The New York Jewish Coalition
for Criminal Justice Reform
Formed in 2019, NYJCCJR now includes 24 Jewish member organizations across New York City.
We work in partnership with criminal justice reform organizations to amplify campaigns and advocate for change, understanding that the people closest to the problem are closest to the solution.
We support member organizations and the Jewish community in exploring issues of justice and public safety through a lens of Jewish values, history, and teachings. For more information on the Coalition, contact our Director Rachel Lissy, via email or our Contact Us page.
The Coalition is housed at the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC-NY) and supported by funding from the UJA-Federation of New York.
The New York Jewish Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform is committed to educating and activating the Jewish community to advocate for a criminal justice reform agenda in New York and to reimagine public safety for all communities. We recognize the need for systemic change to a discriminatory system rooted in racism that denies equal justice to all under the law.
GUIDING JEWISH VALUES
In our work, we draw from Jewish moral and spiritual traditions and perspectives. With appreciation for the work of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, a founding Coalition member organization, we share the JCPA's articulation of these guiding values, in “A Jewish Call to Action, Ending Mass Incarceration and Criminalization.”
V’ahavta L’re’echa Kamocha
"Love your neighbor as yourself"
Our society must be built on fairness, justice, love, and respect for all. All aspects of our society and criminal justice system should be based on human dignity.
Return, Repentance, and Restorative Justice
Teshuva is the process of redemption by which a person who committed wrongdoing returns to the path of righteousness. This process guides us to seek the best solution for everyone involved through meaningful reparation for wrongdoing, full support for the victims of the crime, and the restoration and return of the individual who caused harm to the community, itself made stronger in the process.
"If one destroys a life...,
it is as if one destroys an entire world"
An overly harsh punishment diminishes a spark of the Divine in our world and diminishes the humanity both of those who administer punishment and those who stand idly by. No human being is disposable.
Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof
"Justice, justice you shall pursue so that you may thrive…”
The term “justice” (Tzedek) is repeated twice to remind us to exercise justice fairly. True “justice” cannot be achieved without compassion, mercy, and empathy.
Shtika Kehoda'ah Damya
“Silence is akin to complicity”
Silence in the face of injustice is an active choice—a tacit consent. Allowing injustice to continue unchallenged is, in essence, committing an injustice as well.
“Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly before your God”
Generosity of spirit or empathic kindness guides our pursuit of justice. Even as we seek accountability for harm caused, we must remember that humility and ensuring that every human is treated with compassion undergirds our call, as Jews, for justice
"Everyone is made in the Divine image"
Approaches to justice must reflect the Biblical principle that each of us emerged from a common root and creator.
The mission and vision of NYJCCJR is guided by its Steering Committee under the leadership of its co-chairs. All members are volunteers representing member or host organizations, with the exception of the Director who works with JCRC-NY and the Steering Committee to coordinate and implement initiatives.