Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rabbis & Renewal Jews affirm union rights

I am delighted to report that the two Boards of Directors of ALEPH: Alliance For Jewish Renewal and its affiliate, OHALAH: Association of Rabbis for Jewish Renewal, have adopted the statement below. I hope rabbis, synagogues, and active members of all streams of Jewish life will adopt similar positions and publicly take a role in the protection of workers and their unions from denial of their right to collective bargaining. I also hope that the faithful of other religious, spiritual, and ethical traditions will also act.

In addition, I want to call to everyone's attention an essay on a broad spectrum of rabbinic views concerning labor unions, by Elissa Barrett, exec of the Progressive Jewish Alliance (California) and Rabbi Aryeh Cohen of the Jewish University of America (Los Angeles). To read it, click to our Home Page at

Shalom, salaam, peace --
Rabbi Arthur Waskow


Whereas, Jews for millennia have learned and affirmed the archetypal story of the suffering of ancient Israelites as oppressed public workers under Pharaoh, building the store-cities of Pithom and Ramses, and the vigorous activism of Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to organize those workers into an effective community that could win its freedom;

And whereas, ever since the great migration of millions of Jews to America many of them have upheld the rights of workers by organizing labor unions first in the garment industry, and later among teachers, social workers, and other public employees;

Therefore, the Board of ALEPH [and the Board of OHALAH] affirms and supports the right of public employees as well as those in private industry to organize unions and carry on collective bargaining, and supports the nonviolent protests now being carried on in the State of Wisconsin and elsewhere against efforts to undermine or cancel those rights.

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