Social Justice and Affirmative Action

Adopted on October 30, 1993, at the CSJO Executive Board meeting in Detroit, Michigan, USA

  • We Secular Jews base our commitment to social justice on our understanding of Jewish ethics, of Jewish history, and of the traditions of our Movement.
  • From an ethical standpoint, we are inspired by the insistence of our people's Prophets that the essence of morality is the establishment of justice.
  • We see an historical imperative in the fact that, through the ages, Jewish security and participation in any society has been determined by the degree of justice in that society and by its relative freedom from violence.
  • We honor and share in the century-long tradition of secular Jewish movements in their struggle for peace and the rights of the oppressed, the dispossessed and the defenseless, and our Movement's affirmation of the sanctity of life.

These considerations commit us to building a society that affirms, protects and champions the rights of all people, especially the oppressed, including the poor, labor, political and ideological dissidents, children, women, ethnic and racial minorities, the disabled, lesbians and gays. They commit us to oppose the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and to work for a world society that rejects violence as a means of resolving conflicts. As members of the human race and of a worldwide Jewish people, we are committed, as well, to the interdependence of all life on our planet and to the defense of its ecology.

Our commitments are not merely altruistic. They reflect our self-interested concern with the world of the 21st century, the rapidly-changing, multi-cultural world of depleted and limited resources in which our children and grandchildren will live. The struggle for social justice, in its broadest and deepest meanings, seems to us the surest means to secure our future and theirs.

The history of Jewish participation in modern societies demonstrates that the extension of full rights to the formerly oppressed does not diminish but enhances the progress and well-being of society as a whole. Secure in that knowledge, we welcome and support all affirmative actions designed to accelerate opportunities for education, training and employment as a means of establishing and furthering social justice for the members of all groups whose opportunities have been oppressively limited or denied.