Noted Social-justice Expert Rabbi Jill Jacobs to Speak Here Monday Evening

Rabbi Jill Jacobs

Rabbi Jill Jacobs

Rabbi Jill Jacobs, listed as one of America’s most-influential rabbis and director of the New York-based Ma’aseh: The Center for Jewish Social Justice Education, will discuss “Pursuing Social Justice in a Time of Economic Crisis” on Monday, Feb. 7. The event will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the 3M Auditorium of Owens Science Hall on the St. Paul campus of the University of St. Thomas.

Vic Rosenthal, Doran Schrantz and Hashi Shafti, executive directors of Jewish Community Action, the ISAIAH coalition of congregations, and Somali Action Alliance, three local organizations devoted to social justice, will give brief responses to Jacobs’ presentation.

The program is sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning and co-sponsored by ISAIAH, Islamic Civic Society of North America, Jewish Community Action, Minnesota Rabbinical Association, and St. Paul Jewish Community Center. It is free and open to the public.

“In the midst of the current economic crisis, people of all faiths are looking to religion for solace and guidance in moving forward to create a more just and sustainable American society,” said Jacobs. “Drawing on Jewish wisdom and focusing on contemporary policy debates, I will explore how we may ethically respond to some of today’s most vexing social and economic issues.”

Jacobs is the author of There Shall be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice through Jewish Law and Tradition (Jewish Lights, 2009). She has served as rabbi-in-residence of Jewish Funds for Justice in New York and as director of outreach and education for the Chicago-based Jewish Council on Urban Affairs.

A leading expert on Judaism and social justice, Jacobs has articles published in more than two dozen books, journals and magazines. She has been named to The Jewish Daily Forward’s list of 50 influential American Jews (2006 and 2008), to The Jewish Week's first list of "36 under 36" (2008), and to Newsweek's list of the 50 most influential rabbis in America (2009 and 2010).

Jacobs will be serving as the Jay Phillips Center’s rabbi-in-residence from Feb. 7 to 10 at both St. Thomas and St. John’s University in Collegeville. The two universities co-sponsor the center, whose mission is to promote interfaith learning and friendship among people of various religions. Information about the center can be found on its website.