Local rabbis awarded prestigious social action fellowships

Local rabbis awarded prestigious social action fellowships

SOCIAL ACTION IS on the agenda for five area rabbis who have been selected to participate in fellowships offered through two national organizations: the American Jewish World Service (AJWS) and the Jewish Organizing Institute and Network (JOIN). 

They are Rabbis Joel Abraham of Temple Sholom in Scotch Plains; Faith Joy Dantowitz of Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston; Jesse Olitzky of Congregation Beth El in South Orange; Karen Perolman of Temple B’nai Jeshurun in Short Hills; and Elliott Tepperman of Bnai Keshet in Montclair. 

The AJWS six-month fellowship, which starts in October, is designed “to inspire, educate, and train those seeking to become activist leaders in the fight for global justice,” according to its website. It includes human rights advocacy in Washington, D.C., and a weeklong educational trip to a developing country, focusing on grassroots organizing.  

The JOIN clergy fellowship, part of its clergy leadership and organizing program that launched in 2010, runs for 18 months, beginning with a retreat in November. It provides training, retreats, executive coaching, and engagement in community-wide justice campaigns designed to build relationships across religion, race, and class.

Next week Abraham is scheduled to attend the “Prophetic Resistance Summit,” a national gathering of more than 300 clergy and lay leaders in Indianapolis organized by PICO National Network, a network of faith-based organizations working on innovative solutions for community problems. Combatting white supremacy and environmental degradation are among the subjects that will be covered during the event that runs Oct. 23-25. Abraham is one of 10 members of Faith In New Jersey scheduled to attend. 

Tepperman is participating in both the AJWS Global Fellowship for Justice and the JOIN clergy fellowship. Dantowitz, a JOIN fellow, served as an AJWS global justice fellow in 2014-2016. Abraham, Olitzky, and Perolman are all JOIN fellows.

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