The Legal Responsibility of Jewish Hotel Patrons


Over the past few years, I had been trying to pass a teshuvah (Jewish legal opinion) in the Conservative Movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards arguing that Jewish law insists we must not patronize businesses that abuse their workers. The paper specifically focused on hotels, but it is designed to be applicable to other types of businesses.

Hit the jump below to read the paper.

Linked below is the final revised draft, which was voted down by the CJLS last week. For what it’s worth, my original version was much more stringent and, I believe, more in line with what Jewish law actually requires, but over the past 3 years, I softened my position a bit, responding to constructive and sensitive criticism of some CJLS members. I stand behind the conclusions in this draft, though I still think the Jewish legal tradition is actually much more demanding of Jewish consumers.

The bottom line: Jewish law requires us to be socially responsible consumers, and Conservative Judaism uniquely invites us to utilize traditional religious legal concepts to address the serious moral issues of today.

Hit the jump below and decide for yourself. I’m also happy to share previous drafts of the teshuvah. If you’re interested, email me at

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2 Responses to The Legal Responsibility of Jewish Hotel Patrons

  1. JoshKrulwich (זיו אדיר) says:

    I think that this is an interesting and important issues. Aside from halachic resposabilities, I think that setting a takkanah or even a responsa addressing buisness practices/ethics is important. It believe it would give support and legitimacy to the Conservative/Masorti rabbinate.

  2. JoshKrulwich (זיו אדיר) says:

    Reblogged this on Jewish Tradition for Today and commented:
    I have not seem many recent rabbinic rulings focused on the Jewish responsibility towards businesses. I think that most of this has to do with my need to put most of my time in school. I think that Rabbi Knopf has crafted a strong halachic argument. I am not certain about the practicality of establishing a system for ethical responsibility for hotels. I think that it may be worth for Jewish groups to work with other communities of faith to set a standard and seek to have hotel chains sign into it.

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