ETHICS OF JUDAISM

Wealth & Poverty , The Environment

Wealth & Poverty , The Environment


Wealth and Poverty

What do Jewish organisations and agencies do to relieve poverty? Learn about the work of the World Jewish Relief. This organisation is a UK-based charity that works internationally to improve the lives of people living in poverty. The charity was founded in the 1930s and helped more than 100,000 Jews to escape Germany before the outbreak of World War II. Today, the charity works in some 15 countries around the world including Bulgaria, Haiti and Zimbabwe. The charity works with Jews and non-Jews to help them escape poverty.

religious studiesTzedakah is the concept of charity as defined in the Torah. This makes it a religious obligation to help poor people. Traditionally, and as recommended in the Torah, Jews should give 10 per cent of their income to charitable causes.

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The Environment

Since Jews believe that God has favoured them, they also believe they have a responsibility to look after the Earth that God created. Just as Adam was told by God to take good care of the Garden of Eden, Jews believe they should preserve the environment around them.

religious studiesThe Book of Genesis says that God created the world and was pleased with his work. This means that Jews should conserve all aspects of the natural world from plant life to animal life. The Torah also includes rules about avoiding waste which Jews are obligated to observe.

Jewish teaching in the Talmud says that people must not cause suffering to any creature. Further than that, kindness to animals is seen as a virtuous thing. However, Jews can kill animals to meet their needs for food and clothing. The Torah also instructs Jews to allow animals to rest on the Sabbath. Hunting for sport is forbidden as is making animals fight each other. Jewish teaching allows experimentation on animals if unnecessary pain is avoided and it is likely to help humans.

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