There Shall Be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice through Jewish Law and Tradition

Overview

How can a Jewish approach to social justice offer positive change for America?

"Ancient texts offer significant wisdom about human nature, economic cycles, the causes of inequality, and our obligations to each other. These insights can inform our own approaches to current issues, challenge our assumptions, and force us to consider alternative approaches. The conversation between our texts and our lives can enrich our experience of both."
—from the Introduction

Confront the most ...

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There Shall Be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice through Jewish Law and Tradition

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Overview

How can a Jewish approach to social justice offer positive change for America?

"Ancient texts offer significant wisdom about human nature, economic cycles, the causes of inequality, and our obligations to each other. These insights can inform our own approaches to current issues, challenge our assumptions, and force us to consider alternative approaches. The conversation between our texts and our lives can enrich our experience of both."
—from the Introduction

Confront the most pressing issues of twenty-first-century America in this fascinating book, which brings together classical Jewish sources, contemporary policy debate and real-life stories.
Rabbi Jill Jacobs, a leading young voice in the social justice arena, makes a powerful argument for participation in the American public square from a deeply Jewish perspective, while deepening our understanding of the relationship between Judaism and such current social issues as:

Poverty and the Poor
Collection and Allocation of Tzedakah
Workers, Employers and Unions
Housing the Homeless
The Provision of Health Care
Environmental Sustainability
Crime, Punishment and Rehabilitation

By creating a dialogue between traditional texts and current realities, Jacobs presents a template for engagement in public life from a Jewish perspective and challenges us to renew our obligations to each other.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The author of this excellent examination of the Jewish response to contemporary issues of social justice earned her rabbinical ordination at New York's Jewish Theological Seminary, where she became aware of problems experienced by residents of neighboring Harlem. This and her subsequent position working for a trade union led her to explore the relationship between Jewish texts and matters of social policy. Today, she is rabbi-in-residence of the Jewish Fund for Justice. Combining the examination of Jewish texts with contemporary social concerns has resulted in a thoughtful book. Jacobs explores problems of poverty, workers, housing, health care and the environment, highlighting the contribution of Jewish teachings to answering these social questions. (Apr. )

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580234252
  • Publisher: Jewish Lights Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/1/2010
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,223,216
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Rabbi Jill Jacobs is executive director of T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. . Widely acknowledged as one of the leading voices in Jewish social justice, Rabbi Jacobs is also the author of There Shall Be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice through Jewish Law and Tradition and Where Justice Dwells: A Hands-On Guide to Doing Social Justice in Your Jewish Community (both Jewish Lights). She has been voted to the Forward newspaper's list of fifty influential Jews, to Newsweek's list of the fifty most influential rabbis in America and to the Jewish Week's list of "thirty-six under thirty-six."

Rabbi Jill Jacobs is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Social Justice in Judaism: Historical, Textual and Political Roots, and Their Meaning for Jews Today
  • Synagogue Social Justice That Works
  • In the Image: A Jewish Take on Human Rights
  • Torah in the Workplace: Ethical Business Practices for the Synagogue, School, Home and Business
  • A Jewish Approach to Combating Human Trafficking

Click here to contact the author.

Rabbi Elliott N. Dorff, PhD, is the author of many important books, including The Way Into Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World), a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, and The Jewish Approach to Repairing the World (Tikkun Olam): A Brief Introduction for Christians. An active voice in contemporary interfaith dialogue, he is Rector and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the American Jewish University (formerly the University of Judaism), and chair of the Academy of Judaic, Christian and Muslim Studies.

Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff, PhD, is available to speak on the following topics:

• Jewish Medical Ethics

• Conservative Judaism

• Jewish and American Law

• Finding God in Prayer

• A Jewish Approach to Poverty

Simon Greer is president and CEO of Jewish Funds for Justice.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Foreword by Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff, PhD xi
Preface by Simon Greer xvii

INTRODUCTION
The Search for an Integrated Judaism 1

1 A VISION OF ECONOMIC JUSTICE 9

2 ESSENTIAL TERMS
Tikkun Olam, Tzedek, and Prophetic Judaism 24

3 DEFINING POVERTY AND THE POOR 49

4 SUFFICIENT FOR ONE'S NEEDS
The Collection and Allocation of Tzedakah 79

5 SERVANTS TO SERVANTS OR SERVANTS TO GOD
Workers, Employers, and Unions 97

6 THEY SHALL TREMBLE NO MORE
Housing and Homelessness 132

7 I WILL REMOVE ILLNESS FROM WITHIN YOUR MIDST
The Provision of Health Care 159

8 THE CITY AND THE GARDEN
Environmental Sustainability for the
Twenty-first Century 179

9 WHEN YOUR BROTHER IS FLOGGED
Crime, Punishment, and Rehabilitation 192

CONCLUSION
Judaism in the Public Sphere 214

Notes 222
Glossary 247
Suggestions for Further Reading 251
Index 252

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