16 Building Liberatory Movement Cultures — IfNotNow (Helen Bennett, Michal David, & Ilana Lerman)

This week we’re talking with IfNotNow leaders Ilana Lerman, Helen Bennett, and Michal David. We talk culture design as a key component of movement building, including dealing with internalized oppression as a community, guarding against appropriation as people search for belonging, the role of song and ritual, celebrating and supporting leadership, the complexities of organizing the Jewish community, and more.

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Check out IfNotNow’s comprehensive song collection on SoundCloud.

About our guests

IfNotNow is a movement founded and led by young Jews working to transform the American Jewish Community’s support for the Occupation in Israel/Palestine into a call for freedom and dignity for all Palestinians and Israelis.

Ilana Lerman’s ashkenazi family flooded her life with song and tradition, as well as a commitment to facing injustice with a fierceness. Ilana is blessed to have been one of the early mischief-makers in IfNotNow and is currently the Spiritual & Cultural Life Organizer with Jewish Voice for Peace and co-leads a Jewish liberatory singing retreat called Let My People Sing!

Michal David spends her days working through a trauma-informed lens to support the healing and growth of youth experiencing homelessness. As a volunteer organizer for IfNotNow and an Arab Jew, Michal nurtures leaders to build movement culture rooted in interdependence, and creates spaces that are liberatory for Jews of all racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Helen Bennett is a community organizer, trainer, and spiritual director who loves to help people remember how much it’s worth it to trust and depend on each other. As a volunteer organizer for IfNotNow, Helen leads on culture as strategy, which means experimenting with intuitive ways to keep rooted and also grow while prioritizing personal and collective healing, support, and transformation.

Practice: Leading Movement Songs with Intention

Check out the corresponding practice to learn some best practices in leading group song - including honoring lineage, guarding against appropriation, skilled coordination of group teaching and singing, and WHY songs are critical for movement building.

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