From Compliance to Compassion: A Holistic Approach to Harassment Prevention

February 17, 2020

Source: eJewish Philanthropy 


In December, Ta’amod: Stand Up! launched its inaugural Train the Trainer program. Ta’amod’s mission is to help Jewish communal institutions develop cultures of safety, respect, and equity. This training equipped a cohort of educators to offer Jewish nonprofits legally compliant harassment prevention training as part of a larger discussion around nurturing respectful workplace culture through a Jewish lens. There is now an emerging national network of professionals certified to deliver training in the Jewish community to nonprofits, foundations, synagogues, and schools.

The Ta’amod training is unlike any anti-harassment training we have ever received as Jewish communal professionals. This program seeks to raise the standard in the Jewish workplace from compliance to compassion and it recognizes that harassment is a symptom of a greater problem: a lack of safety and respect in our institutional cultures.

While we did discuss anti-harassment compliance and other legal issues, the bulk of the training was focused on creating healthy workplace cultures through a Jewish lens. This not only creates a positive culture that makes harassment intrinsically less likely, it also makes our communal institutions more effective. Ta’amod emphasizes the need and teaches concrete tools to create feedback-rich environments, to empower bystanders to intervene, and to begin to understand our biases so that we can disrupt them. While we do discuss legal responsibilities, we also wrestle with our ethical responsibilities from a Jewish perspective, affirming that our organizations are rooted in Jewish values and mission which should guide our culture even with diversity among our staff.

If we want to prevent harassment in our community, we need to do more than present legally compliant slideshows on what constitutes a breach of the law. Legal compliance is important, but it does not drive culture change or enhance employee engagement and psychological safety.

Creating compassionate workplaces is not gender issue – it is a Jewish issue and a moral imperative which is also central to the success of our communal organizations. Preventing harassment in the Jewish workplace requires us to shift our thinking away from preventing harassment and toward creating safe, respectful, and equitable workplaces. In a feedback-rich and healthy work environment, not only is harassment less likely but our organizations will be more effective. It is time we move away from ensuring employee compliance to creating cultures of compassion.

Read more at eJewish Philanthropy

Updated: Feb. 24, 2020