Judaism and the Problems of the Inner City

  • Dan Cohn-Sherbok


Faith in the City (the report of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Inner City Deprivation published in 1985) has evoked considerable reaction from various quarters of society — it has even touched a sensitive nerve in the English Jewish community. In an article in the Jewish Chronicle1 the Chief Rabbi, Lord Jakobovits, criticized its findings at several points and offered a Jewish alternative for combatting the hardships of inner city life. The experience of the Jewish community, he argues, can serve as a model for those who are deprived in modern society. According to the Chief Rabbi, it was not by preaching Jewish power or non-violence that Jews were able to break out of the ghettos. Rather it was through ambition, education and hard work. But is such a policy of self-help the only response that the Jewish community can make to the Archbishop’s Report? The purpose of this study is to present an alternative view — to find within the Jewish tradition spiritual resources which reinforce the Report’s commitment to empathize with the suffering of those who are poor and oppressed and to side with them in their struggle for a better life.


Jewish Community Jewish People Jewish Teaching Jewish Tradition Jewish Heritage 
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    I. Spektor, ‘Nachal Yitzchak’ in S. Spero, Morality Halakha and the Jewish Tradition (Hoboken, New Jersey: KTAV 1983), p. 134.Google Scholar
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    Maimonides, as quoted in L. Jacobs, Principles of the Jewish Faith (London: Vallentine Mitchell, 1964), p. 216.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Dan Cohn-Sherbok 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dan Cohn-Sherbok
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for the Study of Religion and SocietyUniversity of KentCanterburyUK

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