Uri L'Tzedek

Uri L'Tzedek is the leading Orthodox social justice organization guided by Torah values and dedicated to combating suffering and oppression.
Location: Bronx , NY
Year founded: 2007

Description

Uri L’Tzedek is an Orthodox social justice organization guided by Torah values and dedicated to combating suffering and oppression.
Through community based education, leadership development and action, Uri L’Tzedek creates discourse, inspires leaders, and empowers the Jewish community towards creating a more just world.

Uri L'Tzedek utilizes a three pronged strategy in our mission to create a more just world: Education, Leadership Development, and Action.

1.) Education

Since our launch in 2007, Uri L’Tzedek has positioned itself as a thought-leader in the Jewish community.  Our Social Justice Beit Midrash Program convenes Jewish educators, scholars, and cutting-edge activists to create a new hermeneutic that integrates traditional textual study and contemporary social needs.We provide a series of  supplements which tie Jewish wisdom into our business lives, our daily lives, and the rhythm of the Jewish calendar year. This series was launched in Spring 2011 with the Uri L’Tzedek Food & Justice Haggadah Supplement to add a social justice element to the seder and Mah Ani: Self Reflection and Social Action for the High Holidays. Others include a supplement on Purim, Tisha b’Av, and business ethics. 

2.) Leadership Development


Uri L’Tzedek has created different fellowships that train emerging adults with the skills necessary to become community organizers, social entrepreneurs, and change-agents. The Uri L’Tzedek Summer Fellowship is a transformative leadership program that combines innovative social activism with leadership development and Torah, while the semester long Amos Fellowship gives students a unique opportunity to take leadership roles in social justice campaigns. 

3.) Action

The Tav HaYosher, Uri L’Tzedek’s ethical seal for kosher restaurants, weaves advocacy for worker rights with kashrut in a manner that creates a new paradigm for ethical living, empowers lay leaders to become social justice advocates, and initiates dialogue about the effects of conspicuous consumption, globalization, and community in the Jewish public sphere.


Project Vayeira: Giving Sight to the Invisible

About

This new initiative from Uri L'Tzdek is meant to give people stuck in hard times a beacon of joy. In essence, Project Vayeira is a simple proposition: to collect backpacks, fill them with food and hygiene products, and hand them out to homeless people/people experiencing hardship to keep for their betterment. We are using Phoenix, AZ as the pilot city of a--hopefully--national project. 


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What is the mission and purpose of this program?

At it's core, the project is a cost-effective way to fulfill the mitzvah of helping the needy while also allowing many people to give anonymously. The mission of the program, in turn, benefits people experiencing a hard time in their life by giving them a little leg up.

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Program Description

The project has four steps:

1.) Collect backpacks or similar sack that can keep its inner contents dry

2.) Purchase reasonable non-perishable foods (canned food) and hygiene products (toiletries, razors) to place in the backpack

3.) Pack the bags with the items 

4.) Distribute to needy/homeless people. 

This project is cost-effective and valuable to people in our community. It provides support across boundaries of religion, race, and culture. Everybody has hard times in their life, and this project is meant help give back to those who are still struggling. 

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Demonstrated Need

The recipients who receive backpacks from Project Vayeira are the neediest of the needy. They are desperately poor, possibly suffer from mental health issues, or are recovering from dark issues of their past. They need our help, and though we can't provide them everything, we can provide a little bit of dignity. 


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Program Accomplishments

This is a new program, but similar project from other organizations have proved to be effective in giving vulnerable, needy people much needed relief. 

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How do you measure the success of your program?

The success of this program can be measured in tangible and intangible ways. Tangibly, we can measure how many people sign up to support the cause, how many volunteer to distribute bags, and how many sign up and share enthusiasm for the project on social media. It is vital that we spread awareness for the cause so that people are more amenable to joining us. On a more intangible level, success can be measured by how people's lives are changed for the better: how people are inspired to action or to change their outlook on a vulnerable population. If we can get people from communities across the country excited in the cause, we'll have been a success. 

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