The NYC-based organization will be honored at Stony Point Center’s Farm-to-Table Gala on September 10th for carrying on the living Jewish tradition of fighting for economic sustainability and racial justice into a new generation.
The Community of Living Traditions at Stony Point Center is pleased to announce that our fourth annual Living Traditions Award will be presented to Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ). For more than 25 years, JFREJ has advanced systemic changes that result in concrete improvements in people’s everyday lives, with special attention to building the leadership of Jewish elders, Jews of Color, Mizrahi and Sephardic Jews, and poor and working-class Jews. In this work, they are inspired by the living Jewish tradition of fighting for a sustainable world with an equitable distribution of economic and cultural resources, and political power.
The Living Traditions Award was established in 2014 to honor the work of an individual or group that exemplifies the values of the Community of Living Traditions: justice, peacemaking, earth-consciousness and radical hospitality.
JFREJ was founded in 1990 based on the belief that Jews have a vital role to play in this the movements for economic justice. “JFREJ’s work is very exciting to us because it builds on over a century of Jewish involvement in immigrant rights and workers’ organizing efforts in the greater NYC region,” said Joyce Bressler, a member of the Jewish Cohort of the Community of Living Traditions. “Lots of folks don’t really know about this history, but it was really integral in shaping the progressive movement in this country, and we are grateful that JFREJ is carrying this living tradition forward.”
“At JFREJ, we understand that the movement to dismantle racism and economic exploitation will be led by those most directly targeted by oppression,” said JFREJ Executive Director Audrey Sasson. “We work to center, at all levels of the organization, the leadership of Jews most directly targeted by injustice through investing deeply in base-building and leadership development to empower directly targeted communities for the sake of our broader struggles for justice.”
In the last few years, JFREJ has led the multifaith community in grounded solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, rooted in the leadership of Jews of Color and drawing from the power of Jewish spiritual practices to speak into the current moment. The future JFREJ hopes for depends on Jews forging deep and lasting ties with its partners in struggle. In long-term partnership with organizations representing NYC’s most marginalized communities, JFREJ has helped win union contracts and back pay for low-wage workers, countered the rising tide of Islamophobia, and secured legislative and popular support for police reform.
What started as a small and defiant group of progressive Jewish New Yorkers has grown into a strong and effective organization with a member base of over 2,000 and over 200 in leadership on campaigns and committees. The organization consistently turns out hundreds of members for mobilizations on issues ranging from affordable housing and police reform to long-term care and aging justice. In the process, JFREJ is cultivating and nurturing the growth of a robust, inter-generational, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and cross-class community of Jews in cultural celebration, political education, and targeted leadership development, fostering a Jewish identity with justice at its core.
The Community of Living Traditions will present the 4th annual Living Traditions Award on September 10, 2017 at the Farm-to-Table Gala, a harvest festival and fundraiser to support the continued development of Stony Point Center as fertile ground for organizing in the areas of social and economic justice, peacemaking, earth-care, and radical hospitality. As recipient of this award, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice will receive $1000 to support their continued work towards a more just and sustainable economy, as well as a voucher for complimentary day use of Stony Point Center’s conference facilities.
Stony Point Center is a national conference center of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Rockland County, that offers affordable accommodations and a welcoming environment for activists and visionaries of all stripes to convene, discern, learn and plan. The campus is also home to an intentional multifaith community called the Community of Living Traditions, which strives to put in practice the legacy of hospitality and strategic nonviolence that exists within each of the Abrahamic faith traditions.
All photos courtesy of JFREJ.