Tag Archives: Economic Justice
Seder plate

A Tomato on the Seder Plate?

Passover is holiday full of symbolism. We eat the bitter herbs to remind us of the bitterness of slavery. We dip parsley in saltwater to recall the tears of our ancestors in Egypt. The charoset is meant to resemble the mortar the Israelites were forced to use while building structures for Pharaoh and their Egyptian oppressors. These traditional symbols have paved the way for contemporary symbolism, allowing modern Jews to use the Seder plate as a place for social or political expression.

In recent years, placing an orange on a Seder plate has become a statement with various interpretations. Introduced by Jewish feminist and scholar, Susannah Heschel, the orange has come to represent the inclusion of women and LGBT people in the Jewish tradition. In general, the orange is meant to symbolize the rejection of the notion that “a woman, [gay person or other historically marginalized person] belongs on the bimah as much as an orange belongs on the seder plate.”

This year, I invite you to include another item on your Seder plate, a symbol of food justice. Read more…

How the Ryan Budget Harms Our Children

By Ryan Murphy

Last week, the House Budget Committee officially released its 2015 budget resolution, entitled: The Path to Prosperity.  Although the document is merely symbolic due to the bipartisan budget agreement reached last month between House and Senate, it is an important indication of what could emerge from Congress in the near future.  According to Congressman Paul Ryan, the Chairman of the House Budget Committee and key author of the document, “this budget is our vision for how we should fix this country’s fiscal problem.” Read more…

Paul Ryan’s Budget Hurts Veterans

By Rev. Brian P. Adams

Rep. Paul Ryan wants us to think that his 2014 Fiscal Year Budget is good for veterans, as it raises funding for veterans’ concerns to $145.730 billion, which is about $9 billion higher than the request from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Yet the budget is not good for veterans overall, as it decreases the funding for many government services that are intended for all people in need, and on which many veterans depend. Such programs are often criticized by judging the recipients of aid as lazy moochers. Our veterans certainly do not fall into that category. Read more…

Today is Equal Pay Day

This post originally appeared at WRJblog.

Who would believe that in 2014 we’d still be discussing gender-based pay discrimination? Certainly when Congress passed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, our lawmakers and the nation believed that we had taken major strides towards closing the wage gap. Did you know that the wage gap hasn’t budged in 10 years? Women who work full-time year-round make 77 cents for every dollar their male counterpart makes. And it’s even worse for women of color — African American women make 64 cents for every dollar their white male counterpart makes, and for Latina women, it’s 54 cents. This appalling, persistent discrimination needs action.

Read more…

Double Booked: It’s Equal Pay Day, Let’s Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act

A version of this post originally appeared on the RACblog on March 19, 2014.

Pay equity for women is a critical social justice issue of today largely because it has serious implications for the economic security of women and families across our nation. Read more about the gender wage gap: Fact sheet from the American Association of University Women.

It is also a critical social justice issue, however, because in a society such as ours that places great emphasis on work and the role of employment in our lives and livelihood, paying women less than their male counterparts signals that work done by women is worth less and that women are worth less.

Read more…

Senators with Workers with signs reading "we need work now" and "1.5 million reasons to extend EUC"

Unemployment Insurance Passes Senate

Yesterday afternoon, the Senate passed an extension of unemployment insurance, ending four months of debate on the issue in the chamber. Rabbi David Saperstein, Director and Counsel of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, released a statement in response to the bill’s passage, stating in part:

“After tireless efforts over the last four months from those on both sides of the aisle, we are pleased to see an extension of unemployment benefits pass the Senate. Over two million newly jobless Americans have struggled for months without these vital benefits and the program cannot be restarted soon enough for these vulnerable families. Read more…

Where’s ENDA?

“In some states, employers can fire you for who you are or who you love, it’s close to barbaric…Pass ENDA now. Not tomorrow. Now.” – Vice President Biden

Remember this past November when all we were talking about was the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)? Let me refresh your memory: the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a long overdue, common-sense piece of legislation that would extend federal workplace protection to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community historically passed the Senate with a 64-32 vote. This is the furthest the bill has ever come, even though it has been introduced in every Congress (with the exception of the 109th) since 1994.

But that was November…where’s ENDA now? Read more…

My Grandmother and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

By Leslie Levin 

Every year on March 25, my two siblings, three cousins and I think about our paternal grandmother, Gussie. We feel very fortunate that she was sick with influenza on March 25, 1911 when the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire occurred. If she had not been sick at home we all would not exist today.

My grandmother Gelli Kurci-Gussie Kurtz Baker was a seamstress back in her small town of Chernovitz, Rumania. Her mother was a “white seamstress” in Europe. She had her own shop with 5 sewing machines and worked on trousseaus, underwear and linens. Read more…