Affinity groups are groups where people gather and engage with one another around shared identities or interests. **Fun fact** the Jewish farmer network is an identity (Judaism) + interest (Farming) affinity organization!
Affinity groups allow Jewish Farmer Network to create spaces for community learning and connection that are deeply inclusive of the tremendous diversity of experiences and identities of Jewish farmers. We are excited to meet you wherever you are in your journey, while offering tools, questions, and perspectives to deepen both solidarity practices and feelings of belonging within Jewish community.
The Jewish Farmer Network distinguishes between identity based affinity groups and interest based affinity groups because we know that the two often require different kinds of support.
Identity based affinity groups gather around different identities such as race, gender, sexuality, nationality, disability, socio-economic class, religion or level of religious observance. Identity based affinity groups can be a place for folks who share non-dominant identities in a larger community to gather, heal, support, and celebrate one another. There are often tighter boundaries surrounding who can and cannot participate in these spaces in order to ensure privacy and safety.
Interest based affinity groups are spaces where those who share common interests, skills, or livelihoods can gather to share resources, support, and learn together.
Why are affinity groups important?
Jews are one and we are many. Our community includes Jewish farmers who are Black, Indigenous, Jews of Color, white, white-passing, Mizrahi, Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Disabled, able-bodied, trans, cis, queer, Jews by choice, Orthodox, secular, reform, conservative, renewal, and so many more.
We as the Jewish Farmer Network know that growth, healing, and connection can and need to happen both as a collective whole as well as in smaller more intimate groups.
For some our work is to learn and practice how to share space with each other across differences in identity and experience, for others the work is to heal, celebrate, and rest in a shared community. We trust that the connection, healing, learning, and un-learning that happen in smaller groups do not detract from an overall sense of community belonging. When we are rooted in and nourished by our own histories, rituals, and practices and show up for others in their own processes, we can ground in the abundant reality that our liberation is intimately tied to the liberation of one another.
Interested in starting an affinity group or organizing an affinity space?
Email JFN’s Network Coordinator if you are interested in starting an affinity group, organizing an affinity-based program, or starting an email listserv! We will discuss what is possible within the Jewish Farmer Network and figure out the best ways we can support you.