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.
Excellent book. Probably one of the book's that has most influenced my view of tzedakah, charity. The first section of the book on obligations to the poor is the best part. Later chapters vary in how engaging they are. I found the chapter on housing a little weak, but the one on health care and prison reform surprisingly more interesting than anticipated. Even though I'm liberal, I appreciated the fact that Jacobs rarely stretched the arguments past what was reasonable from the text. There were times when she said (e.g. we can't go as far as to say Judaism says the gov't is resobonsilbe for x) and her book is all the more persuasive for it.
Read the whole book in two days - a great look on social justice through traditional Jewish texts. Heavy on rabbinic sources, but with many explanations so as to be accessible to a fairly wide audience.
I had to send this back to the library before I was quite finished with it, but it was a very interesting and thought provoking read. I will have to re-request it at some point so I can finish the last chapter.