Today, October 26th, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice sent a letter to New York City Council Speaker, Christine Quinn, with over 40 signatures by prominent Conservative, Orthodox, Reform, Reconstructionist, and Renewal New York rabbis in support of the New York City Paid Sick Time Act. The letter, co-sponsored by Rabbis J. Roly Matalon, Yitz Greenberg, and Jill Jacobs, urges Speaker Quinn to bring this critical piece of legislation to a vote.
(Scroll down for a full list of signatories).
The bill will protect over 1,000,000 low-wage and part-time workers in the private sector with paid sick leave compensation. The bill has already garnered immense support from leaders throughout New York City—earning it a veto-proof majority. The only obstacle the bill faces is the will of Speaker Quinn to bring it to a vote. Despite constant rallies outside of City Hall, led by the NYC Paid Sick Days Coalition, Speaker Quinn seems resistant to bringing the bill to a vote. This will not stand among the progressive Jews of New York City.
At this critical juncture, it is essential that we urge Speaker Quinn to stop postponing the bill. The health and dignity of workers are on the line. Denying paid sick leave compensation is a direct violation of the moral tenants we stand for as Jews and as citizens of New York City. We demand respect for the dignity of all workers, and their right to proper health and compensation.
May we see the day when all workers can live healthily and receive proper compensation for their labor.
Marjorie Dove Kent
Jews for Racial and Economic Justice
Photo: Rabbi Roly Matalon of B'nai Jeshurun and JFREJ Director Marjorie Dove Kent
with the letter from New York Rabbis in Support of Paid Sick Leave
The text of the letter, and signatories, are below:
New York Rabbis in Support of Paid Sick Leave
Dear City Council Speaker Christine Quinn,
“May you be inscribed and sealed for a Healthy, Happy and Sweet New Year.”
As we start the New Year with these words, we praise God—in gratitude—for the abundance bestowed upon us. Unfortunately, thousands of workers, including members of our own communities, face an unhealthy reality. Many workers in our city work while sick—in fear that time away from their jobs will jeopardize the financial stability of their families.
When employers refuse workers paid sick time, they endanger the health of their workers and the health of their customers. In the restaurant industry alone, 84% of workers who touch the food we place in our mouths do not receive paid sick time. This poses a direct public health danger to the citizens of New York City.
For the health of our friends, families, and neighbors, we join together as a united kehillah (community), to ask New York City Council to propose and pass the Paid Sick
Time Act, Intro 97, to ensure that all workers in New York City be compensated for the time they need to heal and to attend to the needs of sick family members.
Our tradition respects the dignity of workers and their right to proper treatment. As we start this new year, we must affirm and renew the sentiment embedded in the Torah’s command: “You shall not abuse a needy and destitute laborer, whether a fellow Israelite or a stranger in one of the communities of your land” (Deuteronomy 24:14).
We celebrate the efforts of the New York City Council members, the majority of whom support this legislation, and encourage our other City Council members to bring this important legislation to a vote. The dignity, health, and security of our community members and our neighbors depend upon it.
Rabbi David Adelson, East End Temple, Manhattan
Rabbi Andy Bachman, Beth Elohim, Brooklyn
Rabbi Tsvi Blanchard, CLAL
Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor, World Union for Progressive Judaism
Rabbi Marcelo R. Bronstein, B'nai Jeshurun, Manhattan
Cantor Angela W. Buchdahl, Central Synagogue, Manhattan
Rabbi Carrie Carter, Park Slope Jewish Center, Brooklyn
Rabbi Ayelet S. Cohen, Manhattan JCC
Rabbi Steven Exler, Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, Bronx
Rabbi Michael Feinberg, Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition
Rabbi Jeff Fox, Yeshivat Maharat
Rabbi Michael S. Friedman, Central Synagogue, Manhattan
Cantor Rebecca Garfein, Congregation Rodeph Sholom, Manhattan
Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, CLAL
Rabbi Shai Held, Mechon Hadar, Manhattan
Rabba Sara Hurwitz, Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, Bronx
Rabbi David Ingber, Romemu, Manhattan
Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Rabbis for Human Rights - North America
Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, Rabbis for Human Rights - North America
Rabbi Leora Kaye, Congregation Rodeph Sholom, Manhattan
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, Manhattan
Rabbi Chava Koster, Village Temple, Manhattan
Rabbi Irwin Kula, CLAL
Rabbi Sari Laufer, Congregation Rodeph Sholom, Manhattan
Rabbi Robert N. Levine, Congregation Rodeph Sholom, Manhattan
Rabbi Serge A. Lippe, Brooklyn Heights Synagogue
Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, Kolot Chayeinu, Brooklyn
Rabbi Marc Margolius, West End Synagogue, Manhattan
Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon, B’nai Jeshurun, Manhattan
Rachel Grant Meyer, Congregation Rodeph Sholom, Manhattan
Rabbi Dina Rosenberg, Bay Ridge Jewish Center, Brooklyn
Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Manhattan
Rabbi Lyle Rothman, Congregation Rodeph Sholom, Manhattan
Rabbi Daniel Smokler, NYU Hillel, Manhattan
Rabbi Felicia Sol, B’nai Jeshurun, Manhattan
Rabbi Benjamin Spratt, Congregation Rodeph Sholom, Manhattan
Rabbi Burt Visotzky
Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub
Rabbi Ari Weiss, Uri L’Tzedek
Rabbi Nancy Wiener, Hebrew Union College
Rabbi Mishael Zion, The Bronfman Youth Fellowships
All affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.