The Jewish Values That Inform Our Work

The Jewish Values that Serve as the Foundation for NCJW’s Work

 

KAVOD HA’BRIOT: RESPECT AND DIGNITY FOR ALL HUMAN BEINGS

Rabbi Eliezer says, “Let your neighbor’s dignity be precious to you as your own. (Pirke Avot 2:10). Each and every one of us is made in the image of God—B’tselem Elohim (Genesis 1:26), which means that each one of us contains a Divine spark and that we must endeavor to always treat every person with compassion and dignity.

Every human being, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or physical or mental disability is deserving of full inclusion and every opportunity.

 

TALMUD TORAH: EDUCATION AND AWARENESS

The Rabbis said, “The study of Torah is important because the study of Torah brings us the performance of mitzvot.” (Babylonian Talmud Kiddushin 40b) NCJW has a longstanding history of educating our own constituency and speaking up about the issues that help us fulfill our obligation to “love our fellow as ourselves.” (Leviticus 19:18) Education is a critical component in raising awareness in order to create meaningful social change.

 

TZEDEK TZEDEK TIRDOF: THE PURSUIT OF JUSTICE

The Torah teaches that we are obligated to pursue justice for all (Deuteronomy 16:20), that must always take action when we see an injustice (Leviticus 19:16), and that we must “do what is right and what is good.” (Deuteronomy 6:18). Through tzedakah (philanthropy) advocacy and community service, NCJW works to realize its vision of a just society—a society in which everyone will have full and equal access to the quality of life to which all are entitled.

 

As NCJW pursues justice for all, we are guided by our respect for all human beings and our ongoing efforts to build awareness on the issues.

 

Study Guide and Discussion Questions

 

KAVOD HA’BRIOT: RESPECT AND DIGNITY FOR ALL HUMAN BEINGS

Rabbi Eliezer says, “Let your neighbor’s dignity be precious to you as your own. (Pirke Avot 2:10). Each and every one of us is made in the image of God—B’tselem Elohim (Genesis 1:26), which means that each one of us contains a Divine spark and that we must endeavor to always treat every person with compassion and dignity.

Every human being, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or physical or mental disability is deserving of full inclusion and every opportunity.

 

Discussion Questions:

  • What does it mean to be made in the image of God?
  • What does dignity and respect look like?
  • How might this inform the NCJW work you do?
  • How might this inform the ways in which you work together?

 

TALMUD TORAH: EDUCATION AND AWARENESS

The Rabbis said, “The study of Torah is important because the study of Torah brings us the performance of mitzvot.” (Babylonian Talmud Kiddushin 40b) NCJW has a longstanding history of educating our own constituency and speaking up about the issues that help us fulfill our obligation to “love our fellow as ourselves.” (Leviticus 19:18) Education is a critical component in raising awareness in order to create meaningful social change.

 

Discussion Questions:

  • What does Torah mean?
  • What do mitzvot mean?
  • What is the importance of learning—why not just ‘do?’
  • How does this apply to your NCJW work?

 

TZEDEK TZEDEK TIRDOF: THE PURSUIT OF JUSTICE

The Torah teaches that we are obligated to pursue justice for all (Deuteronomy 16:20), that must always take action when we see an injustice (Leviticus 19:16), and that we must “do what is right and what is good.” (Deuteronomy 6:18). Through tzedakah (philanthropy) advocacy and community service, NCJW works to realize its vision of a just society—a society in which everyone will have full and equal access to the quality of life to which all are entitled.

 

Discussion Questions:

  • What does justice mean?
  • What would a just society look like?
  • Why would the Torah say to do “what is right and what is good” when it has already given a long list of things that we should do?
  • How does this apply to the NCJW work you do?
  • How do we not only ‘talk the talk’ but also ‘walk the walk?


Additional Sources for discussion:

Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 54b

Anyone who is able to protest against the transgressions of one’s household and does not, is punished for the actions of the members of the household; anyone who is able to protest against the transgressions of one’s townspeople and does not, is punished for the transgressions of the townspeople; anyone who is able to protest against the transgressions of the entire world and does not is punished for the transgressions of the entire world.

Discussion Questions:

  • What does this mean to you?
  • How might this play out practically in your experience?

 

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Religion and Race speech January 14, 1963

Daily we should take account and ask:

What have I done today to alleviate the anguish, to mitigate

the evil, to prevent humiliation?

Let there be a grain of prophet in every human being!

Our concern must be expressed not symbolically, but literally;

not only publicly, but also privately;

not only occasionally, but regularly.

What we need is the involvement of every one of us as

individuals.

What we need is restlessness,

a constant awareness of the monstrosity of injustice.

 

Discussion Questions:

What have YOU done today to alleviate the anguish?
What do you plan to do tomorrow?