Making Labor Day Meaningful: Labor on the Bimah
Labor Day is an annual, national tribute to the contributions workers
have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
Yet too often the holiday is observed merely as the last hurrah of the
The Jewish Fund for Justice, National Interfaith Committee for Worker
Justice, and Jews United for Justice, a JFJ grantee in Washington, D.C.,
is a cosponsor of Labor on the Bimah, a program
to encourage rabbis to address worker rights/labor issues during Shabbat
services over Labor Day weekend. The sponsors prepared a booklet featuring
Jewish teachings about worker rights, interpretations of the weekly Torah
portion, and current Jewish involvement in labor struggles and victories.
The booklet also suggests ideas for incorporating the Labor Day theme
into Havdalah services. Contributors to the booklet include rabbis from
every denomination. The booklet is designed for use on Labor Day and throughout
Many congregations are engaged in supporting soup kitchens and supplying
clothes and toiletries to low-income people. Many of those receiving donations
are the working poor-people who work one or two jobs but still do not
earn enough to support their families. Labor on the Bimah
helps congregations focus on ways to improve wages, benefits, and working
conditions for low-wage workers.
If you would like more information about Labor on the Bimah
or would like to receive a booklet, please contact Julie Weill,
JFJ’s Director of Education and Outreach at (212) 213-2113.