Bend the Arc draws on the long and important tradition of American Jewish action, training Jewish activists and advocating for policies that are fair, inclusive, and just. As the demand for community action has dramatically grown (since November 2016, more than 170,000 people have engaged with the organization), so has Bend the Arc’s presence on the national stage. With support from RPF, Bend the Arc will continue to develop its growing grassroots base and to contribute a strong, multi-racial Jewish voice to progressive and multi-faith movements.
Inspired by the successes of the Civil Rights movement, Auburn (which first became a partner of RPF’s more than a decade ago) brings together top leaders from Jewish, Christian, Muslim and other faith traditions to sharpen their leadership skills, increase their visibility and effectiveness as moral voices, and connect social justice movements around the key issues of our time. RPF supported the program with a two-year grant in 2016. Since then, it has grown to include 25 faith leaders working on and leading efforts ranging from the Poor People’s Campaign (re-launched by Reverend William Barber III in May) to Bend the Arc. In addition to strengthening their individual efforts, the program fosters relationships among the Senior Fellows to build and nurture the larger progressive religious movement.
With the number of displaced people at its highest in recorded history, the Jewish mandate to care for refugees is more pressing than ever. HIAS, the oldest (and only Jewish) refugee resettlement agency in the country, is responding by redoubling its work advocating for refugees and assisting with their resettlement. Renewed funding from Righteous Persons Foundation will help HIAS engage tens of thousands of American Jews around refugee issues and support expanded work along the Southern U.S. Border.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has been tracking and combating anti-Semitism and protecting American civil liberties since its founding in 1903—work that, unfortunately, is increasingly critical today. (The ADL recently reported the highest single-year increase in anti-Semitic incidents since the organization began releasing audits in 1979.) This renewal grant will support the Center on Technology and Society, their Silicon Valley-based initiative dedicated to understanding and stemming online hate, and core ADL programming in Los Angeles and the Pacific Southwest region.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles is the central agency that provides assistance to thousands of Jews in need each year, helps non-Jewish Angelenos as part of the Jewish commitment to social justice, and works to develop a sense of Jewish communal life in a sprawling city. This renewal grant provides support for the Federation’s continued work.
The Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Clergy Leadership Program sustains and strengthens moral leaders—work that is essential today. The 18-month program helps Jewish clergy cultivate personal practices that will benefit their work over time. It includes four five-day contemplative retreats that combine prayer, meditation, text study, group discussions, and ongoing guidance from the highly regarded staff of this longtime RPF grantee. Nearly 40 Jewish leaders are currently enrolled and the program has graduated more than 400 alumni to date.
A “creative studio for the Jewish future,” Reboot is a network of artists, activists, and entrepreneurs working to reinvigorate Jewish life by making the old new and the new inviting and meaningful. Reboot, which RPF co-founded in the early 2000s, continues to leverage the creativity of its nearly 600 members while working with more than 1,250 community partners to engage hundreds of thousands of people in Reboot-designed programming each year.
Over the 20 years since the Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum was established, it has become the premiere destination for scholars, filmmakers, and educators interested in audiovisual materials on the Holocaust. In addition to expanding its collection, the Archive—which moved into a state-of-the-art, climate-controlled facility in 2017—is a core resource for the Museum, which integrated archival footage into a variety of public programs in 2018. Looking ahead, the Museum will continue acquiring amateur footage captured before and after WWII, and will invest in projects that make the Archive increasingly accessible to large audiences. One example: inviting filmmakers of all ages to create short videos exploring the theme “what you do matters” using footage from the archives.
More than 70 years after the end of WWII, the American response to the Holocaust remains contested by historians. While some hail President Roosevelt as a savior of the Jewish people, others believe he largely failed them. Millions of potentially significant items related to this period—including the diaries of Henry Morgenthau Jr., the Secretary of Treasury whose efforts led to the creation of the War Refugee Board—belong to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. Until now, these items have been difficult to access or contextualize. As a result, the Roosevelt Institute (which runs the Library and Museum) has begun a multi-year effort to make these materials more accessible. Between 2018 and 2020 the Institute will research, curate, and digitize more than 100,000 pages of documents that speak to this history, from FDR’s pre-war policy on refugees and the St. Louis being denied entry to Cuba, to the events leading up to the War Refugee Board’s formation. Funding from RPF will help the Institute advance this project so that new audiences can learn about—and take actionable lessons from—this complicated and important past.