Social justice programs engage those on the periphery of the Jewish community for lots of reasons. At JOI, we have also been thinking about whether such organizations are intentional about such efforts or are they simply “off-label” benefits of their work, to borrow a phrase from the pharmaceutical industry. (By the way, this will be one of many topics that will be under discussion at JOI’s next national conference.)
In any case, we were thrilled to see the social networking platform called the Jewish Service Online Network that has been designed (by the same folks who designed BBYO’s new alumni site) for those who have been engaged by social justice efforts in the Jewish community. (Like BBYO, this effort has been given its support by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, which also supports JOI.) It will be interesting to see how effective this site will be as a follow-up to the social justice programs in the community. As JOI has learned and continues to teach, it will take proactive follow-up even with such a well-designed site in order to pave a path from an engagement activity to the Jewish community.