Recognize the JBHA Faculty Association

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Recently, the Board of Directors of the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy (JBHA) announced that it would no longer recognize the teachers' union, withdrawing the ability of the JBHA teachers to bargain collectively. The teachers, however, wish to maintain their union. We stand with the teachers. Their ability to unionize ensures the ongoing academic excellence of JBHA and is an expression of core Jewish values. 

Recognition of the Faculty Association enacts two central Jewish values, the duty to impart Jewish teachings (Talmud Torah) and the duty to protect the interests of workers. 

Religious authorities across the spectrum of Jewish life affirm that unions are consistent with Jewish teachings: 

Among Orthodox authorities, Rabbi Eliezer Waldenburg recognizes the rights of workers to strike. (She’elot u’Teshuvot of the Tzitz Eliezer 2:23; this ruling does not extend to Torah teachers, but applies to teachers of other subjects.) 

The Reform movement has a long-standing commitment to labor unions, with the Central Conference of American Rabbis resolving in 1921, "Under the present organization of society, labor's only safeguard against a retrogression to former inhuman standards is the union." 

In 2008, the Committee on Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement passed a decision authored by Rabbi Jill Jacobs that says, in part: “Jewish employers should allow their employees to make their own independent decisions about whether to unionize.” 

We contend that JBHA will be best positioned for the future by embodying Jewish values and by embracing its teachers as full partners in its educational mission. We call on the Board to reconsider its decision and to recognize the JBHA Faculty Association.