For the next four weeks Repair the World is devoting our blog to Turn the Tables – our campaign focused on gentrification, and the ways economic, demographic and social changes affect residents of our neighborhoods.
Ensuring that our communities are inclusive for everyone as they transform requires more than sustained policy work and institutional change. Each of us contributes to how our communities feel and operate. We can all work on becoming better neighbors. Join us in weekly challenges leading up to May 6, Lag B’omer, a holiday that’s celebrated 33 days after the first day of Passover. These weekly activities will challenge you to Take Action toward becoming better neighbors in small, but meaningful ways.
Better Neighbor Challenge # 1: Meet Your Neighbors
Our neighbors are the people who live closest to us – our community in its most basic definition. And yet whether we live in an apartment building or house, we often do not know our neighbors well at all. This might be because we value privacy. It might be because we don’t want to bother others. Whatever it is, this disconnect can contribute to a sense of isolation – even in a crowded city. And in the case of changing neighborhoods, it can serve as a block to making meaningful relationships, or organizing to make change.
This week, we’re challenging you to take the time to meet your neighbors in one of the following ways:
-Walk a different street home from work, or visit a grocery store, cafe, or laundromat in a nearby neighborhood.
-Spend a week walking without your headphones (it’s possible, we promise!).
-Say a simple hello to someone you pass every day, but never speak to.
-If the opportunity arises, ask the story of someone who has been in the neighborhood a long time (Try walking the same street you always do, but walk slowly and pay close attention to who’s there, who’s in the shops and stores and what businesses are there.)
None of these actions alone will change the world overnight. But they are profound first steps that can begin to create spaces and relationships.
Ready to take on our Turn the Tables challenge? Send a Tweet with a photo or tag a photo or status on Facebook with @repairtheworld #TurnTheTables demonstrating what you are doing for Week 1 of The Better Neighbor Challenge (& be entered to receive SWAG as a thank you for participating!)
This Passover season, the folks over at The Workmen’s Circle are honoring the holiday by fighting to end a modern day plague: working poverty.
The United States is home to 10 million people who fall into the category of working poor – folks who have jobs but who’s wages are so low, they cannot afford their basic needs. These families and individuals often have to choose between paying rent or going to the doctor, or buying groceries or paying their electric bill. No hard working person should have to make those choices.
Historically, The Workmen’s Circle has been at the forefront of the Jewish labor movement and a champion of workers’ rights. Now, they are fighting back against poverty by joining the Fight for $15 – a nationwide movement aimed at raising the minimum wage to at least $15.
On Wednesday, April 15, join them in a National Day of Action to help raise awareness about the struggles low wage workers face every day. They will meet at Columbus Circle in New York City and march together to Times Square. To find out more, check back to their Facebook page for more details.
On Passover, we ask “How is this night different than all other nights.” Now, food entrepreneur Michael Hebb, wants to ask the question again, with a twist. The founder of the wildly successful initiative, deathoverdinner.org is at it again, working with a team of others to create Seder2015 – a re-imagined, digitally driven take on the Passover seder.
Featuring recipes from some of the country’s best chefs, songs from amazing musicians, inspiring and hilarious texts, and a partnership with Repair the World (woot!), Seder2015 is breathing new life into tradition. We spoke with Hebb about Seder2015 and how you can get involved.
What was the inspiration behind Seder2015?
The seder is a thing of beauty – a dinner bell that has been drawing people to the table for over two millennia, and educating and uniting Jews and non-Jews while carrying the critical narrative of liberation. There is a team of us – faculty members at the University of Washington, website engineers, graphic designers, artists and historians -who got together 3 years ago to create deathoverdinner.org, a project designed to change the national conversation about how we face end of life. It has been widely successful, inspiring tens of thousands of citizens to break bread and do the most un-american of things: talk about death. Deathoverdinner.org is entirely inspired by the tradition of Passover, one part shared meal, one part essential conversation.
When we realized that Passover attendance was dwindling rapidly – 20-30% less attendance in 20 years – it was immediately clear that we needed to apply what we had learned from Deathoverdinner.org and apply the same process of inquiry and digital design to the Passover holiday. If today’s younger generations aren’t given an immediate reason to engage at the Seder table, these numbers will continue to dwindle, drastically. We don’t expect that digital devices are going away, so our goal has been to begin to bridge the 2000 year old tradition of Passover with the methods people use today to tell stories.
Seder2015 is a rapidly built prototype, meant to illustrate what a beautiful digital ecosystem of Passover resources and inspiration could look like. We have had the good fortune to partner with extraordinary organizations like Haggadot.com and Repair The World, who have already built stellar digital equity. For us this work has just begun, and it has been a steep climb, but the response to the project has been overwhelmingly positive. It is our hope to 10x the amount of content in the coming year, allowing us to reach a diverse audience and do a small part in carrying the narrative of freedom into the future.
Can you share a few highlights about the project?
For our first year we wanted to create an approachable field of inspiration. We have recipes from celebrity chefs Spike Mendelsohn, Vitaly Paley and dozens of others. We’re also excited about our Passover anecdotes, ranging from wry tales to profound insights from Jewish leaders like Susannah Heschel and Rabbi Bradley Smolsen, as well as stories from Indie musician Austin Bisnow and MTV star Ben Nemtim. Next week we launch our playlist selection, which will bring an audiophile perspective to the holiday. Our Human Trafficking Haggadah Companion is a work in progress, but it shows what is possible when a brilliant young Rabbi like Andy Shugerman teams up with the leaders from The Polaris Project.
