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Where Justice Dwells: A Hands-On Guide to Doing Social Justice in Your Jewish Community Paperback – June 1, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1580234535 ISBN-10: 1580234534 Edition: 1st

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Where Justice Dwells: A Hands-On Guide to Doing Social Justice in Your Jewish Community + There Shall Be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice through Jewish Law and Tradition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Jewish Lights; 1 edition (June 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580234534
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580234535
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,095,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

This is a book for those who are serious about building and infusing a culture of social justice into their Jewish lives, institutional and otherwise. . .Read this book. Copy the forms (the publisher says you can!) and use them. Dog ear the pages and warp them with attention. Seriously. --Jewschool

If you are Jewish, if you are politically aware, and if you want to do something real, read this book.Rabbi Jill Jacobs is brilliant and accessible. She focuses on how to make the world a better place through community organizing as well as why we need to help as Jews--and no, I promise, you haven't heard this before. --JewishBoston.com

Practical advice on organizing groups and congregations to fulfill what she considers to be a Jewish obligation. --Publisher's Weekly

"Social justice activists, scholars and teachers will treasure [this]…. Her wise and practical insights [will] inspire each of us to shape a more just world."
Rabbi Richard Jacobs, president, Union for Reform Judaism

"Continually and thoroughly integrates theory with practice. In crystal-clear language with ample examples, explore[s] serious questions about whom we should help, why and how…. A must-read for any Jew who wants to transform good intentions into actions—and to know how and why the Jewish tradition can help [you] do that."
Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff, PhD, author, The Way Into Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World)

“Fresh and inspiring … a guide to Jewish responsibility and a restoration of classical biblical and rabbinic values in the lives of Jews today.”
Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College

“Brilliant.… A pitch-perfect guide for schools, congregations and communal organizations to engage in thoughtful, focused and effective social justice work…. Never skimps on the in-depth issues that may appear to complicate the matter but will, in fact, make the right results emerge.”
Ruth Messinger, president, American Jewish World Service

“An important contribution to synagogues that want to deepen their commitment to social justice work, [and] to individual Jews who want to understand the deep connection between Judaism and the commitment to repair the world.”
Rabbi Laura Geller, senior rabbi, Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills

“A magnificent how-to guide for Jewish institutions that want to take social justice seriously.”
Rabbi Sidney Schwarz, author, Judaism and Justice: The Jewish Passion to Repair the World

“Masterful…. Gives voice to a broader meaning of what it means to be a 'religious' Jew…. A deeply authentic religious underpinning for a 'spiritual practice' of social justice.”
Rabbi Elie Kaunfer, author, Empowered Judaism: What Independent Minyanim Can Teach Us about Building Vibrant Jewish Communities

“Unique insights [on] repairing the world through social justice as part of the fullest expression of Jewish values.”
Rabbi Steve Wernick, executive vice president, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

“Presents more than the possibilities of Jewish social justice … a compelling road map that moves us from a place of altruism to a place of profound obligation.”
Dr. Erica Brown, author, Inspired Jewish Leadership: Practical Approaches to Building Strong Communities

“[Turns] passion and deep insights about justice into a practical and practicable guide … teaches us how we can place justice at the center and change the world.”
Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon, Congregation B’nai Jeshurun

“There are several publications and websites that give us the ‘how-to’ for doing the work of social justice and religious action. In this volume, Rabbi Jacobs also provides us with the ‘why-to’—the Jewish sources and in-depth thinking about our obligation to make this work a priority in our communities.”
Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus, immediate past president, Central Conference of American Rabbis

“An inspiration. I could not put it down…. In a voice of passion, wisdom and compassion … teaches us to turn our prayers into reality.”
Rabbi Naomi Levy, author, To Begin Again and Hope Will Find You

“Takes our hand and leads us step by step down the path of tikkun olam…. Pragmatic and yet lofty … a must for individuals and communities alike.”
Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, Nevei Kodesh, Boulder; author, The Receiving:
Reclaiming Jewish Women’s Wisdom
and With Roots in Heaven

