“Leviticus 19:35–36 states, “You shall not falsify measures of length, weight, or capacity. You shall have an honest balance, honest weights....” These verses echo the language used earlier in Leviticus 19:15, which enjoins the Israelites to judge fairly: “You shall not render an unfair decision: do not favor the poor or show deference to the rich; judge your kin fairly.” As Rashi points out in his commentary on verse 35, both Leviticus 19:15 and Leviticus 19:35 begin with the same words, Lo taasu avel bamishpat, which can be translated, “Do not render an unfair judgment.” This repetition draws a connection between legal judgment and judgment in commerce through the measuring tools used daily. Rashi emphasizes, “If one deals falsely in measuring, he is as one who corrupts justice and is called unrighteous, hated and abomination, accursed and detestation.” These verses can guide us to understand that employers must “weigh” and assign salary in an ethical manner, avoiding the gender bias that still pervades our society and workplace.
- Rabbi Mary L. Zamore, excerpted from “Gender Pay Equity: A Textual Exploration for Justice,” Symposium on Pay Equity, CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly, Fall 2018.
Since its inception, the Reform Movement has considered social justice and women’s rights cornerstone values within our own community and beyond. There is much work to be done to ensure equality for women, especially regarding pay equity.
Since pay equity is a Jewish issue, Reform Equity Pay Initiative encourages you to discuss the gender wage gap in your community. Here are some samples of divrei Torah on these topics.
SAMPLE DIVREI TORAH
- Rabbi Marla Feldman, Trumah
- Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, Pinchas
- Rabbi Helaine Ettinger, Rosh Hodesh Nisan
- Rabbi Peter Stein, Shabbat Shmini
- Rabbi Joel Abraham, Tazria
- Rachel Roth, Shof'tim
- Rachel Roth, Ki Teitzei
- Rabbi Marla J. Feldman has contributed to an article to the Fall 2018 edition of the CCAR Journal on the Reform Movement’s past resolutions on equal pay. CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly, Published by the Central Conference of American Rabbis- Articles on Pay Equity in the Reform Movement
- Introduction – Guest Editors: Marla J. Feldman and Mary L. Zamore
- Gender Pay Equity: A Textual Exploration for Justice – Mary L. Zamore
- Responsum on Equal Pay – Jonathan Cohen on behalf of the CCAR Responsa Committee
- Pay Equity in the Reform Movement: An Unfinished History of Policy and Action – Marla J. Feldman
- Women Cantors and Dollars in 1976 – Barbara J. Ostfeld
- What the Latest Reform Movement Rabbinic Salary Study Reveals about the Gender Wage Gap – Michael J. Gan and Natalie C. Moffett
- The Gender Wage Gap in the Reform Movement: A United Data Narrative – Elise Gould
- The Gender Wage Gap in the Reform Movement: An Updated United Data Narrative- Savannah Noray
- What Is Possible: Striving for Gender Pay Equity for Congregational Employees – Esther L. Lederman and Amy Asin
- Embedding Pay Equity into the Congregational Culture – Paul Kipnes
- Rewriting the Rules and Breaking the Wage Gap Silence – Shifra Bronznick and Emma Bronznick Goldberg
- Where Do We Go from Here? Achieving Pay Equity on Our Pulpits – Richard Jacobs
- You Shall Not Defraud Your Fellow: A Haftarah for Equal Pay Day, Blog post by Rabbi Liz P.G Hirsch