Celebration Marks Five Years of Creating Safer, More Respectful, and Equitable Jewish Workplaces and Communal Spaces
Hosted by SRE Network on its fifth anniversary, convening also calls attention to more change needed in Jewish nonprofit sector
June 12, 2023 - Nearly 200 people gathered to celebrate progress over the last five years toward creating safer, more respectful, and equitable Jewish workplaces and communal spaces. Hosted by SRE Network (safety, respect, equity), the “Building Our Future Together” convening in New York featured speakers from leading nonprofit, foundation, policy and business sector organizations, including Jodi Kantor, Investigative Reporter & Author, New York Times;Fatima Goss Graves, President & CEO, National Women’s Law Center; Jocelyn Frye, President, National Partnership for Women & Families; Rachel Garbow Monroe, President & CEO, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation; Lisa Eisen, Co-President, Schusterman Family Philanthropies; and Stephen Mills, Author/Advocate.
“Five years ago, the Jewish nonprofit sector, like so many others, recognized that our workplaces and communal spaces needed to change,” says Elana Wien, Executive Director of SRE Network. “Amid the #MeToo movement and other social awakenings, we realized that many Jewish nonprofits had outdated or insufficient reporting policies and procedures around harassment, discrimination, and fostering respectful workplaces. Thanks to many committed leaders and funders, our field has made significant strides in these areas, and we are better positioned than ever to tackle the challenges that still remain. It was fitting and inspiring to come together to celebrate this occasion.”
In addition to the featured speakers, breakout sessions covered Advancing Women’s Leadership in the Orthodox Community, Creating Community Britot (Covenants), and Pursuing an Intersectional Approach to Safety, Respect, and Equity. A gallery of pictures shared the Jewish community’s story addressing safety, respect, and equity over the last five years.
“When the painful voices of #MeToo called for action, SRE Network galvanized Jewish organizations and developed standards, leveraged the value of scholarship and data, made business cases, and turned passion into persuasion, causing people and organizations at every level of the Jewish world to step up,” reflected Fran Sepler, President of Sepler & Associates, who advises organizations interested in creating the most respectful workplaces possible. “There have been deep organizational reckonings, communal accountability, and important self-examination. For all of us–advisors, advocates, practitioners, leaders, teachers, stewards, and learners–our work has been not only made possible, but made more effective and meaningful by SRE’s unique and extraordinary leadership. The Jewish community can truly say that it is doing the work.”
Since its launch in 2018, SRE Network has grown to include more than 160 Jewish organizations and has seeded $5 million in grants to support organizations’ efforts toward change. Its annual report of nearly all member organizations tracks progress they make toward building safer, more respectful, and equitable workplaces and communal spaces.
“This gathering both inspired and compelled all of us to create more change,” adds Liz Fisher, Chief Talent Officer, Jewish Federations of North America. “When our workplaces and communal spaces exhibit strong safety, respect, and equity, we attract and retain better professionals and our entire community is better for it.”