After four happy years at the Union of Jewish Students, I started working for WJR precisely 3 weeks and 2 days ago.
I'm our Campaigns Manager - it’s a really exciting and ambitious new role, which, while still a work-in-progress, will address three main areas.
Firstly, we’re going to give WJR a voice and an opinion about the root causes of poverty. We’re going to research, analyse and then shout from the rooftops the reasons why so many people – Jewish and non-Jewish – live on less than $2 a day in the areas where we work. Perhaps even more importantly, we’re also going to let you know what you can do about it. And it won’t just be by asking you for more money (although, of course, we’ll never say no!).
Over the coming year we’re going to start creating a grass-roots movement for change within the Jewish community to raise awareness of the issues we want to talk about and to come up with solutions. This might lead to lobbying UK government to uphold its commitments to helping countries less fortunate than ours as well as supporting civil society groups working on the ground to create real change.
Secondly, we’re going to make a much bigger effort to help people understand our work. When I told my friends I was going to work for WJR, the reaction nearly always followed this pattern: “Mazal tov, you’re finally getting a proper job!” followed by “WJR – they’re really cool” followed almost immediately by “What do they do again?”
We have to get better at spreading the word about the phenomenal work WJR does, both within the traditional Jewish community, but also amongst Jews who are perhaps not that formally or regularly involved but who would be very interested in learning about our organisation.
Thirdly and finally, it’s time to put the ‘J’ back in to WJR. Having already met representatives from some of the big NGOs in the international development field – Save the Children, Islamic Relief, Christian Aid, CAFOD and the British Red Cross – not only is there a real interest in having a Jewish perspective at the table, there is much the Jewish community has to offer.
We’re also going to share with our supporters the Jewish values in which WJR’s work is grounded. How do we make decisions about where to work? What are the Jewish dilemmas we face? What does Jewish teaching have to say about how we operate, beyond the overused and somewhat meaningless term ‘tikkun olam’?
Three weeks and two days in to the new role I have been blown away by both the professionalism and friendliness of the WJR office. Maybe they are all just being on their best behaviour to impress me, but I’ve walked in to an environment where the different teams work together efficiently for the betterment of the whole organisation.
And all this while improving, and in many cases, quite literally saving, the lives of tens of thousands of people across the world.
If you’d like to get involved in our work, or for more information, drop me a line on email@example.com