The Schmooze

Does Place Matter?

Last week, Rabbi Jill Jacobs wrote about Sukkot and social justice. Her most recent book, “Where Justice Dwells: A Hands-On Guide to Doing Social Justice in Your Jewish Community” is now available. Her posts are being featured this week on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:


I started “Where Justice Dwells: A Hands-On Guide to Doing Social Justice in Your Jewish Community” with a question: Does place matter?

In today’s globalized world, it’s easy to say that place doesn’t matter at all. With a few clicks of a mouse, I can Skype with friends and relatives all over the world. If I choose tomorrow to move to Fiji, I can do so. If I wanted, I could hire a secretary in India, outsource data entry to Cambodia, and telecommute from a cruise ship on the Atlantic. We no longer live in a world in which we grow up, go to school, work, and die in the same city or even often the same country.

And yet, I had a deep conviction that place does matter. Personally, I have prioritized doing justice work in the place where I live (New York City/the United States) and in Israel, where I have deep roots and much experience. At the same time, I cannot ignore the dire poverty in parts of the world far from where I live, and where I may never visit.

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Does Place Matter?

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