We are invigorating the discourse about social justice in the Orthodox community to direct it towards the fight for workers rights.
Uri L'Tzedek is an Orthodox social justice organization guided by Torah values and dedicated to combating suffering and oppression. Through community based education, leadership development and action, Uri L'Tzedek creates discourse, inspires leaders, and empowers the Jewish community towards creating a more just world.
Uri L’tzedek has a number of different programs and initiatives that bringing them closer to this goal.
The Summer Fellowship:
The Uri L’Tzedek Summer Fellowship is a transformative leadership program that combines innovative social activism with leadership development and Torah. The purpose of the Summer Fellowship is to train the next generation of Orthodox leaders with the skills necessary to change the world. Summer fellows hear from a wide array of prominent Jewish thinkers and non-profit leaders who equip them with the theoretical and practical tools necessary to work in the nonprofit world. Additionally, fellows have the opportunity to apply what they learn in a variety of projects throughout the summer that involve both direct and indirect service, including working on the Tav Hayosher and JustSimchas Programs.
The Tav Hayosher:
Rav Yosef Breuer, one of the leading figures of 20th century Orthodoxy, famously stated: “Kosher” is intimately related to “Yoshor.” God’s Torah not only demands the observance of Kashruth and the sanctification of our physical enjoyment; it also insists on the sanctification of our social relationships
Studies have revealed widespread abuse and exploitation of workers in the New York restaurant industry. Thousands of workers are paid below minimum wage. Even more are denied their legal rights to overtime pay and time off. Workers are often subjected to unsafe and abusive working conditions. Given recent events in the kashrut industry, it is imperative that we implement a system that will prevent abuse and exploitation. It is critical we stand up for tzedek and mishpat as a Jewish community! We must ensure these abuses are not taking place in kosher restaurants.
The Tav HaYosher is a local, grassroots initiative to bring workers, restaurant owners and community members together to create just workplaces in kosher restaurants. In order to raise awareness in the Orthodox community of the importance of workers’ rights, as well as ethical consumerism, Uri L’tzedek tries to sign up as many restaurants as possible with the Tav Hayosher (‘ethical seal’). The Tav is a certificate identifying and promoting kosher eateries that are in compliance with halachic and state laws concerning the ethical treatment of workers.
A Jewish simcha is more than a chance to celebrate with family and friends, it is also an opportunity to make the world into a better place. Judaism states our purpose is to perfect the world through good deeds and it emphasizes lifecycle events that have the potential to further this goal.
What better way to emphasize this message than by planning one’s simcha in a socially responsible and ethical manner? Uri L’tzedek believes that modest, socially conscious events can affect positive change. With this in mind, we are initiating “JustSimchas” an innovative project dedicated to assist the Jewish community in creating socially conscious, ethical celebrations, in accordance with Torah values.
Just Simchas contains a user friendly database which allows families and simcha planners to browse options to make their simcha more socially responsible and meaningful. Included are lists of food banks which accept leftover food, catering companies that treat their workers with with the dignity and rights mandated by state and Jewish law, hotels which respect the right of their workers to organize, gemachs, tzedakah organizations, and bar/bat mitzvah project.
Supporting JustSimchas is an easy and simple way to make a brit, bar or bat mitzvah, or wedding an inspirational event modeling Jewish values and positively influencing others beyond one’s social circle.
We need your help! Your donations can shape the future of social justice in the Orthodox community.
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