We are committed to ending our state’s mistreatment of poor and working people and eliminating decades of structurally reproduced poverty.

1. Raising the Minimum Wage to $15/hour

You shall not abuse a needy and destitute worker, whether your kin or a stranger in one of the communities of your land. You must pay them their wages on the same day, before the sun sets, for they are needy and urgently depend on it. – Deuteronomy 24:14-15

Vision Statement: Our Jewish tradition holds sacred the value of work and the dignity of working people. It inspires us to advocate for a Maryland in which hardworking people are able to meet the financial needs of their families. The current statewide minimum wage of $10.10 is not enough to cover a person’s basic needs in Maryland, nor does it help rectify persistent gender and race-based pay and wealth gaps. JUFJ therefore supports raising the Maryland minimum wage to $15 an hour by July 1, 2023 with subsequent increases tied to inflation.

2. Safe Housing and Fair Treatment for All Renters

One who rents a house to another is obligated to construct doors and to fix broken windows, to reinforce the ceiling and to fix broken beams, and to provide a bolt and a lock and similar things which are produced by skilled craftspeople and which are essential to living in a house. – Maimonides, Sefer Mishpatim, Sechirut (Laws of Rental) 6:3

Vision Statement: As Jews, our sacred texts and history teach us that safe and stable housing is a human right. We are also taught that tenant’s rights are just as important as landlord’s rights. Study after study have shown landlords have the upper hand in Maryland. We have an obligation to ensure fairness in tenant / landlord law and to prevent homelessness.

Maryland tenants continue to be evicted because of unexpectedly high utility bills, no matter how diligently they pay rent, and despite current judicial law. JUFJ supports a more just definition of rent – renters should not be kicked out of their homes because of an inability to pay bills they are unable to anticipate.

4. Guaranteeing Water Access and Affordability

G-d spoke to Moses, saying, “You and your brother Aaron take the staff and gather the community and before their eyes speak to the rock to give its waters. You shall bring forth for them water from the rock and provide drink for the community and for their animals.” Numbers 20:7-8

Vision Statement: As Jews we are commanded to work to ensure that all people have what our Torah calls dei machsoro, resources sufficient for their needs. Water is a resource we all need. Yet tens of thousands of Marylanders have had their water shut off or have been forced into a tax sale due to their inability to pay outrageous and often arbitrary water bills. We will work with our legislators to reject this unjust system, and guarantee water access and affordability.

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