The Grace Paley Organizing Fellowship is the leadership development program of Jews for Racial & Economic Justice. The organizing fellowship is an opportunity for JFREJ leaders to develop their skills and political analysis, while doing work to support the campaigns, events, and infrastructure of JFREJ.
The Grace Paley Organizing Fellowship incorporates a variety of components to fully support and develop the skills of leaders. The initial retreat is designed for participants to start to build a joint analysis by learning from one another’s political and personal experiences. The monthly day-long workshops are divided between reflections on readings, anti-oppression training on gender and sexuality, anti-racism, Jews and class, and anti-Jewish oppression, as well as organizing skills trainings on leadership development, base-building, facilitation, campaign development, and fundraising. In addition, the fellowship has a mentorship component in which social justice leaders throughout New York work with fellows to continue leadership development and political analysis.
The Grace Paley Organizing Fellowship is led by alumni members Katie Goldstein, Zach Scholl, Avi Rose, and Alex Weissman, with staff support from Rachel McCullough.
Meet the Grace Paley Organizing Fellows 2012-2013!
Rachel Schragis is an artist, educator and native new yorker. This year, Rachel will be coordinating Jfrej's B'nei mitzvah programming at Congregation Beth Elohim, which will bring 7th graders and their families in to the Shalom Bayit campaign through community education, creative expression, and political action. She is thrilled to bring her experience in curriculum planning and arts education in to her organizing work for the first time. Rachel is looking to the Grace Paley Fellowship for organizing tools and framework that will allow her to use her work as an artist/educator more strategically towards social change. She is particularly interested in working with affluent communities to leverage privilege. Rachel is a teaching artist with Wingspan Arts, Inc, and works on a variety of arts-based initiatives within the Occupy Wall Street movement. She is very serious about bright colors.
Briana Carp has been a leader in JFREJ’s Shalom Bayit: Justice for Domestic Workers Campaign for the last four years. She has held various leadership roles in the campaign and is currently working with employers in Park Slope on developing a Core of Care for their neighborhood. Outside of JFREJ, she works with immigrant youth to help them find lawyers and become citizens. She is also a member of Kolot Chayeinu, a progressive synagogue in Brooklyn. Briana is passionate about immigrant rights, feminism, racial justice and body liberation. She also loves good food, feminist science fiction and speaking French.
Rachel Messer: Most of my involvement with JFREJ has been event-based, like bartending at events or helping to organize the summer Klezmer party. I am excited to get more engaged with JFREJ's on-the-ground campaign organizing, to learn more about goal-setting and one-on-one organizing, and to wrestle with what it looks like to be politically engaged through a Jewish lens. I am particularly interested in housing justice and anti-Islamaphobia solidarity work. I enjoy questing for ways to combine performance art with social justice work, like dancing in the streets or using Theatre of the Oppressed.
Sophie Hagen is a newcomer to JFREJ but so excited to join this community of Jewish anti-racist activists. She has been campaigning for tax reform and economic redistribution with the Resource Generation Tax Justice Team for the past year and is passionate about feminist and queer organizing. Through this fellowship, she hopes to connect her activist identity to her Jewish New Yorker identity, making her anti-oppression work spiritual and more powerful, and fighting for change in the city.
Kate Redburn: I'm a san franciscan new yorker who has been involved with JFREJ for the past year through the Shalom Bayit campaign. I'm outrageously excited to participate in gpof and continue working toward racial and economic justice with this group of inspiring peers. when i'm not in a meeting before a meeting, i'm working at Jacobin magazine or ploting my return to coldest Tierra del Fuego, where I'll be creating an oral history archive of rural queer activist experience.
Rye Young is excited to be a Grace Paley Organizing Fellow! Rye currently works as a consultant for non-profits with a social justice mission. He got his professional start at Third Wave Foundation where he worked as an intern running their Emergency Abortion Fund. After four years of working in their program department, he was brought on as their Program Officer and was responsible for managing their Gender Justice grants, and for providing technical assistance to emerging social justice organizations. Currently Rye volunteers as the Fundraising Coordinator for JFREJ. He is also serving on the New York Abortion Access Fund's board of directors, he is on the movement building team of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, and is a trainer and mentor for Flip the Table: Youth Food Council.
Anna Taft Jacobs lived and worked in Santa Fe as an activist, teacher and performer prior to receiving an MA from NYU in 2009. Anna’s thesis work at Gallatin was focused on developing tools for combining anti-oppression work with the creative arts in education, specifically exploring methods of challenging white supremacy. Since coming to New York Anna has had the opportunity to work on the annual Purim party in collaboration with JFREJ. More recently Anna has been working on the Shalom Bayit campaign as part of the Disability Working Group of Hand in Hand. Anna’s ongoing commitment to social, political and economic justice is largely informed by Anna’s class and white privilege as well as the struggle to survive violence first as a girl, and later as a queer and gender non-conforming person. For the last year Anna has been battling Neurological Lyme disease.
Alana Krivo-Kaufman: I have been a joyful JFREJ member for 3 years, active as a leader in the Housing Justice campaign, and currently on the Campaign Selection Committee. I am invested in using solidarity to resist to gentrification and create community based planning and in utilizing Jewish ritual to sustain and empower anti-racist movement building. I am looking forward to comradeship, sustaining and invigorating JFREJ and in collectively creating a new campaign.
AJ Feldman: My Jewish identity is intrinsic to my commitment to social justice. I consider my ideological ancestors to be those Yiddish secularists who questioned the value of a Jewish nation and reveled in their role as a diaspora people, anarchists and communists, organizing for tenant and labor rights in New York City. My spiritual, ethnic and political identities have grown together and I am so proud to work with a Jewish organization that reflects my values and identities. I hope to engage in the formal and intensive training I need to fill the gaps in my historical knowledge, to learn effective social movement leadership/organizing skills and strategy that will enable me to best serve the struggle for justice.
Julia Gruberg: After living in nepal for a year and feeling somewhat a sea upon returning to new york, i am happy to have found a home of activism and friendship at jfrej. i have been working on the shalom bayit campaign for the past year, building the care congress at the care council, making connections with seniors, and faciitating english class with nepali immigrants - many of whom are domestic workers - at adhikaar. my 9-5 job in holocaust restitution has felt like an extension of sb organizing work and a test of my commitment to and understanding of justice, as the office is not the most, er, progressive. through all this work i have come to appreciate my judaism more. i am excited to participate in and be molded by the gpof as gracy paley is one of my literary/visionary icons.
Come meet the JFREJ Grace Paley Organizing Fellows at this year's Meyer Awards! Click here for more details!