2021 is going to be a big year for JFREJ. Hundreds upon hundreds of new members joined us in 2020 and we grew in unprecedented ways. Like all of you, we had to overcome many challenges just to stay safe and keep the lights on, so our growth was a testament to how prepared and determined this community was to confront the layered crises affecting New Yorkers this year.

In addition to growing our people power, we also need new strategies to achieve our big wins.

And today we’re announcing an exciting new strategy for JFREJ! We’ve created a new 501c4 that will allow us to call JFREJ home for all the organizing that our members are eager to plug into. We will continue doing the powerful issue-based organizing, political education, and arts and ritual that we’ve done for the past 30 years, and we can now also incorporate the hugely impactful electoral organizing and issue advocacy that our sister organization, The Jewish Vote, has pioneered since 2018 — all in one place.

Say that again? Sure! What I’m saying is that JFREJ Action, this new 501c4, will be the homebase for all our organizing moving forward, whether we’re building Neighborhood Groups, advancing our issue-based campaigns, organizing ritual and cultural events, or participating in elections. We will advance a transformative agenda in the streets, in our communities, and at the ballot box - and we will be unstoppable.

The Jewish Vote will become a campaign of JFREJ Action — alongside our Freedom to Thrive campaign, our Caring Majority campaign, and all of our other work. This way, as members, you can get involved in any or all of our campaigns, all under one banner without compartmentalizing yourself or your passions.

We made this decision in recognition of our shared understanding that electoral work is but one tool in our larger toolbox for advancing change, and we wanted you, our members, to have a central address and singular, seamless experience when building the Jewish left in New York, no matter which strategy or tactic you are pursuing at any given time. Building out a 501c4 called JFREJ Action (which will also be known simply as JFREJ) allows us to offer you just that!

It’s very exciting.

JFREJ Community will be the new name of the organization we founded 30 years ago, which will continue to exist as a 501c3 alongside JFREJ Action, with the same mission as always — to build the Jewish left in New York. Many of our movement partners are structured in this way to allow for the most flexibility - and power — in how we organize. The work continues, whether we are pushing to demand police accountability or that workers are treated with dignity or that elders and people with disabilities receive the care they need, or that immigrants are protected, or that unhoused New Yorkers or people in prisons are prioritized for life-saving support during a pandemic.

Supporters can now choose where to make their gift — whether to JFREJ Community (501c3) or JFREJ Action (501c4). If you have nitty gritty questions about tax deductions and stuff like that, we’ve posted Frequently Asked Questions on our website, and there will be other opportunities to interact with Executive Director Audrey Sasson directly in the coming months (including tomorrow).

The bottom line is that in this new formation you’ll get to keep working on all the campaigns and projects you’ve been engaged with, and you’ll also have the opportunity to build progressive power by electing candidates and advocating for our issues in brand new ways.

2021 is going to be a big year for JFREJ. Our powerful vision and 30-year legacy is grounding us as we grow stronger, flex new muscles, and utilize every tool in our toolbox — including some exciting new ones — to help all of us come together ever more boldly and more fiercely in our fight for a New York where we all have the care we deserve, the resources we need, and the freedom to thrive.