The community-based organization North Shore Action was formed by eight Jewish women who met to discuss participation in the Women’s March on Washington just prior to the 2017 Presidential inauguration. United by their deepening concerns about President-elect Trump’s campaign promises that seemed aimed at rolling back the rights of women and minorities, as well as a host of other issues, they decided they needed to take action at a local level.
The women lost no time. They mobilized marchers to travel together to the rally in Washington, DC, as well as more than 50 marchers to Manhattan with banners titled Women of Valor. Because some were unable to attend the marches due to Shabbat restrictions, they held a learning session in solidarity, inviting Rabbi Abby Sosland to speak about the many examples of women in Jewish scripture who hold nontraditional roles, such as judge, military leader, religious authority or sovereign, who exerted influence and power both inside and outside the traditional power structures in biblical Israel.
“From the beginning, we knew that we don’t practice Judaism exactly the same way, and we were determined not to let differences drive a wedge between what we set out to do—mobilize around women’s rights,” said Veronica Lurvey, one of the original eight founders of the group. “And I’m glad we stuck with it, because it turns out that what unites us is so much stronger than our differences.”
Since then, the group has steadily grown through word of mouth, even though the group’s Facebook page is secret. “We are always looking for more members because there is so much work to do,” said Beth Friedmann.
The group has met three times since that initial gathering, and advocates for local and national issues of concern to the community and stresses the need to speak up.
“We urge people to call their elected officials, whether at the federal, state or local level. Call them to tell them when you disagree with something, but also call them to thank them when you approve of something they have done,” said Jacqueline Harounian. “The important thing is to make the call and to get involved. We believe that the American legal tradition and the Jewish tradition both recognize the importance of preserving the right to dissent. This is part of our mission statement.”
North Shore Action’s mission also includes an educational component. The group will be introduced to the community during its first free community-wide event at Jonathan L. Ielpi Firefighters Park on Sunday, April 23, at 12:45 p.m. when Congressman Tom Suozzi speaks at Join Together with North Shore Action.
The group will have a table where attendees can register to vote, courtesy of the League of Women Voters, and will offer up-to-date information about matters of importance to the local community, including combating hate crimes, maintaining safety in response to potential threats, providing sources of help with immigration issues, environmental advocacy and support for Planned Parenthood. Experts will be available to answer questions about these issues.
The group welcomes all women and men. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.