Resolution on Global Poverty

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly is comprised of colleagues who care deeply about the state of the world, tikkun olam and mishpetei tzedek, the laws of justice and righteousness as prescribed by the Torah and Prophets of Israel;

Whereas members of the Rabbinical Assembly have the potential for enormous influence throughout the world by standing up for moral principles, as both Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer exemplified in their time and place in history;

Whereas it is known that there are sufficient resources to end extreme poverty in our world, a poverty that leaves billions living on $1 a day and suffering from malnutrition and disease where thousands of children die each day before their fifth birthday; and

Whereas the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 – form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions, thus galvanizing unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest.

Therefore be it resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly reaffirm its 2000 Resolution supporting international debt relief calling on wealthy nations to forgive the debt of poor nations and require those nations as a condition of the debt relief package to increase spending on their health care system, educational programs, and micro loans to help people start businesses and relieve poverty as part of  the ‘Jubilee Principle’ articulated by the concept of Yovel in the Torah and as agreed to at the most recent G8 summit;

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly call upon the World Bank and governments to make foreign aid contingent on an increase in micro loans to start small businesses and to remove bureaucratic,  economic, and legal  barriers to foreign investment in those countries seeking aid,  and to send agricultural and other technical experts to those countries as Israel has done;

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly call upon all countries and in particular, those in which our members reside, to urge that they honor their pledges of foreign aid; and

Be it further resolved that members of the Rabbinical Assembly speak out about this issue, support programs that educate us and our constituents on this issue, such as the American Jewish World Service, MAZON, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and the Ziv Tzedakah Fund and work in collaboration with local interfaith clergy to communicate with governmental officials to establish a world which supports the dignity and worth of each and every human being.

Passed by the Rabbinical Assembly Plenum, March, 2006