Frequently Asked Questions
What is SRE?
SRE is an initiative to ensure safe, respectful and equitable Jewish workplaces and communal spaces. Inspired by broader national movements and informed by Jewish values and traditions, SRE is specifically committed to addressing sexual harassment, sexism and gender discrimination. We aim to help support, coordinate and amplify change in individual organizations as well as accelerate a broader culture shift.
While SRE’s focus is on gender discrimination and sexual harassment, we recognize that there are many other forms of discrimination and harassment, including discrimination based on race, national origin, disability, age and others. We urge Jewish workplaces and communal spaces to take active steps to prevent and address these other, often intersecting, forms of discrimination and harassment.
Why is SRE needed?
We recognize that sexual misconduct and discrimination happen in Jewish workplaces and communal spaces, too. We cannot tolerate these behaviors within our institutions. We are called upon by the ethical standards of our tradition to address them within our community, as well as to lend our voices and action to the national movement seeking a culture shift in our country.
The rise of #MeToo and related movements, as well as ongoing media coverage of new incidents, have propelled greater awareness and ignited action, but not enough is being done at a system-wide level to reduce occurrences or to assure that organizations deal with these issues appropriately when they do happen. More must also be done to ensure that women and people of all genders who are impacted feel empowered to speak up without fear of repercussions.
Who are the members of SRE?
SRE is currently comprised of approximately 120 organizations, funders, individuals and experts. This effort is meant to be inclusive and diverse. The participating organizations are based across the United States and embody a range of missions, perspectives and activities within the Jewish community. The individual leaders who are part of SRE represent a broad array of Jewish professionals, volunteers, students, board members and donors.
As members of SRE, we are united by a shared set of goals. We are committed to ensuring workplaces and communal spaces in the Jewish world are safe, respectful and equitable. We acknowledge that this work is in progress and not necessarily complete for all organizations who have made this commitment as part of SRE. Realizing the goals of the coalition will require persistence, time, individual self-reflection and collective action.
In the coming weeks, we will roll out opportunities for more people and organizations to get involved with this movement.
What exactly is SRE's work?
SRE helps develop, support, coordinate and amplify the work of organizations and individuals who are pursuing the goals of this initiative. The following four priorities guide our initial set of activities:
- Commitment and standards to address ethical workplace and communal space behavior;
- Awareness and education to support organizational and culture change throughout the community;
- Policies and procedures to prevent and respond effectively to sexual harassment, gender bias, sexual orientation discrimination and their related abuses of power; and
- Training and support to help organizations create cultures of fairness and civility.
What does success look like? How will SRE approach this work?
Jewish workplaces and communal spaces are safe, respectful and equitable, and sexual harassment, sexism and gender discrimination are no longer tolerated.
SRE’s goal of changing the culture of Jewish workplaces and communal spaces regarding sexual harassment and gender discrimination demands a collective impact approach. When it comes to dealing with something pervasive—like sexual/gender harassment and discrimination—the problem is embedded in organization and structures. While it might be possible to convince many organizations to try and change individually on their own, change can happen much more efficiently by using a collective impact approach.
Who is SRE for? Who can get involved?
We seek to include agencies of varying sizes, movements and locations; people of all genders, sexual orientations, abilities, ages and origins; professionals and volunteers, board members and community members; religious and secular, and the diverse racial and ethnic mosaic that makes up today’s Jewish community.
While SRE is specifically focused on creating change in Jewish workplaces and communal spaces, it is by no means limited to those who identify as Jewish. We aim to impact all employees, members of and participants in Jewish communal activities. We value the voices, input and action of anyone or organization that shares SRE’s goals. We hope the commitment, standards and resources we create will be relevant for and used by organizations beyond the Jewish community.
How can more people or organizations get involved?
In the coming weeks, we will roll out opportunities for more people and organizations to get involved with this movement. Join SRE’s email list to ensure you receive the latest updates, get access to resources and learn about opportunities to take action in support of SRE’s goals.
Why start a new initiative when there are already responses to harassment and discrimination more broadly?
The Jewish community has a strong legacy of taking action in the face of injustice. We have a responsibility to acknowledge and address any sexual harassment, sexism and gender discrimination that exists in the places where we learn, gather and worship.
SRE is focused on creating lasting change within the Jewish community, and our efforts are specifically designed to support, coordinate and amplify change at the organizational and systemic levels. We are inspired by national efforts like Time’s Up Now and #MeToo. We hope SRE complements these important initiatives and contributes to achieving our shared goals of safety, respect and equity that transcend any one single effort.
I have experienced sexual harassment, sexism or gender discrimination. What do I do?
If you need immediate support, you can call the RAINN hotline. Individuals and organizations can also report issues to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The #MeToo movement has also compiled a comprehensive set of resources. Additional resources specific to the Jewish community will be available soon.