Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center says:
Even in the dark, there is usually some prophetic voice warning of oncoming damage. In this case, prophetic calls to apply “eco-kosher” and “ethical kosher” standards not only to food but also to such consumables as coal, oil, plastics went back to the work of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi in the mid-’70s and my own book Down-to-Earth Judaism: Food, Money, Sex and the Rest of Life in the mid-’90s. Calls for Jewish support for unionization and workers’ rights went back to 1911 and the 1930s, and the continuing work of the Jewish Labor Committee. Calls for a compassionate Jewish approach to immigration law went back to the work of HIAS, the Jewish Funds for Justice, the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (in Chicago) in two different Jewish coalitions on immigration policy (one moderately liberal, one more progressive) in the mid-’00s.
All these warnings called out the necessity of action; few of the Jewish public got the point.
And then came Postville – not just one lightning flash but a thunderstorm, flash after flash lighting up broader and broader aspects of oppression.