S3K Report: Synagogues and Social Justice

Synagogues and Social JusticeCreating Sustainable Change Within and Beyond the Congregation

Executive Summary

How do synagogues make change? Change in ourselves, our families, our congregations, our communities, our world?

In May 2007, the S3K Synagogue Studies Institute and Jewish Funds for Justice (JFSJ) convened a consultation on synagogue engagement with social justice. S3K Report Fall 2007 – Synagogues and Social Justice: Creating Sustainable Change Within and Beyond the CongregationParticipants included fifty clergy, lay leaders, activists, and funders from around the United States who are interested and involved in doing justice work within and beyond synagogues.

S3K and JFSJ invited three widely recognized scholars of congregations and social engagement: Professors Nancy Ammerman (Boston University), Mark Chaves (Duke University), and Richard L. Wood (University of New Mexico).
The S3K-JFSJ gathering sought to begin to address these issues. We asked, “How are synagogues engaging in justice work? How can we determine if this engagement is transforming not only the world, but also the synagogues and congregants themselves? And what does that transformation look like?”

This S3K Report, a product of our partnership with JFSJ, offers reflective commentaries about social justice and congregational transformation, as well as a set of questions for use by synagogue leaders who wish to pursue these issues in their home communities.

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