Learning Series on T’shuva

tshuva (1)

These SRE programs were held on Tuesdays September 6, 13, 20 at 10 am PT/ 1 pm ET

REGISTRATION:  Participants attend one or all three of these virtual sessions. Pre-registration was required.

During Elul, the month preceding the Jewish new year and High Holidays, many Jews take time to reflect on the past year and make plans for the year to come. A centerpiece of this reflection process is the idea of “t’shuva” which can be translated as repentance, repair, or atonement. SRE Network offered a three-part series on Tuesdays in September that connects t’shuva to gender justice and restorative justice.

Session 1: Giving an Apology That Works
Date: September 6, 2022, at 10 am PT/1 pm ET (60 minutes)
Facilitator: Jericho Vincent, Executive Director of Shuva

When we mess up, how do we give an effective apology? As kids, we’re often taught that the magic words “I’m sorry” are all that’s required, but as adults, we need a more robust set of tools for making things right. In this workshop, we’ll use an approach rooted in Jewish ancestral values to explore interpersonal frameworks, tools, and techniques for apology and repair. Participants will learn the ways in which we can accept and articulate responsibility for misdeeds, with the goal of honoring those whom we harm and expanding our own sense of agency, ultimately using apologies as a powerful tool to commit to a more just world.

This session was not recorded, but materials are available here.

Who Attended:  We are all responsible for building cultures of respect in our workplaces and communal spaces, and we all fall short of our goals at some point. This session is for you if you are thinking about how to apologize to another member of your community for the ways in which you fell short.


Session 2: What Do We Mean When We Ask a Sexual Offender to “Do T’shuva?”
Date: September 13, 2022, at 10 am PT/1 pm ET (60 minutes)
Facilitator: Dr. Claire E. Sufrin, Senior Editor at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America

As we’ve seen more sexually predatory behavior exposed in Jewish media outlets,and the subsequent calls for t’shuva, the Created Equal research group at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America began to grapple with what t’shuva could look like in these instances of harm using Jewish and secular sources. In this talk, Dr. Claire Sufrin will describe what they discovered as they began to think in concrete terms about how Jews and Jewish communities should react to accusations and proof of sexual abuse, and how we collectively might work to create a culture in which such abuse is far more rare and yet victims are believed and perpetrators quickly removed from situations in which they have opportunities to abuse others. Ultimately, the research group did not "solve" the problem of t’shuva for sexual abuse, but what they discovered may surprise you.

This session was not recorded, but materials are available here.

Who Attended:  This session is designed for those who work at Jewish organizations who are seeking a deeper understanding of the Jewish framework around accountability for sexual harm.


Session 3: Restorative Justice and T’Shuva: Repairing Harm to Individuals and Communities
Date: September 20, 2022, at 10 am PT/1 pm ET (90 minutes)
Facilitators: Alissa Ackerman, PhD and Kevin Lynch, Ampersands Restorative Justice

Restorative justice is a survivor-centered and trauma-informed approach to repairing harm that can take many forms: from one-on-one facilitated conversations to circle processes, but the term elicits many questions. In this 90-minute session, we will cover the basics of restorative justice and how it can be used as a tool to repair sexual harm in the Jewish world. We will discuss how t'shuva can support the prevention and repair of harm between individuals, and also support communities at large after harm has taken place. Please note that this session includes engaging with an individual who has caused sexual harm and is in a process of taking accountability - which is what restorative justice is about. Because we know this might be difficult for some, a breakout room staffed by a clinician will be open for anyone who feels the need to leave the main room and take a break from the conversation.

This session will be recorded, and available to SRE Network Members by request only.


Who Attended: This session is designed for organizations and community members who are seeking to lead or support communal repair and accountability after instances of harm.

If you have any questions, please contact info@srenetwork.org.


Jericho Vincent is a spiritual entrepreneur. They are the founder of Temple of the Stranger, an emerging alternative mystical community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, executive director of Shuva, an organization that shares Jewish ancestral perspectives on restorative justice, and initiator of various spiritual experiments. Raised in an ultra-Orthodox rabbinical home, Jericho learned from Buddhist, Sufi, and atheist communities before returning to Judaism to excavate timely wisdom from their family’s ancient traditions.

Dr. Claire E. Sufrin is Senior Editor at Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. In this role, she is the editor of Sources and leads the Created Equal research group in the Kogod Research Center. She is the co-editor of the New Jewish Canon: Ideas and Debates 1980-2015.

Alissa R. Ackerman, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Division of Politics, Administration and Justice at California State University, Fullerton. She has dedicated her career to studying sex crimes policy and practice, the etiology of sexual offending, the effects of sexual victimization, and, more recently, restorative justice options for those impacted by sexual harm. She is a “survivor scholar,” in that she integrates her personal experience with sexual violence with her professional expertise as a sex crimes researcher. She facilitates restorative justice cases and trains future restorative justice practitioners.

Kevin Lynch is a nationally recognized author, speaker, advisor and leader in the realms of social enterprise, non-profit management and the arts. His 2016 HuffPo column, Just Like Trump, marked his point of entry to work around sexual harm. Since that time he has been learning from and engaging with advocates and professionals who work in this field, leading eventually to an invitation to be part of the founders team for Ampersands Restorative Justice.

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