Jews For Racial & Economic Justice is a 6,000-member grassroots organization and the home of New York’s Jewish Left. For over 30 years, JFREJ members have organized alongside our neighbors to transform New York from a playground for the wealthy few into a real democracy, free from all forms of racist violence, (with playgrounds for all of us!)

Photo of a march over the Brooklyn Bridge. Marchers are carrying a banner that reads "Jews for Black Lives"Photo by Gili Getz
Jews for Black Lives, 2020. Photo by Gili Getz.
An illustration captioned "how we organize." It lists three different methods: 1) We contest for power. 2) We elect candidates to enact our transformative agenda. 3) We create the world as it should be

How We Organize:

  • We build people power to push back against attacks by the state, big business, and the far-right
  • We elect the candidates we need to enact our transformational agenda
  • We create the world as it should be, with spaces that nourish us while providing alternatives to the state; community spaces for education, spiritual transformation, cultural connection, or safety and protection

What We Believe:

​​Drawing from our Jewish values, our diverse histories, with persistence, commitment, and care, we will dismantle the systems and institutions that perpetuate racism, inequity, and injustice, and grow something new and beautiful in their place. JFREJ is rooted in Radical Diasporism, a term coined by our ancestor and founding Executive Director, Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz:

“Diasporism recognizes the persecution and danger that have made many long for home and passport, yearn to leave the wandering behind. Inside this longing, Diasporism represents tension, resistance to both assimilation & nostalgia, to both corporate globalization that destroys peoples and cultures, and to nationalism, which promises to preserve people and cultures but so often distorts them through the prisms of masculinism, racism, and militarism. Radical Diasporism meshes well with feminism in valuing a strength and heroism available to those without armies; and suits queerness, in rejecting the constraints of traditional gendered existence."
JFREJ Purim, 2022. Photo by Gili Getz.

JFREJ is rooted in our home, New York City, because we believe that cities like New York can be centers of radical progress. That radical progress becomes all the more urgent right now; the judicial system and state governments across the country are increasingly codifying white Christian patriarchal supremacy into law, rolling back civil rights and minority protections at an exponential rate.

One of the reasons many Jews immigrated to this country and made a home in New York was the United States’ commitment to freedom of religion and association — however selective that commitment has been. The promise of freedom to practice our religion, to live as Jews and equal citizens, to have the same opportunities and rights as everyone else. These promises were only ever true for some people, and they are true for fewer and fewer of us every day. Conservative legal and legislative warfare have stripped away rights and rolled back progress many of us took for granted, and rapacious capitalism has exposed more and more members of all communities to the conditions that poor people and Black and Brown people have been contending with for generations.

Occupy City Hall, 2020

New York prides itself on being one of the most liberal states in the country. But New Yorkers are facing multiple crises: enormous inequality, sky-high rents, failing mass transit, unaffordable healthcare, an ugly and discriminatory policing and incarceration system, disappearing small businesses, segregated schools, and the climate crisis. While poor and working class New Yorkers, older and disabled people, trans people, and communities of color are most impacted, all of us who call this city home deserve more.

Photo of Muslims praying in the street with JFREJ standing watch
Iftar in the Streets, 2018

We want to live in a city that meets our needs and reflects our values; a city that follows through on the promises of freedom, opportunity, and equality. As neighboring state governments are taken over by white Christian nationalists and their allies, more and more people will seek refuge in New York in search of those same promises. It is essential that our city and state be democratic, caring, and affordable enough for not only the people who live here now, but also for the hundreds of thousands who will come; our neighbors who are tired and poor and yearning to breathe free.

As federal law and court rulings threaten the freedoms that even now only some New Yorkers have, it is essential that we elect organizers, socialists, and fighting progressives who will do what it takes to withstand not only an explicitly white Christian nationalist federal government, but also the powerful police forces and corrections unions that will gladly enforce unjust laws, keep people afraid, and provide muscle for the political right’s agenda.

Protesting the rollback of Roe v. Wade, 2022. Photo by DS Forever Photography
Civil disobedience protesting inaction on the climate crisis, 2021

New York cannot be the home we deserve or a place to seek refuge as long as everyday people have to compete with the massive corporations, powerful real estate tycoons, and corrupt political machines shaping the future of our city. JFREJ exists to fight tooth and nail to demolish this status quo. We work side-by-side with other communities to contest for the power to govern ourselves and end the injustices and violence that serve the interests of the 1% and hurt everyone else. And we work to elect progressive candidates who share our bold vision and are committed to supporting the leadership of the diverse communities that call New York home.

Seder in the Streets, 2017.

We come together as Jews out of a deep commitment to a more just society. In every borough, we are your congregants, your friends, your neighbors, your bubbes and habibis. We are Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Mizrahi, Black, Brown, white and Arab, Latino/a/x and Asian, immigrant and US-born. We are queer and straight, cis and trans. We are old and young, rich and poor; teachers and students; parents and children; righteous rabbis and secular socialists.

Rallying for Fair Pay For Home Care, 2021

Our diverse, multiracial, multi-ethnic, intergenerational community builds solidarity and trust by listening to each other and to our partners and allies, and by showing up, taking risks and making mistakes together. We know that capitalism, antisemitism, xenophobia, racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny are interconnected, and that we can’t address one of them without addressing all of them.

Rallying for Care Not Cuts, 2022

Our collective experience has taught us that retreating behind walls has not led to Jewish safety anywhere in the world, and that organizing with others is the only way to confront the broken world as we find it and bring about the world we imagine. We organize in New York City as inheritors of the Bundist philosophy of “doykait” (hereness) that reminds us that where we live is our home — and our home is where we seek kinship and fight for justice.

We are the New York Jewish Left. Wherever you are from and whatever being Jewish means to you, if you share our values, you are welcome here.

JFREJ Action ("JFREJ") is a 501c4 non-profit organization building the Jewish left in New York and beyond. For information about our 501c3 sister organization, JFREJ Community, click here.