Change the Culture: City-Wide Forum on Safety & Respect

February 24, 2020 Atlanta Free
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Change the Culture: City-Wide Forum about Safe, Respect, and Equity in the Jewish Community

“As the #MeToo movement has grown and spread across industries and sectors, it has laid bare an inescapable truth: the Jewish community is subject to the same kinds of issues, inequities, and power dynamics that exist in other communities.” -Safety Respect Equity Coalition

Over the past year, Jewish communities have begun engaging in a systematic effort to address sexual harassment, sexism, and gender discrimination in our workplaces and communal spaces. This includes congregations, day schools, and community-based nonprofits. National organizations and coalitions – such as the Safety, Respect, Equity Coalition and Ta’amod – have been founded to guide this work, and a special emphasis is being placed on the ethical – not only the legal – standards that we as Jews owe to each other.

Now it is Atlanta’s turn.

 Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta (JWFA) promotes social change and creates positive opportunities for Jewish women and girls. Since 2012, we have tackled gender inequality throughout our Jewish community. We are uniquely positioned to spearhead the Safety, Respect, Equity effort in Atlanta and are proud to announce the launch of our Change the Culture Initiative.

We are kicking off this initiative with a Change the Culture Summit on February 24, 2020 and are excited to welcome national experts to Atlanta who will provide invaluable information and training.

Dr. Guila Benchimol is the Senior Advisor to the Safety, Respect, Equity Jewish coalition to address sexual harassment and gender discrimination. She is also a research associate at the Centre for the Study of Social and Legal Responses to Violence where she works on projects related to homicide and domestic violence deaths. Guila holds a PhD in Sociological Criminology and an MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy. She brings over ten years of experience as a Jewish educator to her work with various faith communities on gender based violence.

Nicole Nevarez is the inaugural National Director of Ta’amod: Stand Up!, a multi-pronged initiative dedicated to ending gender abuse, harassment and toxic culture in the Jewish communal space. Ta’amod brings this work to the Jewish community with a lens of creating respectful workplace culture rooted in Jewish values. A Jewish educator, trainer and facilitator, Nicole has held Director roles for both local and National Jewish organizations and nonprofit NYC theaters. Most recently, she served as New York Director for Moving Traditions, helping Jewish communities provide safe spaces for teens to find their own authenticity through both a Jewish and a gender lens. In addition to her work with Ta’amod, she provides independent consulting to mission-critical organizations to support them with efforts to create positive internal culture. Nicole believes that when we do the work to reflect on ourselves and our organizations, we have the power to impact deep systemic change.

The summit is specifically geared toward the unique dynamics and norms in Jewish communal spaces and will address all stakeholder groups, including professionals, clergy, board members, donors, and volunteers. Like all social change, correcting inequity and unhealthy power dynamics takes time, and this summit will be an important first step.

The summit is being offered at no charge and will be most successful if a broad cross-section of our community is in attendance. We would like to see representation from every Jewish institution and organization in the Greater Atlanta area. Please consider sending a team that includes your top professionals, board members, and volunteers.

We hope you will join us in our commitment to making our Jewish communal workplaces and communal spaces safe, respectful, equitable places where we can all thrive. Please join us as we begin this work together as one united community. It takes all of us together to create systematic change. 

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Fact Sheet
Monday, February 24, 2020, 8:30 am - 1:00 pm
1440 Spring St NW
1440 Spring St NW
Atlanta, GA 30309

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