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Labor on the Bimah

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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 summer.

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 the year.

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.

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