A definitive ranking of DJJ's 2023 accomplishments

2023 was an incredible year for DJJ. We organized, celebrated, mourned, strategized….and many more cool verbs. But the question that has been flooding my inbox over the last week: what was best? Just kidding, literally no one has asked me this, but rankings are fun, so here are the five best things DJJ did in 2023.

5. We developed our Theory of Change!

Over the last couple months, our staff, leaders, and board have sharpened our theoretical and strategic analyses to make them super sharp. This means articulating answers to big questions:  How does our work—developing local Jewish organizers and mobilizing Jews to support movements for racial and economic justice—lead to our vision of a future where everyone has equal rights, dignity, safety, and the resources they need to thrive? Why organize as Jews? Why organize in social movements? We answered these questions collectively, because being collectively clear about strategy and theory makes our work accessible to all of our people. Stay tuned for the official unveiling!

4. We built momentum for housing security for Detroiters

Everyone knows it, everyone feels it: rents, home-prices, and mortgage rates are all sky-high, increasing housing insecurity for everyone. While we have joined statewide efforts to fight this, the accelerating housing crisis is particularly affecting Detroiters, and we are so proud to be a part of the local movement for housing security. 

As part of the Coalition for Property Tax Justice, we canvassed and called our neighbors on the property tax foreclosure list to connect them with public resources. Our coalition also passed the Property Tax Reform Ordinance, guaranteeing vital systemic checks to ensure that people’s property taxes are no longer overassessed, and their homes no longer illegally foreclosed. With our partners Detroit People’s Platform and Detroiters for Tax Justice, we fought the $800 million in property taxes that were waived to billionaire developers for District Detroit, and got Council President Mary Sheffield to vote against it. Now, we are turning our attention towards using Community Benefits Agreements processes to ensure that corporate developers are also funding affordable housing.

3. We mobilized 26?!?! 26 Michigan Rabbis? No way. 

Yes, it’s true – 26 Michigan rabbis from around the state signed onto a letter we wrote with the Jewish Community Relations Council / American Jewish Committee in support of the Drive SAFE bills to grant driver’s licenses to all Michiganders, but particularly our undocumented neighbors. The overwhelming support we got from leaders of Jewish communities across the state understand that it is in Jewish interests to protect and support the most vulnerable within our communities. We also went on TV to talk about it!

2. We put on an amazing Purim spiel!

As part of our partnership with the Hate Won’t Win Campaign, our leaders wrote and performed an original Purim Spiel! It was incredible, complete with costumes, time travel, heists, and a Lady Gaga cover. We laughed and cried, and heard about the incredible achievements of state level advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights. If you weren’t there, I don’t even know what to say…just kidding I do: come through next year!

1. We went to Lansing! Repeatedly!

We advocated for  statewide water affordability, driver’s licenses for all, a renter’s bill of rights, fair chance housing for formerly incarcerated Michiganders, LGBTQ+ rights, and clean energy. While we one some of those (clean energy and LGBTQ+ rights), we frustratingly saw a number of our other partners’ issues languish in committees. While we are resolute in our commitments to continuing this statewide legislative advocacy in 2024, we are a little more sober and much much wiser.


So those are some of the highlights! We are proud of them, and hope you are too. We are looking to 2024, with an eye towards building a broad base on Jewish organizers around our priority issues. Please support us to help make this dream a reality! 


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