[It is worth noting]… the Talmudic ruling that one of the duties of a parent is to teach your child a craft or trade through which he can earn a living. More pointed still was Maimonides’ famous statement that “The highest degree of charity, exceeded by none, is that of one who assists a poor person by providing him with a gift or a loan or by accepting him into a business partnership or by helping him to find employment ”“ in a word, by putting him where he can dispense with other people’s aid.” The supreme act of welfare is to help people into work so that they no longer need the help of others.
Judaism recognises that unemployment has a psychological as well as economic dimension. Jewish law represents the sustained attempt to create a society that honours human dignity, and an essential part of this is that everyone should have the opportunity to contribute to the common good through their own endeavour. As Psalm 128 says, “When you eat from the labour of your hands, you will be happy and it will be well for you.”
As a matter of religious principle, job creation must be at the centre of any long-term welfare policy. Human dignity requires no less.