How can the Jewish community honor and amplify the inclusivity that was part of the #MeToo movement from its inception?
The Biblical and rabbinic authors recognized the phenomenon of structural inequity, in which broad social systems affect different groups in disparate ways. The sources gathered below bring together classical teachings that address the problem of structural inequity. How would you apply them to problems of racial and economic inequities today?
What does it look like to put a commitment to inclusivity into practice at the communal, institutional and individual level?
1. This passage extends special protection to three kinds of people: the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. What do you think made these groups vulnerable to mistreatment in antiquity? To what degree are these groups vulnerable in today's society? In contemporary life, who occupies positions that are equivalent to Deuteronomy's stranger, fatherless, and widow? In what way?
2. Why do you think this passage links the commandment to protect the stranger, fatherless, and widow with a remembrance of slavery in Egypt? In your experience, how does the story of the Exodus shape Jewish values, actions, and decision-making?
Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, 1040-1105) draws on an ancient rabbinic teaching to address why the biblical passage above is included in the Torah.
1. What is the implicit question that Rashi wants to address?
2. How does he answer it?
3. What does this commentary suggest about how one addresses structural inequity?
4. What are some particular decisions that are in your power to make that could help reverse the structural inequities?