Resolution Adopted by the CCAR

Economic Justice in the Jewish Community

Adopted by the CCAR at the 100th Annual Convention of
the Central Conference of American Rabbis
Cincinnati, Ohio June, 1989

RESOLVED that the following statement of principles be adopted and circulated by the Central Conference of American Rabbis to appropriate agencies within the Reform movement:

The CCAR has always been committed to the principle of economic justice. This has been expressed through many resolutions and policy statements dating from the earliest years of the Conference and through the work of the Committee on Justice and Peace. The American Reform Jewish movement established from its beginnings a priority for issues of economic justice as evidenced in the Social Justice plank of the Pittsburgh Platform (1885). It is appropriate that the Conference should seek to apply these principles to our own institutions and community.

WE THEREFORE RESOLVE to seek to realize the following agenda.

The Synagogues and Other Institutions in which We Serve, Lead, and Participate

1. All financial transactions and business dealings in the synagogues and other institutions in which we serve, lead, and participate will be executed according to the highest standards of ethics. All budgets and record-keeping will be honest and open with full accountability to the institution's constituency and membership.

2. Employees of these institutions will be paid a fair wage and receive such compensation as is appropriate, including fringe benefits which are customary for the position held. Employees shall have the right to collective bargaining and to representation of their choosing. The standards of professional associations will be honored in contractual arrangements.

3. The institutions will maintain propriety in their collection of dues and fees and in fund-raising. Membership shall not be restricted because of means and fair arrangements for payment of dues and fees shall be made for members who otherwise lack the means to join and maintain membership and services. Fund-raising shall be limited to activities that are proper for a Jewish communal institution. Gambling will not be sponsored or promoted by the institutions of our movement.

4. Our institutions will seek to limit ostentatious or wasteful displays of wealth on the part of their members.

5. Our institutions will seek to avoid waste of resources and pollution of the environment. Surveys of use of energy, water and land; of waste disposal; and of use of disposable goods will be made. Timely and appropriate measures shall be taken to end wasteful and polluting practices.

6. Members of the Conference will actively seek to pursue those goals within the institutions in which we serve, lead, and participate.

The Jewish Community

1. Jewish communal institutions should insist on fair and honest business relations among themselves. They should not engage in unfair, oppressive, or dishonest practices against each other even when they directly compete for members, funds, or other communal resources.

2. Suppliers of goods and services to the Jewish community must be made to understand that the Jewish community will insist on honest business practices and on the highest standards of ethics. Caterers; funeral directors; kosher butchers, bakers, wine-makers, and food purveyors; book dealers and ritual objects suppliers; and all others who provide these goods and services will be expected to maintain such a standard of business conduct and should expect to be treated accordingly by the institutions and individuals they serve and supply.

3. Members of the Conference will seek to realize this high standard of business practice within the Jewish community.

The Jewish Community and the General Community

l. The same high standard of business ethics and practices which should prevail within the Jewish community should also apply in all dealings with the non-Jewish or general community.

2. Our institutions should participate in local communal efforts to ameliorate or redress economic inequities and injustices in their communities. The nature of this participation should be carefully considered but these matters shall not be ignored by our institutions.

3. Our institutions will also consider appropriate participation in the redress of economic injustice on the state, national, and world-wide levels. Participation in the boycott of the products of oppressed labor and refusal to invest endowment funds in corporations which engage in unjust practices are examples of such action.

4. Members of the Conference should take a leading role in finding appropriate ways to seek economic justice in this way. Thus we may hope to fulfill the mitzvah "Justice, only justice, shall you pursue."