Jewish Values and Social Justice
Jews have an enduring legacy of leadership and participation in social movements—the labor movement, the civil rights movement, the women’s movement and the LGBTQI+ rights movement, to name a few. We know what it feels like to be denied rights, to be treated as “others,” and to experience discrimination simply because of our ethnic origin or religious identity.
Today, American Jewish leaders are uniquely positioned to use their influence to support vulnerable people in the Global South who are suffering from bigotry, violence and other injustices that are similar to what Jews have endured throughout history. Together, we’re guided by a shared belief that all people are created b’tzelem Elohim—in the Divine image—and deserve to live with human rights and dignity.
In our current political climate, many U.S. policies have harmful effects on millions of people who live far beyond our national borders. For example, the recent expansion of the “Global Gag Rule”—a policy that blocks U.S. federal funding to international organizations that provide abortions or abortion-related services to their patients—is an assault on the human rights of women, girls and LGBTQI+ people.
AJWS mobilizes Jewish leaders to speak out against this injustice, among many others, and amplify the voices of people who are often ignored or silenced in political decision-making processes.
How We Create Change
As the only American Jewish organization solely dedicated to ending poverty and advocating for human rights in the Global South, AJWS works with Jewish leaders to shape policies that will help vulnerable people live dignified, healthy and productive lives. We do this through the Global Justice Chavurah, a learning and action circle for rabbis and cantors advocating for justice and human rights. Additionally, through our signature program the Global Justice Fellowship, AJWS inspires, educates and trains American rabbis to become activist leaders in support of global justice. This Fellowship is a selective six-month-long experience that includes a 7-day educational trip to a developing country and the opportunity to advocate for policy change in Washington, D.C.