Staff Spotlight: Meet Zohar

Get to know the BWC staff! First up is Zohar Berman (they/them), our Social Justice & Community Organizer. Need to get in touch with Zohar? Email them at zohar@circleboston.org

How did you hear about/get connected with BWC?

I found my way to BWC through my background as a Yiddishist! I had the incredible opportunity to study Yiddish language and culture at the Yiddish Book Center’s Steiner Summer Program, during which time I learned so much about the rich traditions of Yiddish labor organizing, including the work of the Arbeter Ring, or Workers Circle. Being a Yiddishist based in New England, I was excited to learn that the Boston Workers Circle was continuing this legacy with intergenerational cultural preservation and social justice organizing. For many years I was an admirer from afar, but when my professional journey took me back to New England as BWC was hiring for a new organizer, I knew the connection was bashert (destined to be)!

What do you do at BWC/what can members come to you for help with?

As Social Justice & Cultural Organizer, I bring together cultural modes of organizing and social justice education to support our community’s organizing needs. A huge part of my role is maintaining touch points throughout our community so I can identify opportunities for collaboration and support our incredible members as they put together their wonderful programming. I assist our Community Care Circle in meeting the mutual aid needs of our community, regularly attend committee meetings to stay up to date with their projects, and meet with co-chairs and other member leaders to strategize on organizing approaches and running their committees smoothly. As organizer I typically have a good sense of ebbs and flows of programming, and often can help direct our members to the answers they’re looking for, or to other staff people who may know.

In addition to working closely with committees, I also lead certain aspects of program planning, particularly for our Young Adult Community, and support the cultural organizing needs of our Shule students. I periodically meet with external partners, particularly other Boston organizers, to keep lines of communication open and anticipate potential avenues for collaboration. I have taken on new responsibilities in leading our Adult Education classes, and as an educator I’m excited for the future of the program.

Members should reach out to me to talk through organizing strategy for events, campaigns, or other projects, to expand their knowledge in social justice, and to seek out support in building their skills as organizers and leaders. I am excited to be working with a few members and other staff to prepare upcoming skill-building sessions, so keep your eyes peeled for when sign ups open!

What are you reading/watching/listening to this summer?I have loved listening to “Maintenance Phase,” with Audrey Gordon and Michael Hobbes, which is all about “debunking the junk science behind health fads, wellness scams, and nonsensical nutrition advice.” It has been such an essential listen for me in understanding how fatphobia, ableism, white supremacy, and capitalism have produced a culture which demonizes fat people and leaves an imprint of the destructive values of these dominant systems on our perceptions of our own bodies. If you’re looking for a place to start, check out “The Trouble with Calories”!

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