Who The Folk?! Carin Mrotz

This week, we spoke with Carin Mrotz, the deputy director of Jewish Community Action in the Twin Cities and a co-host on “Wrong About Everything,” a weekly podcast about national and state politics. Originally from Philly, Carin grew up in South Florida and moved to the Twin Cities after graduating from college. She talks to us about getting into social action work and what makes it meaningful.

What led you to pursuing social justice full time? Where did you get your start?

In my long view of my life growing up, and then being an activist as a teenager and as a college student, I think I had always seen social action being the thing I would like to do. I don’t know that I was aware that you could do it as a profession, though. I always thought that you needed to have a “real” job and then do social activism or campaign work as your side volunteer thing. At some point working in the private sector, I kind of became aware that you could make social justice the primary focus of what you do every day. So I decided to leave my job and look for a new one specifically in social justice, and I ended up at JCA.”

How did you get involved with the Jewish Community Action?


Carin Mrotz participating in a Hanukkah action to support Black Lives Matter.

I don’t think I was aware that there even was this organization that was organizing specifically Jews around racial and economic justice. When I read the job ad, I thought, “Oh my god, I have to get the job.”

Why is it important to promote Jewish action in racial and economic justice issues during a time when these topics dominate news media?

I think that as Jews, we have a combination of a textual and also a historic commitment to civil rights. We also have a tremendous amount of privilege here in this country today. So I think that we have this understanding and this empathy with oppression but we also have tremendous power now to take action on behalf of people who are facing more direct oppression at the moment.

How is social justice a Jewish issue?

From the minute we are born, we’re in a covenant to fix the world. I think it’s our fundamental inheritance that if we’re going to live Jewishly, truly living Jewishly means a commitment to social justice.

Why are you passionate about the work you do with the Jewish Community Action?

There’s a lot of things. My work is very serious, but I also enjoy it and I get to work with a lot of people who are really inspiring. It’s meaningful work because it actually works. I think that for me, as an organizer, there’s sometimes this question of, ‘So, what comes next?’ Sometimes, when you’re in a campaign, there’s a clear next action, and sometimes, you’re in a moment when you’re doing more base building and really what’s next is to build deeper relationships and have more challenging conversations. I think that more of that is necessary.

Favorite Jewish holiday?

I love Passover. I always host a lot of people, like my family and a lot of friends, who are not Jewish. We had 28 or 29 people last year.

Best Jewish food?

Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews.

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