical food/farming world on Orcas Island, WA, at Hazon Food Conferences and with the Jewish Farm School.