October 21, 2014 · 27 Tishrei

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The American Dream is an impossibility for too many hardworking Americans who face the daily anguish, devastation and hopelessness of poverty and near poverty. Torah and Jewish tradition teach us that it is our obligation to pursue justice for those who are in need. Every year, in the weeks surrounding Labor Day, we read from Parshat Shoftim: " Tzedek, tzedek tirdof: Justice, justice shall you pursue." We have the opportunity to put this ancient teaching into practice when we seek justice for workers.

In September 2011, Labor on the Bimah will focus on unemployment and attacks on workers’ rights to organize. Labor on the Bimah is part of an annual initiative sponsored by Interfaith Worker Justice and the AFL-CIO.

Advocacy Resources from the RAC:

Please see below for more resources from the RAC and its partner organizations.

Materials & Resources
Explore toolkits, sample prayers and faith-specific resources from the leading union organization in the United States.
Domestic workers are indispensable to the American economy, yet there are few laws governing their treatment. Jewish tradition and values can provide that ethical foundation and guidance.
To combat poverty and unemployment, congregations can advocate for the right of all human beings to fair wages and attempt to assist our fellow citizens in finding work. This guide provides background information, sermon starters and an example of how your congregation can set up a job bank.
Sweatshops persist because they employ workers who believe that they have no other option. When we educate ourselves about the human rights violations in our world, we can then encourage others to be morally responsible in their actions.
Read about the two areas of focus for this year’s Labor on the Bimah—joblessness and attacks on workers’ rights—from the sponsor of this annual interfaith event. Browse sample sermons and prayers, congregational/organizational commitment pledges and more.
Rabbinic texts with accompanying discussion questions bring forth issues of workers rights.
The Jewish Labor Committee seeks to sound the voice of the Jewish community in the labor movement and the voice of the labor movement in the Jewish community by bringing both groups together to work on shared interests and concerns. Look to see if there’s a Jewish Labor Committee chapter in your area with which you can collaborate.
Newly updated for 2011, this resource packet focuses on workers' right to organize. It includes background on labor organizing, Jewish sources on collective bargaining and workers' rights, and sample sermons.
Discussion questions, suggested books and other opportunities to engage youth in conversations about the treatment of employees.
The RAC provides a Living Talmud text study page to guide your exploration of Jewish values and domestic workers’ rights.
The Progressive Jewish Alliance created this interdisciplinary book about garment industry sweatshops that draw upon Jewish tradition, American history and current world events to provide a holistic look at one of the most serious injustices afflicting contemporary society.
Check out Jews United for Justice’s list of which Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia congregations are hosting Labor on the Bimah events.
Focused on asserting a progressive Jewish presence in California, Progressive Jewish Alliance is a leader on workers’ rights issues, including the rights of domestic workers and low-wage workers.



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