Last week, the Cook County board voted overwhelmingly to pass one of the nation’s toughest wage theft laws. JCUA leaders provided testimony in support of the legislation. These statements by Stacey Flint and Rabbi David Russo reinforce the importance of workers rights in Jewish values and in the Jewish community.
‘We Are All Responsible.’
Testimony by Rabbi David Russo, Anshe Emet Synagogue
Every week, Jews around the world read from the Torah. And in this coming week [Feb. 9-13], we will all read a particular verse from the Book of Exodus (22:21-22):
כָּל־אַלְמָנָה וְיָתוֹם לֹא תְעַנּוּן
You shall not afflict any widow, or orphaned child.
אִם־עַנֵּה תְעַנֶּה אֹתוֹ
If you afflict them in any way,
כִּי אִם־צָעֹק יִצְעַק אֵלַי
If they cry to me,
שָׁמֹעַ אֶשְׁמַע צַעֲקָתוֹ
I God will surely hear their cry.
Rabbinic tradition asserts that the Bible is identifying afflictions not only of a specific group of people, i.e. widows or orphans, but any teshushei koach, anyone who is weak, who is vulnerable (Rashi).
And Jewish tradition emphasizes that God will not only bring consequences upon the people inflicting the damage – but that if people are aware of the injustice, and they do nothing, then the punishment is upon the entire community (Ibn Ezra).
We all are responsible. Read the rest of this entry »