Jewish Values and Global Poverty

In December, 1999, the Union for Reform Judaism adopted 'The Jewish Commitment to Africa' which states, "In the Talmud, it is written that all people are descendants from a single person so that no person can say, 'my ancestor is greater than yours.' God created us all from the four corners of the earth -- yellow clay, and white sand, black loam, and red soil. Therefore, the earth can declare to no race or color of humankind that it does not belong here, that this soil is not their rightful home. As Jews, we worship a universal God, a God concerned with the suffering and injustice of all people everywhere."

In 2005 Union for Reform Judaism adopted a resolution on 'Ending Global Poverty' which endorses the Millennium Development Goals and encourages both the Jewish community and our governments to take action to combat poverty. The Union for Reform Judaism has partnered with the ONE campaign to work to make this resolution a reality. Congregations can find materials on ONE Sabbath and a video featuring Rabbi David Saperstein here. The Union for Reform Judaism has committed to sending 50,000 bednets to prevent malaria in Chad and the Central African Republic. Congregations have embraced the campaign, holding fundraising drives to buy the nets. Join the Nothing But Nets campaign here.

Jewish Values and Global Poverty
As Jews we are taught, "Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor" (Leviticus 19:16). Moreover, we are instructed to prevent crises whenever possible, rather than merely react to them. As Midrash Tehillim (52:24) states, "What is might? When you see people about to fall and rescue them." The message that all humans are responsible for the welfare of one another becomes even clearer in Psalm 24:1: "The Earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein." Maimonides taught that the highest form of tzedakah (righteousness) is to enable a person to earn his/her own livelihood. Development assistance through foreign aid plays a vital role in the lives of those in the developing world by increasing the ability of families to be self-sufficient, granting them the freedom to create a better, safer, and healthier environment for themselves and their children.



Resolution on Ending Global Poverty (2005)

Resolution on Ending Global Poverty (2006)