T’ruah Announces Launch of Jewish Fair Trade Project

RELEASE DATE: September 3, 2014

Equal Exchange, Fair Trade Judaica, and T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights today announced the launch of the Jewish Fair Trade Partnership, through which Jewish institutions and individuals can purchase kosher fair trade coffee, tea and chocolate while supporting Jewish communal efforts to end modern-day slavery and support worker justice.

“We are empowering our communities to make ethically based consumer choices,” explained Ilana Schatz, Founding Director of Fair Trade Judaica. “At the same time, we are educating Jewish communities about human rights in the supply chain.”

When institutions or individuals purchase fair trade products through the Jewish Fair Trade Project, a portion of the proceeds will support T’ruah and Fair Trade Judaica’s work engaging the Jewish community in ending modern-day slavery and protecting workers’ rights. Organizations can purchase these products at wholesale prices for their use, as well as for fundraising opportunities.

“Jewish law goes to great length to protect low-wage workers, whom our tradition knows are vulnerable to exploitation,” said Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Executive Director of T’ruah. “Through this project, our sacred spaces will reflect the values of our tradition.”

Since 1998, the Equal Exchange Interfaith Program has involved more than 10,000 religious institutions in purchasing fair trade products. Other current partners include: Lutheran World Relief, United Methodist Committee on Relief, Catholic Relief Services, Presbyterian Church (USA), and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. Purchases of fair trade products help farmers in Latin America, Africa and Asia to stay on their land, support their families, plan for the future, and care for the environment.

“Our expression of Jewish values doesn’t end when we walk out of the worship service,” commented Rabbi Menachem Creditor of Congregation Netivot Shalom in California. “It’s important that the coffee we serve at Kiddush and the chocolate we eat on Passover reflects our core values of seeking justice for all people.”

The Jewish Fair Trade Project includes Equal Exchange kosher certified coffee, tea and chocolate products. Coffee is kosher certified by the Orthodox Union (OU). Organic Hot Cocoa mix, Organic Baking Cocoa, and Organic Spicy Hot Cocoa are certified by the Kashruth Council of Canada. Chocolate bars are certified by Rabbi Abraham Hochwald, Chief Rabbi of the Northern Rhine-Germany, and most are listed in the Rabbinical Assembly (Conservative Movement)’s Passover Guide as kosher for Passover if purchased before the holiday begins.