Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Partnerships at Moishe House Boston

Here at Moishe House Boston, partnerships play an essential part of monthly programmings. Boston is such a vibrant community, with so many cool programs, social justice groups, institutions already in place. So many of our community members are also involved in many of these organizations, whether they be Jewish, volunteer-related, or professional associations. So, we at Moishe House Boston have quickly realized that we can maximize our energy, resources, and impact by teaming up with partner organizations, rather than compete with them.

Our partnerships take many forms. One form is collaborating with existing non-profits to promote social justice. For instance, one of our most longstanding partnership is with City Life, Vida Urbana, an outstanding housing/tenants rights group that has a proven track record for helping people stay in their homes in the Boston area. We teamed up with City Life over two years ago. City Life provides the addresses of foreclosed properties, the canvassing training, and the organizing strategy; we at Moishe House bring people eager to volunteer!

Another form of partnership is with organizations similar in mission, values, or membership base. For instance, many of our community members are involved in Boston's Workmen's Circle, a secular, Jewish, progress community that is just down the street from our house. Like us, the Workmen's Circle is committed to social justice and has a long tradition of labor organizing. We have partnered with Workmen's Circle on a number of programs, including a bi-monthly skill-share, a peace vigil for the Gaza War, current Jewish-Muslim programming, and our efforts on housing justice.

Finally, we have established partnerships with organizations that may differ from us in significant ways, but with whom working together represents a specific value, in and of itself. For instance, we have ongoing projects in coordination with young Muslim adults in the Boston area. Though our stances on a range of topics may differ, we believe that partnering with Muslim counterparts sends a powerful message to the broader Jewish community (and larger community in general) that we can and will rise above tensions, rivalries, or feelings of mistrust and that we are committed to
building relationships, dialoguing, and finding points of commonality.

Each of these partnership forms are valuable in their own way, and, of course, pose their own challenges. But I think the challenges are well worth it!

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