Economic Justice


Judaism teaches that helping fellow human beings in need, tzedakah, is not simply a matter of charity, but of responsibility, righteousness, and justice. The Reform Movement has always acted upon fundamental Jewish ideals by advocating for children, the poor, the disenfranchised, the elderly, the sick, those with disabilities, and the "stranger among us."

Why Should Jews Care About Economic Justice?

​​​​​​Deuteronomy 15:7-10 teaches of our societal commitment to helping those in need: "If there is a needy person among not harden your heart and shut your hand against your needy kin. Rather, you must open your hand and lend whatever is sufficient to meet the need." Whether someone is experiencing hunger or homelessness, is in need of clothing or medical care, we do not help them because they have met a certain standard of worthiness in our eyes. We help them because no one deserves to be hungry or homeless.


Urge Congress to Pass a Living Wage

The cost of living in the United States has long eclipsed the minimum wage. At $7.25 per hour, an employee who is working 40 hours per week, 52 weeks a year, earns only $15,080. An increase to the minimum wage is imperative if we expect people to be able to support themselves with a full-time job. It's time that our federal minimum wage becomes a living wage. Urge your member of Congress to support the Raise the Wage Act.

Support Paid Family and Medical Leave

As the world confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers are staying home to care for themselves, for children whose schools are closed, and for family members who are ill or at high risk. While the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201 in the 116th Congress) provided some workers 10 emergency paid sick days and 12 weeks of emergency paid leave to care for children out of school, the majority of workers were not adequately covered, and paid leave provisions expired at the end of 2020. Urge Congress to pass the FAMILY Act (S. 248/H.R. 804) to provide paid family and medical leave for all workers in America.        

Urge Congress to Protect SNAP, Medicaid, Housing Assistance, and Other Vital Programs

The recent House-passed debt ceiling bill threatens to dramatically weaken key social safety net programs, including Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and housing assistance. These programs are critical to assisting individuals and families experiencing economic hardships. Congress must protect and strengthen the programs that allow people to live with dignity.

Related Issues

Small boy holding empty bowl signifying hunger


Hunger is an endemic problem that plagues all aspects of our society. Despite being one of the wealthiest nations in the world, 1 in 9 Americans (more 40 million individuals)—including over 11 million children—live in households that are food insecure.

People experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles

Housing and Homelessness

The Reform Jewish Movement has repeatedly called attention to the need to increase the availability of affordable housing and provide the means for people experiencing homelessness to make the transition from shelters and streets to stable homes.

People standing on a bridge at dusk holding signs that spell out "Raise the Min Wage"

Living and Minimum Wage

The minimum wage is the absolute minimum amount a person can earn. Yet, at $7.25 per hour, an employee who is working 40 hours per week, 52 weeks a year, earns only $15,080.

Aerial view of two individuals working together on computers surrounded by coffee and other technology


The Jewish people, and the Reform Movement, have deep historical ties to the labor movement. To this day, labor unions remain one of the best ways to ensure workers receive the compensation, benefits, and safe working conditions they need.

Reform Judaism's Positions & Resolutions on Economic Justice

Learn more about the position of the Reform Movement on these key issues, and read the formal resolutions by URJ and CCAR.

View URJ Resolutions View Other Reform Judaism Resolutions

learning books

What's New

Bring Back the Child Tax Credit

The following blog post is adapted from remarks given by Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and senior vice president of the Union for Reform Judaism, at a press conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday, December 15, 2022.

Congress Must Expand the Child Tax Credit, a Powerful Tool Proven to Reduce Poverty

In the American Rescue Plan of 2021, Congress temporarily expanded the Child Tax Credit (CTC). This measure significantly reduced child poverty during a time of economic fallout and uncertainty, but the expansion expired at the end of 2021. As families continue to struggle to make ends meet, with inflation on the rise, Congress must urgently make the CTC expansion permanent in year-end tax legislation.

Related Press Releases

Reform Jewish Leader Celebrates the American Families Plan

"After months of extreme hardship caused by the pandemic and years of underinvestment, we welcome the significant investments proposed in the American Families Plan to improve access to education, health care, and economic security for workers and families across the United States."

Engage Your Congregation

Caring for the Most Vulnerable

Use our Jewish Texts for Reflection & Action resource to learn more about the Jewish underpinnings of caring for the most vulnerable.

"The Monthly Juggle"

Use “The Monthly Juggle”, an interactive poverty simulation that teaches about economic justice. Our budget worksheet and playing cards are ready to print.

Yom Kippur Hunger Study Guides

Adapt our Yom Kippur Hunger Text Study Guides to your congregation’s needs. Download the guide on Fasting to Avoid Hunger and Feeding the Hungry.


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Every Voice, Every Vote

The Reform Jewish Movement’s Every Voice, Every Vote Campaign is a nonpartisan effort, grounded in our Jewish values and commitment to racial justice, to strengthen our democracy by encouraging and protecting voter participation.

Contact our Legislative Assistants

For more information on this issue, contact Sammy Angelina

What our Partners are Doing