Project Shamash

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Project Shamash is a racial equity and leadership initiative from Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice designed to spark a future where our communal institutions fully reflect the diversity of our community. Project Shamash is launching in the Bay Area as a three-year pilot program with the potential for national expansion.

Project Shamash supports Jews of Color (JOC) in deepening their connection to Jewish leadership and Jewish institutions in evaluating their culture and developing customized racial equity frameworks rooted in anti-racist and Jewish values to ensure the success of future JOC staff or board members. These goals are achieved through three community-based programmatic offerings:

  1. A JOC+ Professionals Network for field professionals looking to build and deepen their commitment to Jewish leadership.
  2. An Organizational Change Cohort for Jewish institutions with an interest in building or refining an organizational culture and infrastructure that supports racial equity and racial justice.
  3. Community programs aimed at uplifting the voices, magnifying the interests, and centering the needs of Jews of Color within Jewish life, including young adults and families.

All of our programs are designed with the goal of creating systemic change that supports a lifelong commitment to racial equity and JOC success in the professional Jewish community.

Why here, why now?

The East Bay is home to approximately 122,000 Jewish people, making it one of the most racially diverse communities in the nation, with 1 in 4 Jewish households including a person of color. Despite our racial diversity, local Jewish institutions are notably absent of Jews of color in their membership, staff, and board leadership. Aware that this is both an ethical concern and strategic challenge for Jewish life in 21st century America, Project Shamash was developed to support JOC in ascending to leadership roles within Jewish institutions, and to support Jewish organizations in developing a lifelong racial equity roadmap.

Any questions about Project Shamash can be directed to Bekkah Scharf, Project Shamash Manager, at [email protected].


Project Shamash is generously funded by the  Rodan Family Foundation,  Together Rising, and  the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco.