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There Shall Be No Needy

Pursuing Social Justice through Jewish Law and Tradition

Rabbi Jill Jacobs
Foreword by Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff, PhD
Preface by Simon Greer

6 x 9, 288 pp, Hardcover, 978-1-58023-394-1

Also Available in Paperback

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How can a Jewish approach to social justice offer positive change for America?
“Ancient texts offer significant wisdom about human nature, economic cycles, the causes of inequality, and our obligations to each other. These insights can inform our own approaches to current issues, challenge our assumptions, and force us to consider alternative approaches. The conversation between our texts and our lives can enrich our experience of both.”
—from the Introduction
Confront the most pressing issues of twenty-first-century America in this fascinating book, which brings together classical Jewish sources, contemporary policy debate and real-life stories.
Rabbi Jill Jacobs, a leading young voice in the social justice arena, makes a powerful argument for participation in the American public square from a deeply Jewish perspective, while deepening our understanding of the relationship between Judaism and such current social issues as:
  • Poverty and the Poor
  • Collection and Allocation of Tzedakah
  • Workers, Employers and Unions
  • Housing the Homeless
  • The Provision of Health Care
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Crime, Punishment and Rehabilitation
By creating a dialogue between traditional texts and current realities, Jacobs presents a template for engagement in public life from a Jewish perspective and challenges us to renew our obligations to each other.

“Combines a liberal emphasis on social action with a respect for traditional Jewish sources.”

New York Jewish Week

“[An] excellent examination of the Jewish response to contemporary issues of social Justice…. Explores problems of poverty, workers, housing, healthcare and the environment, highlighting the contribution of Jewish teachings to answering these social questions.”

Publishers Weekly

“Learned, eloquent and impassioned, Rabbi Jacobs is a welcome new voice in the effort to make Jewish values relevant to today’s problems.”

Rabbi Harold Kushner, author, When Bad Things Happen to Good People

“A contemporary Guide for the Perplexed…. Thoughtful and detailed … it acknowledges different perspectives, engages the debate, challenges our assumptions and pushes us to chart our own Jewish way in the world.”

Ruth W. Messinger, president, American Jewish World Service

“Pioneering ... contributes much to the understanding of Jewish law and tradition, and how that understanding fits, or should fit, into our lives.”

“Provides a wonderful perspective on the roots of social justice in Judaism…. Clear and concise…. Particularly inspiring.”

Jewish Book World

“A powerful textual journey that compels us to engage with the Jewish tradition’s mandate for economic justice. Impressive scholarship, lively writing, and provocative analysis … breathes new meaning into our ancient texts in the very best tradition of our ever-living Torah.”

Rabbi David Saperstein, director, Religious Action
Center of Reform Judaism

“Urges American Jews to participate in public life with a greater appreciation of the historic tradition that undergirds much of their social practice.”

Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter

“Groundbreaking and urgently needed … skillfully demonstrates the role that religion can play in American public discourse…. A timely and profoundly insightful contribution to a growing literature on Jewish social justice.”

Rabbi Sharon Brous, IKAR

“Encourages a multifaceted conversation that blends Jewish teaching, the complexities of public policy debates, and the lived experience of the participants.... A new and appealing model for Jewish and other religious engagement in public policy debates.... Deserves a careful reading.”

Congregational Libraries Today

“A landmark work…. A model for how informed Jewish discourse on issues in the public square ought to take place. Required reading for all persons interested in what Judaism has to say on matters of social and public import. I cannot recommend it highly enough.”

Rabbi David Ellenson, president, Hebrew Union College–
Jewish Institute of Religion

“Provocative and clear-eyed.... [While] the first audience is Jewish ... [it is also for] Christians.”

Read the Spirit

Simon Greer is president and CEO of Jewish Funds for Justice.


Related Item(s)
Code Name Image
978-1-58023-429-0 There Shall Be No Needy Teacher's Guide
978-1-58023-270-8 Spiritual Community: The Power to Restore Hope
978-1-58023-355-2 Spiritual Activism (HC)
978-1-58023-353-8 Judaism and Justice (PB)
978-1-58023-375-0 Conscience (HC)
978-1-58023-414-6 Righteous Indignation (PB)


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