October 26, 2016

Rafael Espinal
Chair, Consumer Affairs Committee
New York City Council
City Hall
New York, NY 10007
Re: Support for Intro. 1303-2016
Dear Council Member Espinal,
I am the Executive Director of T'ruah The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, a non-profit
organization that brings together rabbis and cantors from all streams of Judaism, together
with all members of the Jewish community, to act on the Jewish imperative to respect and
advance the human rights of all people.
I am proud to support Intro 1303, which will expand opportunities for street vendors and
allow them a better chance at the American dream.
Today's street vendors are the direct descendants of the pushcart sellers, once a fixture of
New York life. As a Jew whose family came to America from Eastern Europe some 100
years ago, I know how these small business ventures propelled immigrants into the middle
class. Today, we need policies that give vendors the same chance to follow this path. That
is why I am supporting vendors' right to work legally, under their own permits, without
fearing daily arrest and confiscation of their equipment.
Jewish law also protects the rights of low-wage workers, establishing protections against
taking unfair advantage of those most vulnerable to exploitation.
Of course, vendors must comply with the many regulations that exist to ensure public
health and safety. And, vendors must be given the fundamental right to operate their
business in public space. For this reason, I support Intro. 1303, which will increase the
number of existing food vending permits, thereby expanding opportunity for vendors and
helping secure for them a better livelihood.
On a personal level, my family and I have been active for years in the movement for the
rights of street vendors in New York City. We have gotten to know vendors and to
understand the struggles they face. We have taken these struggles on as our own because
we believe vendors deserve to be treated with justice, fairness and respect.
I hope you will join me in supporting Intro. 1303 and other policy changes that support
street vendors in their campaign for workers’ rights and human rights in New York City.
Sincerely,

Rabbi Jill Jacobs