• Live
  • Open to the public

Poverty in the Jewish and Democratic State

IDI | 4 Pinsker Street | Jerusalem

On Wednesday, March 21, 2012, from 9:30 a.m.-6:15 p.m., IDI hosted a conference on poverty in the Jewish and democratic state as part of the activities of its Human Rights and Judaism project, which is directed by Prof. Yedidia Z. Stern, Prof. Hanoch Dagan, and Prof. Shahar Lifshitz. The conference explored the definition of poverty from a Jewish perspective, from a socio-economic perspective, and from a moral perspective. In addition, it explored the rights and obligations of the middle class, and the responsibility of the community, civil society, and state.

This conference was made possible by
the generous support of
The Ruderman Family Foundation

9:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m

Dr. Arye Carmon, IDI President

Opening Presentation
Dr. Meir Buzaglo
, Chairman, "Tikun" Movement; Head of the Department of Philosophy, Hebrew University of Jerusalem


  • Mr. Kobi Oz,  Musician and Artist - On the Injustice of Poverty
  • Attorney Gilad Harish, Director "Lasova" organization - The Real Poverty in Israel
  • Ms. Efrat Degani, Chair, Bema'aglei Tzedek - Neighbor, Community, and State: Responsibility to the Poor
  • Rafah Anabtawi, Coordinator of Community Work, Kayan-Feminist Organization - Poverty Among Arab Women

11:15 a.m.-12:45p.m.
Who are the Poor in the Jewish and Democratic State?

Chair: Prof. Yedidia Stern, IDI Vice President; Faculty of Law, Bar-Ilan University


  • Prof. Omer Moav, Department of Economics, Hebrew University - Ignorance and Ideology in Policy Making
  • Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, Rabbi of Har Bracha and Head of the Har Bracha Yeshiva - Charity, Employment, and Rights
  • Attorney Yuval Albashan,  Yedid-The Association for Community Empowerment, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem - The Poor and the Invisible
  • Rabbi David Stav, Rabbi of Shoham and Chairman of the Tzohar rabbinical organization - The Poverty Line in Jewish Law

12:45 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

1:30 p.m.-1:45 p.m.
Happiness and Wealth in the Tales of Rabbi Nachman
Rabbi Dov Zinger, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Makor Chaim;
Head of Beit Midrash Lehitchadshut

1:45 p.m.-3:15 p.m.
The Rights and Obligations of the Middle Class
Chair: Prof. Hanoch Dagan, IDI Senior Fellow; Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University


  • Rabbi Dr. Benjamin (Benny) Lau, Director of Beit Morasha of Jerusalem's Center for Judaism and Society and Rabbi of the Ramban Synagogue - "Neither Poor nor Impoverished": The Ordinary Citizen - The Rights of the Middle Class in a Just Society
  • Dr. Hila Shamir, Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University - The Middle Class and the Welfare State
  • Dr. Karnit Flug, Deputy Governor, Bank of Israel - Who are the Middle Class?
    Read the summary on the Bank of Israel website.
  • Rabbi Haim Navon, Rabbi of the Shimshoni community in Modi'in;  Migdal Oz Seminary - Does Jewish Law Demand Justice from Society?

3:15 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

3:30 p.m.-3:45 p.m.
Poems for an Empty Refrigerator
Mr. Roni Somek, poet and teacher

3:45 p.m.-5:15 p.m.
The Welfare State and Community Responsibility
Chair: Prof. Shahar Lifshitz, IDI Senior Fellow; Faculty of Law, Bar-Ilan University
Read the article "Individual and Communal Responsibility for the Poor in the Jewish and Democratic State" by Prof. Shahar Lifshitz


  • Rabbi Shay Piron, Researcher, IDI;  Executive Director, Hakol Hinuch; Head of the Petach Tikva Hesder Yeshiva and its affiliated High School - The Disengagement: On the Transfer of Responsibility from Charity Organizations to the State
  • Rabbi Dr. Joseph Isaac Lifshitz, Senior Fellow in the Department of Philosophy, Political Theory, and Religion, The Shalem Center - Can the Modern State Replace the Community?
  • Dr. Momi Dahan, IDI Senior Fellow; Head of the School of Public Policy, Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Why are there More Poor People in Israel?
  • Ms. Tammy Molad-Chaiu, Journalist and Social Activist - The State is the Community

5:15 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

5:30 p.m.-6:15 p.m.

  • Justice  (Emerita) Dalia Dorner, Israel Supreme Court - Social Rights and Human Dignity in the Jewish and Democratic State
  • Prof. Shahar Lifshitz, IDI Senior Fellow - Closing Remarks