Who We Are
Our mission: Uri L’Tzedek is an Orthodox social justice organization guided by Torah
values and dedicated to combating suffering and oppression. Through community
based education, leadership development and action, Uri L’Tzedek creates discourse,
inspires leaders, and empowers the Jewish community towards creating a more just world.
We, as Uri L’Tzedek staff, volunteers, board members, and committee members,
dedicate ourselves to carrying out this mission. In order to best implement the vision of Uri L’Tzedek, all staff, volunteers, board members, and committee members resolve to uphold the following values and practices:
Derekh Eretz: We will conduct our organizational and operational duties with positive leadership exemplified by open communication, creativity, dedication, and compassion. We will conduct ourselves in all our activities with full respect for others, and for each other.
Emet: We will strive to the highest standards of personal integrity, truthfulness, and honesty in all our activities in order to inspire confidence and trust in Uri L’Tzedek and its mission.
Zrizut: We accept as a personal duty the responsibility to keep up to date on emerging issues, internal to the organization and in the broader world, and are prepared to act with alacrity when necessary.
Mishpat: We will conduct ourselves with professional competence, fairness, partiality, efficiency, and effectiveness.
Arevut: We will strive for personal and professional excellence and encourage the professional developments of others. We will encourage working together in partnerships wherever appropriate in order to advance our mission.
Kavod: We will respect the structure and responsibilities of the board of directors, staff and volunteers respectively, providing them with facts and advice as a basis for their making policy decisions, and uphold and implement policies adopted by the board of directors.
Shkifut (transparency and disclosure): We will strive for transparency among the board, staff and public, and we will make known any ethical violations or conflicts of interest to the fullest extent appropriate, within the limits of both our confidentiality policy and the prohibitions related to rechilut and lashon harah.
Transparency is a value rooted in the Jewish tradition. The Mishna (Shekalim, 3:2) understands the verses: “and you shall be clean before G-d and Israel (Numbers, 32:22)” and “You shall find favor and understanding in the sight of G-d and Adam (Proverbs 3:4) to refer to doing whatever possible to minimize suspicion regarding the handling of donated funds. The aforementioned Mishna prevents those who handled communal funds in the Temple from wearing any garments or ritual objects that could possibly be used to hide and steal coins. This ensured communal trust, and continued support, for those appointed to handle collected funds. Modern day Jewish law recognizes this need for “cleanness” before the eyes of the community regarding financial matters, (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah, Laws of Tzedaka, 257, Aruch Hashulchan, Yoreh Deah, Laws of Tzedaka, 257, She’eilot u’Tshuvot, Chatam Sofer, Section 6, Siman 58) encouraging for all who entrusted with donated funds to strive for transparency and accountability. Today, our institutions might function differently, our finances more complicated, but Uri L’Tzedek’s goal is the same: a relationship between Uri L’Tzedek and the community built on transparency and trust.
The drive for transparency in the for-profit and in the non-profit sectors has seen a dramatic rise in the past few years. Some attribute this to the scandals in the for-profit and in the non-profit world seen over the last two decades. Others see it as a natural result of the explosion of information and the possibilities offered by communication technologies. Whatever its source, non-profit organizations like Uri L’Tzedek are created to meet public needs and are therefore offered exemptions from taxes and are able to receive tax-deductible contributions. We believe this unique position creates a moral obligation to be transparent. In addition, transparency also builds donor trust. In today’s information driven world, donors are increasingly searching for more accurate information on the institutions they support. It is our core belief that the Jewish community as a whole has a strong interest in encouraging organizations to increase their transparency and accountability.