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Sharing Your Policy

Regular communication about your policy is critical to ensuring that people in your organization are familiar with its terms. When your policy is referenced and integrated in daily operations and programming, and people are knowledgeable about its content, your entire organization can become active participants in upholding it. This happens by regular education and discourse on the topic – both formal and informal, so that community members can readily recognize concerning behavior and intervene early on, and by a climate that supports and has ample modeling of safe, respectful, equitable interactions among its people.

Please note this submodule has not yet been externally reviewed. We will remove this note upon completion of external review, anticipated by January 2023. For more on why Sacred Spaces’ external review is a critical component of our resource development, see Keilim Toolkit Review Process.

Considerations

Timing

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Communications about your policy may include designated times annually or semi-annually when it is shared out. Sharing the terms of your policy can be a collaborative process that begins before it is officially adopted, thereby allowing you to hear critical feedback and generate support for the initiative early on. Continuing to talk about the policy after it is adopted, and making sure its terms are well known allows the positive aspects of your policy to continue to shape the organizational culture beyond the initial roll-out phase. For those new to your organization, whether as employees, volunteers, visitors or others, make sure to share the policy with them as part of their onboarding or welcome packet. See Affirmations below for ways to formalize and document this process.

Distribution Modalities

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Some people learn best by having time to read, synthesize and access visual aids, others from auditory presentations and interactive discussions, and some by a combination of these and other modalities. Consider sharing your policy in a variety of ways from formal distribution, which can include a special email about the policy, providing copies of the policy at a meeting, leaving a hard copy in an accessible and known place, and posting it in an easy to navigate place on your website; to formal education, such as compliance training and skill-building exercises (discussed above) or coaching; to arranging opportunities for discussion, such as focus groups, one-on-one conversations, text-studies, and sermons. You may also consider creating visual summaries, an executive summary highlighting key points, and posting signage throughout the building that references the policy. Utilizing different modalities to raise awareness of the existence of your policy, its terms, and how to report violations, helps to accommodate a variety of learning styles and makes your policy more accessible to a broader array of constituents.

When considering how you will begin to raise awareness about your policy and share its contents, this is a great place to get creative. Three ideas that come from different Jewish organizations who shared new policies include:

  • Producing short YouTube videos for each section of the policy
  • Framing each component of the policy as a positive Jewish value and naming different rooms in the building with the Hebrew words that matched the policy sections. 
  • Organizing a series of focus groups prior to the policy rollout, seeking input on the policy, and explaining each section.

Short-term visitors

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For organizations with members, program participants, and visitors, such as synagogues or JCCs, distributing your policy is advisable, along with communication from appropriate leaders explaining its applicability. It can also be helpful to provide an executive summary that links to the fuller policy. Where appropriate, signage might inform visitors that “(Organization) has a policy to support a safe, respectful, and equitable environment, and to encourage reporting of problematic interpersonal conduct.  Copies can be found (insert link to website page) or are available (physical place). Policy violations can be reported to (_____).”

Affirmation

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Some organizations document that their policy has been distributed and have people sign an affirmation statement that they are willing to abide by it. Signed affirmations may be optional for community members and required for employees and volunteers, or required for everyone. Signed affirmations by employees or volunteers are then retained in personnel files. (For more on document retention and personnel files see Keilim’s Receiving a Report section in the Organizational Response module). 

Creating a Distribution and Education Plan

Training, ongoing dialogue, and multiple modes of distribution help to get the policy off of the shelf and into the hands of the people it’s meant to protect. It can be helpful to create a list of all the individuals who interact with or access your organization, and designate specific ways to share information and/or education about your policy. For a sample training and affirmation plan from one synagogue, see Sample Education and Distribution Plan in Supporting Resources below.

Supporting Resources