This week, the Raise the Wage Act was introduced in Congress to raise the minimum wage to $12.00 an hour by the year 2020. On the occasion of the bill’s introduction, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
On April 26-28, hundreds of Reform Jews will gather in Washington, D.C. for the RAC’s Consultation on Conscience, the Reform Movement’s flagship social justice event. This year’s Consultation will feature Former Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick, among many other luminaries. Tune in to the live stream of Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner’s installation as Director of the RAC at 10:15 a.m on Monday morning to hear Gov. Patrick’s remarks.
On April 26-28, hundreds of Reform Jews will gather in Washington, D.C. for the RAC’s Consultation on Conscience, the Reform Movement’s flagship social justice event. This year’s Consultation will highlight issues of economic justice, including such issues as paid sick days, raising the minimum wage, and ending poverty.
At the Consultation on Conscience on April 26-28, 2015, you will have the opportunity to learn about and take action on paid sick days by asking your members of Congress to support the Healthy Families Act (S. 497/H.R. 932).
Over 40 million Americans do not currently have access to paid sick days, and we need to pass the Healthy Families Act to ensure that more people do not have to make the difficult choice between going to work and caring for a sick loved one, or for themselves.
This legislation would allow workers in businesses with at least 15 employees to earn up to seven days of job-protected paid sick leave each year. Workers would earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. People working in a business with fewer than 15 employees would be able to earn up to seven job-protected days of unpaid sick leave annually.
On the first Friday of every month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its monthly report, which details the unemployment rate, the number of jobs that the economy added by month, and other pieces of information about the economy. The reports serve as important measures of the economy’s status. They also affect financial markets and are sometimes used to reflect the current administration’s effectiveness on economic issues.
On Passover, we remember the ten plagues that were put upon the Egyptian people. Thousands of years later, modern-day plagues of inequality should ignite contemporary responses to combat these injustices. Many of the most vulnerable members of our society are disproportionately affected; they cannot be “passed over” or ignored, especially during this important holiday. As we think about the ancient plagues, let us also keep in mind those who still live under the weight of modern plagues.
This week, we will celebrate the holiday of Passover, when we remember the process that led the Jewish people to become free in the land of Egypt. Part of this process will include discussing the Ten Plagues. At my family’s seder in Atlanta, we use goodie bags with various small toys that resemble each of the plagues. In these bags there will be three toys that resemble a lack of health: small plastic insects to represent lice, a small rubber cow to represent the cattle disease that killed many of Egypt’s domestic animals and bubble wrap to represent the boils that deformed the Egyptians. In Jewish tradition, lacking health and adequate health care is viewed as a plague, an issue so damaging that God viewed risking your health as a serious enough threat to cause Pharaoh to free the slaves. Read more…
Whether you observe Passover according to the strict rules of Jewish law, or you attend one family Seder, or whether your Passover observance is watching The Prince of Egypt, or whatever traditions, practices or customs you find meaningful, the weeks leading up to Passover (April 3-11, 2015) feel like a Jewish March Madness. Between planning Seders, cleaning your house of chametz or mentally preparing yourself for a week of matzah, there’s a lot to get done and it always feels like not enough time. Read more…