Economic Justice

Take action with JCJ

Fight economic inequality, close the wealth gap, end poverty, and ensure everyone has the basic necessities to thrive

Join us as we mobilize Jewish communities and pro-democracy people of faith to shrink the wealth and income gap.

What’s the injustice?

The gap between rich and poor Americans keeps growing — and working families are suffering.

In the American story, the United States is a land of opportunity — a place where hard work and honest determination can lead any family to prosperity. But data shows that this narrative has become a myth: According to the Pew Research Center, the wealth gap between America’s richest and poorer families more than doubled in size over the last three decades. Forbes reported in 2020 that the top one percent of households in the U.S. had 15 times more wealth than the bottom 50 percent combined. America’s income inequality — the worst among all G7 countries — has grown deeper and wider through court decisions that side with special interests and corporations.

For ordinary working people, these trends mean daily heartbreak and difficulty: One in eight Americans struggles with hunger. Nearly one in four skip medical care because the cost is too high. For every statistic, there is a story: a human being born in a lower economic class, a historically-excluded zip code, or without family or community wealth who is stuck without a ladder toward upward mobility. With stagnant wages, rapid changes in blue collar industries, and a federal government that allows the rich to avoid their fair share of taxes, true upward mobility is out of reach for too many poor Americans, working class families, and those living paycheck to paycheck. Without immediate changes, the game will remain rigged.

What we believe

In a just and equitable society, no one should lack basic necessities — and everyone should be able to thrive.

The Jewish tradition commands us to “open your hand to your fellows, your poor, and your needy in your land” — a charge taken up by Jews in every generation, and in every place we have called home. We support efforts at every level of government to shrink the income and wealth gaps, root out hunger, deliver free or affordable healthcare to all, and decrease the cost of living a full and prosperous life. In California, we are engaged with the California Work and Family Coalition partners in the fight to pass transformative legislation.

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Connections: Jewish Sources

We care for non-Jewish poor along with Jewish poor. — Talmud Bavli Gittin 61A

For there will never cease to be needy ones from the midst of the land, which is why I command you: open your hand to your fellows, your poor and your needy in your land. — Deuteronomy 15:11

You are commanded to provide the needy with whatever they lack. If they lack clothing, you must clothe them. If they lack household goods, you must provide them… — Rambam Mishneh Torah, Laws of Gifts for the Poor 7:3

One who withholds an employee’s wages is as though he has deprived him of his life. — Baba Metzia 112a

You shall not abuse a needy and destitute laborer, whether a fellow Israelite or a stranger in one of the communities of your land. You must pay out the wages due on the same day, before the sun sets, for the worker is needy and urgently depends on it; else a cry to the Eternal will be issued against you and you will incur guilt. — Deuteronomy 24:14‑15.