"If your brother becomes impoverished and his means falter in your proximity, you shall strengthen him - stranger or resident - so that he can live wtih you."
JCRC Anti-Poverty Campaign
In 2007, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs launched a national Confronting Poverty Initiative and challenged local communities to participate. At the beginning of 2008, members of the Dallas JCRC Social Action/Public Policy Commission conducted a series of interviews with community anti-poverty leaders to determine the best way for the Dallas Jewish community to have an impact on poverty locally. Based on these interviews and other research, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Dallas launched an Anti-Poverty Campaign in January of 2009 in order to educate the Jewish community about the realities of poverty in Dallas and to find creative solutions that can make a difference. Learn more about the importance of this campaign and be part of this community-wide initiative!
Join our new JCRC Anti-Poverty Campaign Facebook group!
2010 PASSOVER READING ON POVERTY - The JCRC Anti-Poverty Campaign and the Rabbinic Association of Greater Dallas have prepared a special Passover reading on poverty. We encourage you to read it during your Seder, and discuss and reflect upon it. Along with the reading, we have also provided you with a concrete action opportunity to combat childhood hunger. (click on the link above to view the reading)
Facts on poverty in Dallas
As of 2008, over 250,000 residents of the city of Dallas earned less than the federal poverty line ($21,200 for a family of four).
Studies show that families need to earn twice the poverty line in order to meet basic needs.
The economic recession has driven thousands more people into poverty. The poverty rate for the city of Dallas increased from 21.1% in 2007 to 22.6% in 2008.
Why is this issue important for the Jewish community to address?
The commandment to provide for those who are less fortunate can be found throughout Jewish religious texts and writings. Consequently, the need to be a positive force in the world with respect to the welfare of others is an integral part of Jewish thought and action. This responsibility has motivated the JCRC to initiate and Anti-Poverty Campaign to promote both education and action that will ultimately address the various causes and consequences of poverty.
Learn more about the Jewish imperative to combat poverty here.
What are we hoping to accomplish?
We hope to build broad awareness within the Jewish community about the growing tragedy of poverty and the moral urgency of addressing this crisis. To that end, the JCRC has set up an Anti-Poverty Campaign Task Force, comprised of representatives from Jewish congregations and organizations throughout the Dallas area. The Task Force is coordinating a series of poverty awareness events and activities being developed by participating congregations and organizations. By building an understanding of the realities of poverty among the members of these groups and across the community, we hope to create a powerful constituency for action to reduce poverty in Dallas.
We also hope to build strong partnerships with community groups from around the city to develop strategic and creative approaches to combating poverty that build off of the work already being done and mobilize resources in an effective way. The crisis of poverty affects everyone, and the entire community must be part of the solution.
Who is involved in this campaign?
The Jewish Community Relations Council seeks to unite the entire Jewish community around this common initiative. The organizations that are currently represented on the JCRC Anti-Poverty Campaign Task Force include:
Congregation Anshai Torah
Congregation Beth Torah
Congregation Shearith Israel
Hillel of Dallas
Jewish Family Service
National Council of Jewish Women
If you would like your Jewish congregation or organization to be involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Articles and handouts on poverty
JCRC Anti-Poverty Statement from members of the Rabbinic Association of Dallas
"The Working Poor", an analysis by Shirley Davidoff, JCRC Anti-Poverty Campaign Task Force Member
"Poverty: A Growing Tragedy", an educational handout by the JCRC Anti-Poverty Campaign
You can find new articles on poverty in upcoming editions of the JCRC weekly e-newsletter. Sign up now!
The Cost of Not Addressing Concentrated Poverty: How Much Can Dallas Afford to Pay?, a report of the J. McDonald Williams Institute (now called the Institute for Urban Policy Research at UTD)
Closing the Gaps for Texas and Dallas County Children, by Frances Deviney, PhD., Center for Public Policy Priorities.
Economic Security Indicators, published by Dallas Women's Foundation
2008 Community Needs Assessment, Chapter Four: Income, by the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. (for the full report, click here)
Poverty 101, September 2009, Center for Public Policy Priorities.
Poverty in the United States: Frequently Asked Questions, National Poverty Center
The Enduring Challenge of Concentrated Poverty in America, a joint project of the Community Affairs Offices of the Federal Reserve System and the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution.
Press articles about the campaign
"Freedom from poverty: JCRC Task Force takes aim this Passover", Texas Jewish Post, April 2, 2009.
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