Global, Politics, Religion

Learning Justice on Sh'vuos

Looking for something engaging to learn all night tonight as you re-enact the receiving of the Torah at Sinai? Worried that somewhere around 2AM you’ll be dozing off and will need something to keep you alert? Interested in the intersection of Torah and Economic Justice? Well Justice at Hyatt, Hotel Workers Rising and Rabbis Peter Knobel and Barbara Penzner and Cantor Michael Davis bring you A Text Study for Shavuot in Honor of Hyatt Hotel Workers.
Deuteronomy 24: 14-15, Proverbs 3:27 and all the rest is commentary.

One thought on “Learning Justice on Sh'vuos

  1. Additional “Readings on Traditional Jewish texts on Labor and Worker Rights” are online here: and a monograph on “Labor Rights in the Jewish tradition” is available online here:
    By way of background, in August 2009, Hyatt fired the entire housekeeping staff – 98 workers – at its three Boston-area hotels and replaced them with non-union contracted workers earning a minimum wage without benefits. Many of the housekeepers had worked for Hyatt for 20 or more years and earned between $15 and $16 an hour plus benefits. Rabbi Barbara Penzner, Chair of the New England JLC’s Rabbinic Cabinet, considered this such an egregious betrayal of basic dignity and respect for the workers that she created a petition calling on all Jewish institutions and individuals who might otherwise stay at the three Boston-area Hyatt hotels to find other accommodations until Hyatt rehired the housekeepers. The petition campaign grew, and eventually well over 220 rabbis and cantors signed on. A delegation of rabbis and Jewish community leaders led by Rabbi Penzner met with Hyatt executives in December 2009 to ask that the housekeepers be re-hired and the Hyatt Corporation treat its employees fairly in their hotels across the country. Neither requests have been honored to date.
    Earlier in 2011, during the seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot, rabbis, cantors and Christian clergy around the country interviewed Hyatt workers about their working conditions. A full report will be available later this month, this text study is just a preview. If you would like to receive a copy of the report, just write to us at [email protected] and we’ll be sure you get one.

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