How are you partnering with Repair the World?
Repair The World understands how important it is to create powerful digital campaigns. It made perfect sense for Seder2015.org to build the Turn The Tables initiative directly into our web and mobile site. We are deeply impressed with the campaign, and look forward to collaborating with WTW in the future.
How can people get involved?
We want people to explore and enjoy the site. Of course we would love feedback, and we are looking for 10,000 great ideas for Seder2016.org.
You know that thing where you wish something existed, and then you find out that it does? That’s how I felt upon discovering the New York Times’ treasure trove of stories, stats, and resources about women for Women’s History Month.
The page links to videos (like this one about the inimitable Malala Yousafzai), and historical articles dating back to 1915 (yep, 100 years ago!) featuring NY Times coverage of stories like women getting the right to vote (1919), Amelia Earhart’s historic flight (1928) and the naming of Sandra Day O’Connor as the first female Supreme Court Justice (1981). It also links to current articles, crossword puzzles, and lesson plans for teachers who want to use the material in their classrooms.
So basically, they harnessed the entirety of the New York Times’ archival and educational power and used it to lift up women’s stories and influence. Yeah. That’s pretty much just as cool as it sounds.
We are halfway through Women’s History Month, which gives you plenty of time to use and share this incredible resource. Let us know what you discover by tweeting us at @repairtheworld #womenshistorymonth.
Turn the Tables, a campaign of Repair the World, believes in raising complex issues that challenge our vision of a just society. For this campaign, we’re focused on gentrification – the ways that economic, demographic and social changes affect residents of our neighborhoods. Through structured dialogue and meaningful action, we believe that we can come together to build more resilient and inclusive communities.
Meanwhile, Passover is a uniquely opportune time for us to ask ourselves tough questions and offer multiple, even contradictory, perspectives. The seder, the traditional Passover ritual meal, begins with the youngest child asking four questions about how this night is different from all other nights. This charge extends beyond the ritual to actually ask each of us to reflect on our lives and to be awakened to what’s unfolding in our communities — how is this year different from all other years? How are these changes impacting our neighbors?
This Passover, we invite you to get involved in asking these vital questions and think critically about our communal and individual journeys. Here’s how:
Host a Dinner
Passover has always been a time for asking questions, old and new. And the dinner table, surrounded by family and friends, is the ideal place to ask them. This year, sign up with Turn the Tables to invite your nearest and dearest to join you for a meal and a conversation about what it means to live in a changing community. (Once you sign up, we’ll provide you with lots of great materials to get the conversation flowing!) If you’re already hosting a seder, great! If not, pick another night and bring the spirit of question-asking into the rest of the month.
Help ensure that our communities are inclusive for everyone as they transform. Turn the Tables will be initiating weekly challenges to help you build community in the streets of your neighborhood. Help us ignite the embers of commitment in our communities to continue sustained work of being better neighbors. Sign up to get more information on how to get involved.
You can also take our survey, which aims to get at the roots and nuances of gentrification.
When it comes to food in America, two things are clear: we love it and we love to waste it. Each year, American families waste an average of 25% of the food that they buy. That includes the carrot tops, bread ends, and other scraps not used while cooking, and the leftovers that go bad in the fridge before they get eaten. And this number does not even account for the tens of thousands of pounds of food thrown away each year by restaurants and other food service companies.
Now, two very different entities – a chef and a city government – are trying to change that. In Seattle, a new composting law slaps households that do not adequately compost their leftover food with a fine and red tag on their garbage cans. Meanwhile, in New York City, the innovative chef, Dan Barber, (of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns), is working on a high profile, temporary pop up restaurant where every dish will be made from leftovers – stems, peels, bones, and the like. The clever name for the pop up? WastED.
The New York Times reported about both of these compelling stories. Check out the excerpts below and read the whole articles at their website.
Starve a Landfill
By: Kim Severson
“SEATTLE — The nation’s first citywide composting program based largely on shame began here in January. City sanitation workers who find garbage cans filled with aging lettuce, leftover pizza or even the box it came in are slapping on bright red tags to inform the offending household (and, presumably, the whole neighborhood) that the city’s new composting law has been violated.
San Francisco may have been the first city to make its citizens compost food, but Seattle is the first to punish people with a fine if they don’t. In a country that loses about 31 percent of its food to waste, policies like Seattle’s are driven by environmental, social and economic pressure.
But mandated composting reflects a deeper shift in the mood of the nation’s cooks, one in which wasting food is unfashionable. Running an efficient kitchen — where bruised fruit is blended into smoothies, carrot tops are pulsed into pesto, and a juicy pork shoulder can move seamlessly from Sunday supper to Monday’s carnitas to a rich pot of broth for the freezer — is becoming as satisfying as the food itself.” Read more.
Chef Lineup Announced for Dan Barber’s Food Waste Pop-Up, Wasted
By: Florence Fabricant
“A high-profile experiment in wasting nothing will start on March 13 at Dan Barber’s Blue Hill restaurant in Greenwich Village. That’s when the restaurant will turn into a pop-up called wastED, to run through the end of the month, with a menu of dishes devised from leftovers like stems, peelings, rinds and bones, by a roster of guest chefs who will change each evening.” Read more.