Equity vs Equality
September 9, 2022
Ki Teitzei. “Thou shalt not plow pairing an ox and a donkey together.” (Deuteronomy 22:10)
The rabbis teach us that although each of these animals has the potential to plow alone if they were to be paired together, they would unjustly struggle because each animal plows at a different pace, rhythm, and capacity. This simple five [Hebrew] word sentence was the verse that introduced me as a youngster to the principle of equity versus equality.
Today, we often hear about the fight for “equality.” However, many contend that the real battle for fairness is in fact a fight for “equity.” There is a notable internet meme that highlights this struggle with much greater simplicity than I could ever provide in words:
Yet, in 21st Century America, especially in San Antonio, Texas, many of us are not faced with the biblical dilemma of needing to plow our fields and, consequently, whether we should yoke our ox with our donkey to do so. Thankfully, our sages elaborate on this verse and remind us that we still own the burden to identify the inequities in our community and respond to Gd’s allegory accordingly.
The Jewish Federation system was created with the specific mission to address this very challenge in our community, across the nation, and around the world. Every year Jewish Federations initiate local campaigns to raise critical funds to help those less fortunate. Some examples of these community-supported programs in San Antonio are:
- Jewish Family Service’s Safety Net Program for vulnerable populations;
- The Barshop Jewish Community Center’s funds for children with special needs;
- Hebrew Free Loan Association of San Antonio’s interest-free loans to individuals in times of struggle;
- … and our local Chevra Kadisha (Jewish Burial Society).
Additionally, our Annual Campaign also funds global needs in support of:
- Ukrainian refugees fleeing their war-torn country and those communities supporting them.
- Ethiopian Aliyah to Israel through our partnership with JAFI (Jewish Agency For Israel).
- Latin American Jews, like those in Argentina struggling financially through partnerships with JDC (Joint Distribution Committee).
- Holocaust Survivor Care through advocacy and support from JFNA (Jewish Federations of North America).
But the Jewish Federation of San Antonio cannot do this alone. We need YOUR partnership. We need YOUR participation. Please consider supporting our 2022 Annual Campaign. $0.99 of every dollar raised goes directly to a recipient agency or program.
As Rabbi Tarfon used to say, “It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you at liberty to neglect it.” Please join us in our mission to support those who need our support because we are…