The Board of Directors of Jewish Community Action is pleased to announce that a transition is afoot. As of March 13th, Carin Mrotz will be our new Executive Director. After 17 years, Vic Rosenthal is retiring from his role and will remain engaged as a consultant through May to assist with the transition. Join us in celebrating Vic's legacy and in welcoming Carin to this new role!
A Message from Vic:
I have been honored to serve as Executive Director of Jewish Community Action for nearly 17 years.
JCA has provided me the opportunity to do the most meaningful and satisfying organizing work of my career. I’ve had the privilege of working with incredibly powerful and committed staff who have built this organization over the past 21 years. I have been honored to share our successes and challenges with the support and partnership of wonderful board members, and leaders that have worked on so many JCA campaigns.
While this work remains both critical and rewarding, I believe now is the time for me to step down as Executive Director of JCA so it can start a new phase of growth and powerful organizing under new leadership. Organizing is, fundamentally, about bringing new leadership to the fore and then stepping out of the way to allow them to build a more powerful, broad-based movement. It is my hope to leave JCA both stronger and more powerful than when we started, but poised to take incredible new strides for justice as the next generation of leaders step up.
As I reflect on my time as executive director, I am very proud of what we accomplished that built on the vision of JCA’s founders, Rachel Breen, Steven Gray and Frank Hornstein. From a small organization with a different name (Jewish Metropolitan Organizing Project) and barely one hundred member households, we have a staff of 7 talented professionals and nearly 1,000 member households. We have built relationships with countless allies and established a respected name for bringing a powerful Jewish voice to issues of racial and economic justice. We can be proud of our work in coalition to build affordable housing, pass marriage equality, protect the rights of immigrants, prevent voter suppression, and reduce prison sentences. Perhaps most importantly, we have provided training and programs to educate and engage Jewish leaders in this work and train the next generation of leaders through Seeds of Justice.
I am so excited that the JCA Board of Directors has selected Carin Mrotz as JCA’s next Executive Director. Of course, I’m not unbiased in championing their choice. For more than 12 years, Carin and I have worked closely together to build this organization internally and externally. Carin has built our communications work, led training and leadership development, established powerful alliances, while also leading strategic thinking and serving as a key spokesperson. She has been essential to JCA’s growth. Most recently, Carin has been the deputy director working side by side with me in building the organization to where it is now.
With the election behind us, and with so many uncertainties and legitimate fears about what the future means for our families, our communities and especially for women, Muslims, indigenous people and people of color, this is certainty not the time to leave the struggle. And, of course, I am not. While I may be leaving JCA as its director and as part of the staff, I will remain active as a member and donor to support the new leadership and the important work that lies ahead. I hope and believe you will join me in this work. I will also stay active as a consultant in the many critically important racial and economic justice campaigns in the Twin Cities. I look forward to working with so many of you in the coming years in my new capacity, making sure we defend our many victories while making sure the Twin Cities remains the innovative, progressive place it needs to be.
The values JCA has taught me about shared destiny, collective power and intergenerational work are more important than ever. From strength to strength.
A Message from Carin:
I grew up in the Jewish community of South Florida, the youngest child of public school teachers. I was raised with an understanding of my connection to a longer history of resistance, organizing, and social justice, and as a young person, I worked on campaigns and became involved in campus activism. I was an activist who was also a Jew, and while I had some understanding of how those different identities fed each other, I maintained a separation between who I was and the work that I did. That changed when I joined Jewish Community Action 12 years ago. Across the country from the community in which I was raised, I found a place where bringing my entire self to the work wasn’t just encouraged, it was necessary. I found a home for Jewish activism and a community that has become my family.
In 12 years, I have been inspired and amazed by JCA’s members. I’ve worked alongside many of you, knocking on doors to prevent foreclosures, registering voters, and talking to our neighbors about dangerous amendments to disenfranchise voters and deny marriage equality. We’ve had hard conversations about the Jewish community’s role in ending racism. We’ve organized Shabbat dinners in Minneapolis and marches to support immigrants’ rights in Iowa. We’re working together to transform our community from within to enable us to bring the strongest possible Jewish voice to our work for racial and economic justice in Minnesota.
This is an uncertain political moment. Since November, I’ve done my own share of yelling and throwing things (always at screens, never at people, I swear), but here is what I come back to: there is no one I would rather be with in this moment than the staff, board, and members of Jewish Community Action. You show up for justice in the streets, at the Capitol, and in your congregations. You stand in solidarity and you stand up for one another. I am truly, incredibly excited to step into this new role among you.
In a tough environment, JCA is growing. We’re engaging new members, we’re working to deepen and broaden our relationships with allies inside and outside of the Jewish community, and with our Action Havurah, we are building a distinctly Jewish home for resistance. Together we’ll bring this work to our community in a transformative and intersectional way, with clear and meaningful Jewish pathways for member engagement and powerful collective wins.
I’ve learned so much from Vic and I’m humbled to carry forward the organization he has grown and nurtured, given so much of himself to. I’m honored that the board has chosen me to take the wheel, and I hope that in the coming months, I’ll get to know all of you as we continue to build together.
In peace and in power,