There Shall Be No Needy: Pur­su­ing Social Jus­tice Through Jew­ish Law and Tradition

Rab­bi Jill Jacobs
  • Review
By – September 9, 2011

The author pro­vides a won­der­ful per­spec­tive on the roots of social jus­tice in Judaism and focus­es on the impli­ca­tions for us in the way we live our lives in mod­ern soci­ety. Begin­ning with a com­pre­hen­sive overview of tra­di­tion­al Jew­ish text, she pro­vides the foun­da­tion for under­stand­ing our oblig­a­tion to make the world a bet­ter place. In sub­se­quent chap­ters Rab­bi Jacobs focus­es on spe­cif­ic sub­ject areas that impact all of us in our dai­ly lives, includ­ing such issues as pover­ty, employ­er-employ­ee rela­tions, hous­ing and the home­less, health care, envi­ron­ment, and reha­bil­i­ta­tion. In the final chap­ter she brings every­thing togeth­er by sug­gest­ing how the Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty can play an impor­tant role by par­tic­i­pat­ing in pub­lic life in the Unit­ed States. 

Rab­bi Jacobs’ writ­ing is clear and con­cise and she presents the text in a way that enables one not only to learn with her but to want to know more of what she is dis­cussing. This is a par­tic­u­lar­ly inspir­ing book that may lead read­ers to become active in their local com­mu­ni­ties and even become involved in broad­er move­ments to improve Amer­i­can soci­ety. Glos­sary, index, list of rec­om­mend­ed books for fur­ther reading.

Stephen G. Don­shik, D.S.W., is a lec­tur­er at the Hebrew Uni­ver­si­ty’s Com­mu­ni­ty Lead­er­ship and Phil­an­thropy Pro­gram. He writes on the non-prof­it sec­tor and has a con­sult­ing firm focused on strength­en­ing non-prof­its and their lead­er­ship for tomorrow.

Discussion Questions