“Challenges congregations to grapple with and integrate deeply social justice into congregational lives…. Offers textual understanding, vision and practical tools…. A must-read for faith-based social action.”
Kim Bobo, executive director, Interfaith Worker Justice; author, Wage Theft in America: Why Millions of Working Americans Are Not Getting Paid—And What We Can Do About It

“Offers a compelling vision of a world made whole, and concrete methods for living out our highest ideals in the public square…. Brings real, sustainable, meaningful transformation—of our communities, of the globe—within reach.”
Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, author, Surprised by God: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Religion

“[Will] work for any Jew … [and] help you learn how to fulfill your Jewish and societal responsibilities…. Has all the rigor of a halakhic work with the passion and vision inspired by our prophetic tradition.”
Rabbi Asher Lopatin, Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation, Chicago

About the Author

Rabbi Jill Jacobs is the Executive Director of Rabbis for Human
Rights-North America. She is the author of Where Justice Dwells: A
Hands-On Guide to Doing Social Justice in Your Jewish Community and
There Shall Be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice through Jewish Law
and Tradition. Rabbi Jacobs has been named to the Forward's list of 50
influential American Jews (2006 and 2008), to The Jewish Week's first
list of "36 under 36" (2008), and to Newsweek's list of the 50 Most
Influential Rabbis in America (2009, 2010 and 2011). She lives in New
York with her husband, Guy Austrian, and their daughter Lior.

More About the Author

Rabbi Jill Jacobs is the Executive Director of T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, which mobilizes 1800 rabbis and cantors and tens of thousands of American Jews to bring a Jewish moral voice to the most pressing human rights concerns of our time. She is the author of Where Justice Dwells: A
Hands-On Guide to Doing Social Justice in Your Jewish Community and There Shall Be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice through Jewish Law
and Tradition, both published by Jewish Lights. Widely regarded as a leading voice on Jewish social justice, she regularly lectures at synagogues, Jewish community centers, and conferences and has written about Jewish perspectives on social justice and human rights for more than two dozen publications.

Rabbi Jacobs has been named to the Forward's list of 50 influential American Jews (2006, 2008, and 2011), to The Jewish Week's first list of "36 under 36" (2008), and to Newsweek's list of the 50 Most Influential Rabbis in America every year since 2009 (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013). She holds rabbinic ordination and an MA in Talmud from the Jewish Theological Seminary, an MS in Urban Affairs from Hunter College, and a BA in Comparative Literature from Columbia University. She lives in New York with her husband, Guy Austrian, and their daughter Lior.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Israel Drazin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book makes it clear that Judaism is not designed to have its religionists restricting their behavior to ceremonies, for ceremonies are a means to an end, one goal of which is social justice. "What is more Jewish," the author asks, "wearing a kippah (head covering) or clothing the naked? What is more urgent - feeding matzah to our children on Pessach (Passover) or feeding the starving children in Sudan? Which is the more religious act - welcoming with joy the Sabbath Queen or welcoming with love the refugee fleeing persecution?"

Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of Rabbis for Human Rights - North America, fills her easy to read book with many stories showing, among other things, how people were successful in helping communities, such as when the Jewish and Muslim groups worked together with mutual benefit. She includes thought provoking insights as when she observes that many people confess to her that they didn't observe the Shabbat as they should, or always eat kosher food, or pray daily; but she never heard people bewail their social misdeeds, not paying the proper taxes or feeding the poor. Yet the word halakhah, which is commonly translated "Jewish law," actually means "the way to walk," proper behavior. She notes that when she tells people that she is a rabbi they "often ask whether I work on `Jewish issues.' This question puzzles me. Is poverty a Jewish or a non-Jewish issue?" Certainly it is both a Jewish and a human issue.

She concludes her chapters with incisive and insightful questions, such as asking if the reader identifies with a historical, halakhic, visionary, or utilitarian approach to the problem being discussed.
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