What’s special about Shabbat is the Sabbath day, the Day of Rest, and is observed from Friday night through Saturday night. Is set aside from the rest of the week both in honor of the fact that God rested on the seventh day after creating the world. On Shabbat, many Jews observe prohibitions from various activities designated as work. Shabbat is traditionally observed with festive meals, wine, challah, prayers, the reading and studying of Torah, conjugal relations, family time, and time with friends. May 9-10, 2014? It’s designated as Fair Trade Shabbat, an initiative launched by Fair Trade Judaica to educate and engage Jewish communities about the connection between Jewish values and fair trade principles.
It is designed to coincide with World Fair Trade Day, which is celebrated by tens of thousands of people around the world on the second Saturday in May. It is a worldwide festival of events celebrating Fair Trade, a trading partnership based on dialogue, transparency, and respect that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing rights for disadvantaged producers and workers—especially in the South.
As such it is a tangible contribution to the fight against poverty, climate change and the economic crisis that has the greatest impact on the world’s most vulnerable populations. A third of the world’s population lives on less than two dollars a day. The global crisis confirms the need for a fair and sustainable economy—both locally and globally. Trade must benefit the most vulnerable and deliver sustainable livelihoods by developing opportunities for small and disadvantaged producers.
Fair Trade differs from “Free Trade” in several ways:
• The goal of Fair Trade is to empower marginalized people and improve the quality of their lives while Free Trade increases nations’ economic growth
• The focus of Fair Trade is on commerce among individuals and businesses while Free Trade focuses on trade policies between countries
• The strategies of Fair Trade include offering producers favorable financing, long-term relationships, fair prices and higher labor and environmental standards while Free Trade offers lower country tariffs, quotas, labor and environmental standards
So, how can we celebrate and observe this day as Jews?
• Focus a d’var The Five Books of Moses, and the foundation of all of Jewish life and lore. The Torah is considered the heart and soul of the Jewish people, and study of the Torah is a high mitzvah. The Torah itself a scroll that is hand lettered on parchment, elaborately dressed and decorated, and stored in a decorative ark. It is chanted aloud on Mondays, Thursdays, and Shabbat, according to a yearly cycle. Sometimes "Torah" is used as a colloquial term for Jewish learning and narrative in general. on connections in Parshat Behar to fair trade, and connections between fair trade and shmita
• Add special prayers focusing on bringing more justice into the world
• Study Jewish texts that link fair trade principles with Jewish values
• Invite a local fair trade expert to speak at services, focusing on the positive impact of fair trade on artisans and farmers
• Serve Fit to use or consume under Jewish ritual law. "Kosher" often refers to the food which it is permissible to eat according to Jewish dietary law, but can also mean the suitableness of a Torah scross or mezuzah for proper ritual use. For more on dietary laws, see kashrut. fair trade coffee, tea and chocolate at Oneg and The prayer recited over wine on Shabbat, holidays, and other joyous occasions.
• Make desserts using fair trade ingredients
• Say a Lit. Intention Refers both to one’s intention when performing a mitzvah or when focusing for prayer. Kavanah also refers to specific readings to help focus one's attention prior to performing an act. for eating foods that are produced by ethical means
• After Lit. Separation A ceremony performed on Saturday night to mark the end of Shabbat and the beginning of the week, using wine, a braided candle, and sweet-smelling spices., gather as a community to watch a documentary on child labor in the cocoa fields, then have a fair trade chocolate tasting and take some action to do something about it!
• Organize a “fair trade gift exchange” where everyone brings a fair trade product and takes something different to bring home
Resources for all these activities can be found on Fair Trade Judaica’s website.
Ilana Schatz is the Founding Director of Fair Trade Judaica, buildng a fair trade movement in the Jewish community. She’s been involved in Jewish social justice work for over 30 years.