Whether or not Jewish values are a precise fit with the ostensibly anti-individualist stance of the pope (and they probably are not), Jews can certainly join in responding to his call for the immediate and passionate restructuring of our global economic priorities. What will it take for the Jewish community to return to the most fundamental of our tradition’s values and demand universal justice?

The organization Uri L’Tzedek is rallying Orthodox Jews to adhere to the Torah and place domestic and global justice at the top of our theological and moral agendas. We do not need the pope to teach Jews social justice; we have the Torah. But the timing and content of his encyclical should serve as a wakeup call to our own community.

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Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz is the executive director of the Valley Beit Midrash, the founder & president of Uri L’Tzedek, the founder and CEO of The Shamayim V’Aretz Institute and the author of books on Jewish ethics, most recently “The Soul of Jewish Social Justices.” Newsweek named Rav Shmuly one of the top 50 rabbis in America.”
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