New Resolution Calls for Minimum of 12 Weeks Paid Parental Leave as Crucial Step Toward Gender Equality
New York, NY – The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) passed a resolution last week affirming the importance of caregiving and urging all Reform Jewish institutions to guarantee a minimum of 12 weeks paid parental leave for every employee, regardless of gender identity or presentation, sexual orientation, race, religious affiliation, or length of tenure.
The resolution reads in part: “Just as all clergy and professional staff of synagogues and Jewish institutions spend their days caring for and supporting the Jewish community, it is the responsibility of Jewish institutions and communities to also support all staff members in their times of joy and in their times of sorrow. ‘Staff’ extends to anyone who works in our institutions, in any capacity. Parental leave is a Jewish value and is one that must be acted upon with care whether after the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child, for parents of any and all genders, including male, nonbinary, trans, and all other folks.”
The resolution, drafted in collaboration with the Women’s Rabbinic Network, notes that women have often disproportionately carried caregiving responsibilities within families and argues that offering parental leave to all employees would be a key step toward advancing gender equity.
“Over the past year, the pandemic has laid bare the challenges faced by women and primary caregivers, from job insecurity to declining mental and physical health. There is a clear need for immediate and systemic change to advance gender equity in the workplace, including instituting a minimum of 12 weeks paid parental leave. This resolution is one step toward bringing about that change,” said Rabbi Hara Person, Chief Executive of CCAR. “In partnership with the Women’s Rabbinic Network, and in gratitude for their leadership on this issue, we will continue to advocate for employment policies and working conditions within Reform Jewish institutions that promote gender equality, in accordance with our values as a Jewish community.”
With its recognition that parental leave is a Jewish value, CCAR reaffirms its commitment to confronting and eliminating gender bias and supporting working parents and families of all kinds. This resolution, alongside the ongoing work of CCAR’s Task Force on the Experience of Women in the Rabbinate, furthers CCAR’s aim to lead a culture change within the Reform Movement and enhance the professional and personal lives of Reform rabbis, particularly women rabbis.
About the Central Conference of American Rabbis
The Central Conference of American Rabbis is the Reform Rabbinic leadership organization. The CCAR strengthens the Jewish community by providing religious, spiritual, ethical and intellectual leadership and wisdom. CCAR and its members lead the Reform Movement on important spiritual, social, cultural and human rights issues, as it has done since 1889. CCAR also is the center for lifelong rabbinic learning, professional development, and resources for the 2,100 rabbis who serve more than 1.5 million Reform Jews throughout North America, Israel and the world. Since its founding, the CCAR has also served as the primary publisher of the Reform Movement through CCAR Press and its imprint Reform Judaism Publishing.