Economic Justice

Description

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 you...do 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.

Take Action

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.

Stand up for paid family and medical leave

No person should have to choose between caring for themselves or a family member and keeping their job and income. Yet each year, millions of workers are forced to make that difficult choice. The United States is the only advanced economy that does not offer any paid family leave to its workers. Paid family and medical leave provide employees the necessary time to recover after illness or surgery, to take care of an ill family member, or to care for a new child. Urge Congress to pass the FAMILY Act to provide paid family and medical leave for all workers in America.

Related Issues

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Small boy holding empty bowl signifying hunger

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.

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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.

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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.

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

Labor

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.

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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

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learning books

What's New

Related Press Releases

Rabbi Rick Jacobs' Remarks at the Poor People's Campaign

"On Monday, June 18, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, will offer remarks at the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival rally in Washington, D.C. for the final Monday of action, as part of the 40 days of nonviolent, moral direct action that have served as a launch for the nationwide campaign."

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.

 

Contact our Legislative Assistants

For more information on this issue, contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Katie Wysong at (202) 387-2800.    

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