"What's Jewish About Justice?"

At a DJJ Leaders Picnic last month, Organizing Team Co-Chair Hannah proposed a breakout discussion with the prompt "What's Jewish about Justice?" If you're wondering the same thing, we've included some stellar insights from our conversation here!

What's Jewish About Justice?

  • A history of oppression compels us to act in solidarity with other communities who face oppression.
  • At the same time, we recognize that today Jewish-Americans on the whole hold privilege - and we can use that privilege to do good.
  • Our community's generational memory of the Holocaust can lead to fear and paralysis. We must be vigilant against xenophobia and hate, especially as our own community has suffered from such injustices.
  • Social justice is prescribed to us in the Torah. Our tradition dictates that we do not turn our back on our neighbor, that we commit ourselves to the pursuit of tzedek (justice) rather than just charity.
  • Jews are one of the most racially diverse communities on the globe. This offers us a unique opportunity to unite and build relationships across experiences.
  • We have an existing community structure that we organize from - in community centers, congregations, and Jewish social justice networks. We can access and build on these institutions to do our work effectively.
  • We have a history of constantly re-evaluating our principles our Jews. Approaching social justice in this way allows us to do the work thoughtfully and accountably.
  • Our tradition of mitzvot is aspirational - we have a tradition of imagining a better world!

Check out more in the gritty notes below!

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