Justice, Religion

For Rabbis: social justice in Israel resources for High Holy Days

Today, New Israel Fund released rabbinical resources for the High Holy Days, from Israeli social justice activists fighting for religious pluralism, protecting Israel’s environment, empowering women, minorities and migrant workers, and safeguarding civil rights. Read it at www.nif.org/YamimNoraim, selected quotes below the fold.

More than any other commandment, we are enjoined to care for the vulnerable in our midst because we were strangers in Egypt. That is our mission as an organization? we believe our work is inseparable from the humanistic and universal values that Judaism teaches and on which the State was founded.
Lisa Richlen – Hotline for Migrant Workers
Our work is in natural connection to Jewish values, respect for our land, heritage, moral values
between people and people to place. There are environmental values in the bible that we need to
open our eyes and see. A life truly led by Jewish values has the natural potential to honor the
environment and protect it.
Sigal Yaniv – Green Environment Fund
…It is precisely our Progressive Jewish values that inform and direct our agenda and shape our vision for a Jewish and democratic Israeli society. For example, when we speak out against racism in Israel, we do so not just as good citizens but also as Jews.
Anat Hoffman – Israel Religious Action Center of the Reform Movement
The vision of Kolech is to promote women’s rights, especially within Jewish Halacha and the religious community…. This idea is a fulfillment of the Jewish biblical statement: that man and woman were created equal: ” ?? ???? ????? ??? ?? ???? ??? ????? ??? ???? ” (G?d created the human being in his image, male and female he did create). And the other commandment: ” ????? ???? ???? “, (Love your friend as yourself).
Dina Feldman & Hanah Kehat – Kolech: The Religious Women’s Forum
Maimonides (Rambam) spoke of eight levels of Tzedakah, of which the highest level is providing the poor with employment. I believe that now that we are living in a Jewish State, and not only in Jewish communities, we should add a ninth level: ensuring that the state takes responsibility for creating the infrastructure and conditions to ensure that all citizens have an equal opportunity for work which enables them to earn their living in dignity.
Ronit Heyd ? SHATIL
One of the many ways in which ACRI is so unique is our identity as an organization where Israeli Jews and Arabs work, argue, and build a more just future together. For me personally, as someone who cares deeply about his own Jewish identity, I find few things that I can do in this world that express this identity in a more genuine way than to be a part of a diverse team of committed Israelis who are together focused on human rights, social justice, and equality.
Hagai El?Ad – Association for Civil Rights in Israel
Support the New Israel Fund by attending the New Generations Benefit on 9/9/09.

2 thoughts on “For Rabbis: social justice in Israel resources for High Holy Days

  1. For Rabbis:
    Yesterday, President Obama participated in a conference call with about 1,000 rabbis in anticipation of the High Holy Days next month—and the sermons the rabbis will give. The purpose of the call was, apparently, to urge the rabbis to support ObamaCare, or something like it, from the pulpit.
    The call was a joint effort of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), the Rabbinical Assembly, and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, coordinated by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. The URJ invitation read, in part, as follows:
    This year, the debate over health care reform dominates public discourse, and the conference call will explore the Jewish textual and historical imperative for universal, affordable health care.
    We are pleased to announce that President Barack Obama will participate in a High Holy Day conference call exclusively for rabbis. . . .
    This call can provide valuable information when you decide to preach on this issue whether on the High Holy Days, during the August 28-30 national health care sermon weekend (more info at FaithforHealth.org), or whenever is appropriate for you.

  2. More from a Rabbi who participated in the call:
    Technically speaking I’m not sure I’m “supposed” to write about the call. The intent of the call was less informative on Obama’s position, but more for the Rabbis to explore how to address the health care controversy in their upcoming High Holiday sermons. (In a nice move by Obama’s handler’s he began his health care discussion by referencing unetaneh tokef). Nevertheless there were point which I took away from the call that I feel are worth sharing with the public at large.
    1. Obama is using religious organizations to promote policy…
    2. The “public option” isn’t dead…
    3. Obama’s approach to insurance is fundamentally flawed…
    4. Stories trumping substance…
    5. Medicare is a “wild card” in the debate…

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