by Sarah Hurwitz

I’ve spent my career largely in public service, most recently as head speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama. And having grown up with little Jewish background, for most of my life, if you had asked me what Judaism meant to me, I would have said something like, “working for social justice is how I do Judaism.” But working for social justice is also how one does Christianity, Islam, secular humanism, and many other belief systems.

After doing some Jewish learning as an adult—an experience so transformative that I decided to write a book about it—I now understand that while Judaism doesn’t have a monopoly on social justice, there is a particular Jewish approach to social justice, one that American Jewish World Service (AJWS) embodies every day with its work around the world. And as we approach the eight nights of Chanukah, I’d like to highlight eight Jewish social justice values:

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