WRJ Voices: Shof'tim

In this week’s parasha, Shof’tim, rules are established for a just society. It’s part of Moses’ closing speech to the children of Israel as they anticipate their entry into the Promised Land. Although there are dozens of guidelines detailed in this portion, there is one verse that captures the essence of Moses’ message from God:

“Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may live and possess the land the Lord, your God, is giving you.”

These words have been passed down through the generations as a cornerstone for our Jewish lives. The pursuit of justice is a great part of our Jewish tradition making each of us responsible for contributing to a just society. It is an awesome responsibility that cannot be satisfied by a single act but rather by incorporating a social justice philosophy into our daily lives. By making social action a part of our lives, we are pursuing justice. 

This made me stop to think about how I contribute to a just society. I realized that I have incorporated into my life advocating for justice for child abuse victims, giving food to the homeless, providing school supplies to children in low income families, raising awareness of the need to create an equal future for women and girls and to empower women worldwide through service and advocacy. My membership in WRJ and other organizations gives me the opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of people around the world.

For more than 100 years, WRJ has been at the forefront of major efforts in the work of tikkun olam, repairing the world. WRJ has pioneered social action in the Reform Movement and the Jewish community. Inspired by Jewish traditions and values, WRJ promotes the advancement of women’s leadership and equality in Jewish life and in society by championing numerous critical social justice issues.

Think about Moses’ message from God:

“Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may live and possess the land the Lord, your God, is giving you.”

Rooted in Torah, this legacy of justice is ours, Women of Reform Judaism, to carry on.

As Reform Jewish women, WRJ

  • is committed to strengthening Jewish practice and family life, and to ensure that our Reform Movement continues to thrive from generation to generation.
  • has led the Movement in support of racial equality, LGBTQ equality, the rights of people with disabilities, public education, immigration reform, gun violence prevention, employment rights, and criminal justice.
  • takes pride in advocating for the most vulnerable. Jewish tradition compels us to work to end hunger, homelessness, and poverty, and to encourage short- and long-term solutions to economic injustice. 
  • heeds our tradition’s teachings to cherish the earth. WRJ is committed to safeguarding our natural resources, supporting research to repair damage from the past and finding solutions for a sustainable future.
  • has worked throughout our hundred years, in conjunction with a variety of faith groups, to promote mutual respect for our different traditions and to strengthen our work by joining together to accomplish shared goals.
  • is committed to supporting international peace efforts, human rights, and global health and development initiatives along with supporting the State of Israel, working to advance religious pluralism and the peace process.
  • celebrates the values of religious freedom that have allowed the Jewish community to thrive in North America and also strives to ensure religious pluralism internationally, so that all may freely practice their beliefs.
  • takes pride in its history of advocacy for women’s equality in the rabbinate, in the workplace, and in our society, raising voices for women’s suffrage and reproductive rights and taking a stand to end violence against women.

Visit the WRJ website, wrj.org to read about WRJ's social justice positions and learn about what your sisterhood/women's group can do to support and promote recent Resolutions & Statements passed by the WRJ Board of Directors.

Let us all commit to following the commandment in this Torah portion to pursue justice. We are Stronger Together!

Pat Blum is a WRJ Board Member and past WRJ secretary. She is the past president of WRJ Southwest District, Vice Chair for URJ South Texas Community and Education Director of Temple Emanuel in McAllen, Texas, and a proud member of and a past president of her sisterhood.  

Published: 8/25/2017

Categories: Voices of WRJ