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The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Stosh Cotler

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Stosh Cotler until we are able to commission a full entry.

Stosh Cotler, CEO and radical social activist.

Courtesy of Bend the Arc

An unconventional CEO with tattoos, a black belt, and a reputation as a radical social activist, Stosh Cotler has mobilized Jewish Americans to fight for immigration reform, racial equality, and workers’ rights. Cotler became involved with advocacy work in her twenties, while living in Portland, Oregon. There, drawing on her skills as a black belt, she created Open Hand, an organization which taught women and girls self defense and offered violence prevention and empowerment training. Meanwhile, she became involved with the Jewish Radical Action Project and Jews for Global Justice, speaking out for the rights of Palestinians. In 2005 she began working for Jewish Funds for Justice in New York, helping build the organization (which merged with the Progressive Jewish Alliance in 2011 to become Bend the Arc) into a multi-million-dollar non-profit which blends advocacy, community organizing, and leadership training. She ran their Selah Leadership Training Program, which has trained more than 300 activists working for various Jewish and secular organizations. She became executive vice president in 2011 and CEO in 2014, the same year she was honored as one of the Forward 50.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Stosh Cotler." (Viewed on April 2, 2023) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/cotler-stosh>.


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