Jewish Responsibility

The following articles articulate the essence of why Jews have a responsibility to respond to others and offer seven specific reasons why we have a special responsibility to the enslaved.

Jewish Responsibility

With all the suffering in the world it is easy to give up hope that things can be another way. Yet we don’t abandon our ideals in the face of harsh realities. We are responsible for making a different choice. We are partners in the creation of a better world. Understanding and accepting this requires maturity, but unless we make this choice we are as incomplete as Adam was in the Garden of Eden when God asked him, Ayekah?[1] Where are you? God didn’t ask for His sake, but for Adam’s, because Adam didn’t know where, or who, he was. We are the inheritors of the Covenant between God and Israel, and every day we are challenged to accept the consequences of this inheritance. Every day we are supposed to ask ourselves, “Where are we?” Where are we creating the world we want for ourselves, for others and for those who will inherit it?

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In the Image of God

“The face of another person does not reveal the image of God but just a trace of the Infinite. And when we see that trace, we cannot turn away because it is the sign of God imposing responsibility for the other onto us.”

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Because We Were Slaves

“(W)e partner with God in humankind’s liberation, fulfilling our responsibilities to our ancestors and to the Jewish tradition.”

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Responsibility to the Other

“(O)ur humanity depends on being responsible for, and reaching out to, the other. We are not fully human until we reach out to others.”

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Redeeming Captives

“(W)e are responsible for the fulfillment of a broader definition of the redeeming of captives. We seek the liberation of all enslaved people held against their will.”

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Free Will of the Worker

“Judaism forbids denying a worker’s free will. Another may not be enslaved and therefore has the right to stop work at any time.”

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Fair Treatment of the Worker

“Work is an essential part of the human condition, so Judaism teaches we have a responsibility to protect the dignity and rights of workers.”

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Prohibited Unethical Goods

“We are responsible for where the goods we purchase and consume come from. Those origins must be consistent with the demand that the good be ethically produced, and this includes the fair treatment of the worker.”

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