Rabbis attack poverty

More than 40 rabbis across four different denominations have said they are "deeply disturbed" by the country's failure to tackle child poverty.

In a letter to the Guardian, 44 Jewish leaders noted the findings of the government's Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, which stated that the goals laid out in its 2005 Make Poverty History campaign were "simply unattainable". The report said 3.5 million children are likely to be living in absolute poverty in the UK by 2020 - five times the target set in 2005.

Among the figures who signed the letter were Rabbi Danny Rich, chief executive for Liberal Judaism, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, senior rabbi to Reform Judaism, Orthodox rabbi Natan Levy, social action consultant to the Board of Deputies, and Masorti rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg.

Led by Rabbi Alexandra Wright of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, the rabbis wrote: "The gap between rich and poor is a shameful blot on our society. All of us, from the government down, must have a commitment to… bring an end to economic injustice."

One signatory, student rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen, who co-founded the cross-communal social action group Tzelem, told the JC: "We as rabbis are in a position to help effect change. We hold a unique role within the Jewish community and, as such, have a responsibility in talking about these issues."

    Last updated: 4:23pm, June 19 2014