Ruth W. Messinger

Ruth Messinger

Ruth W. Messinger, President of American Jewish World Service (AJWS) from 1998 to July of 2016, is currently the organization’s inaugural Global Ambassador. In this role, Ruth is continuing her crucial work of engaging rabbis and interfaith leaders to speak out on behalf of oppressed and persecuted communities worldwide. Ruth can be reached at ajws@ajws.org.

The High Cost of Low Prices

Lately, my inbox has been flooded with too many emails from retailers proclaiming Holiday Sale! Low Prices! Last Chance! And each time I see sales for sweaters and dresses, I think of the workers who make them — mostly women who toil for long hours in overheated, dirty factories to bring us products at low, low …Read More

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#FaithInWomen who hold up more than half the sky and pave the way to justice

As the President of American Jewish World Service (AJWS) – the Jewish voice for the rights of women worldwide – I am inspired by the Chinese proverb that says, “Women hold up half the sky.” Yet, while we women certainly hold up more than half the sky in 2015, both justice and dignity elude our grasp everywhere. That is why as we women of faith pursue justice – as our ancient prophets commanded – we must extend our hands to women worldwide.

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Take action: Join #MyLifeAt15 to end child marriage

At the age of 15, I was an optimistic young teenager in New York, inspired by the civil rights movement and dreaming about how I might contribute to creating a better world. Looking back, my ambitions at 15 laid the foundation for my entire career—a full 60 years of fighting for social and global justice. Just like me, every 15-year-old girl deserves a chance to pursue her dreams. Sadly, many girls never get those opportunities.

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Va’etchanan

The essence of the Sh’ma—the imperative to really listen, to pay attention to injustice, and to mend the brokenness in our world—grounds my life with purpose. The difference between hearing and listening is paying attention, finding and living that elusive element of real connection to the “stranger”—or the other.

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Reflections on India and Behind the Beautiful Forevers

I was drawn to Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist, Katherine Boo, when it first appeared in 2012. Boo’s raw and vivid portrait of life in an Indian slum is 100 percent nonfiction, yet it reads like a novel. This past summer I returned to Boo’s book and was newly impressed …Read More

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Va’etchanan

This Dvar Tzedek was adapted from Ruth Messinger’s talk for JDOV, a program that invites interesting and creative thinkers to give “the Jewish talk of their life.” Watch the full video of Ruth’s talk here. Parashat Va’etchanan includes the words of the Sh’ma[1]—a prayer so important, that many Jews recite it twice a day. Our …Read More

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