Save the Date: Jubilee Shabbat, May 18-19
Reform Jews across the United States recognize our responsibility as global citizens and continue to act towards tikkun olam, transforming our world. One way has been to support the canceling of third-world debts. The Religious Action Center has partnered with the Jubilee USA Network for over a decade to support the cancellation of unjust debt in the developing world to help eradicate poverty. The inspiration for debt cancellation and a modern Jubilee, and the successful debt relief of over $100 billion dollars over the past decade, was inspired by the parsha Behar-Bechokotai in Leviticus.
The Leviticus passage called for every 50th year to be a “jubilee year,” during which all land was to be returned to its original owner, slaves were to be freed and liberty to be proclaimed throughout the land. In contemporary times, the jubilee concept means that instead of third-world governments paying back debts to banks in the developed world — debts that they have paid many times already — money and resources have gone towards hospitals or schools.
This month, our partners at Jubilee USA Network will be reintroducing the Jubilee Act. The legislation focuses on eradicating poverty in the developing world and transforming our international financial system through responsible lending and borrowing. By pushing for accountability on both the lenders and borrowers, we can ensure that the victories of debt relief are strengthened and prevent future debt crises from occurring.
We want to take this exciting time to invite you to participate in this year’s Jubilee Shabbat weekend, which the RAC is co-sponsoring with Jubilee USA, along with American Jewish World Service, Tikkun, the Shalom Center and Rabbis for Human Rights-North America (RHR-NA). We invite you to set aside time the weekend of May 18-19 to pray, reflect, study, and act around the issues of global inequality and poverty. Learn about the ways you can incorporate the concepts of Jubilee, a restoring of all relations and ending of cycle of global poverty, into the vision of justice into your Jewish community by clicking here.
You can incorporate Jubilee Shabbat into your weekend in many ways — whether it is a special Shabbat service, a Jubilee-focused dvar, a synagogue-wide or family Havdalah service, or Torah study group. Jubilee USA and our partner organizations, including the RAC, will provide you with resources and support along the way!
Each action, large and small, will connect you to a long line of Jewish communities acting for social justice — and to the global Jubilee movement made up of diverse communities in the United States and across Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
If you are interested in learning more or participating in this year’s Jubilee Shabbat weekend, please click here to fill out this short form. Or you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at 202-783-0314.
Jeremy Weyl is the Outreach & Congregations Fellow at Jubilee USA. Image courtesy of Jubilee USA.