I was first exposed to the idea of social justice through Jewish institutions. Youth group, synagogue, hebrew school, were all instrumental in me finding my own way towards a career in social justice through public health. I’m proud of my faith and whether I’m more observant or less, I know it’s always a foundation I can come back to. However, a recent experience has led me to think critically about the way Jewish teachings of social justice are implemented and how they can be done better. In my experience, these implementation issues boil down to the following interlinked problems:
- A failure to separate our collective past as a persecuted, marginalized group from our current reality in the US as a largely privileged group.
- A failure to sufficiently emphasize allyship and intersectionality in discussions of social justice.