Repair Inspiration: Masbia Soup Kitchen

Since 2005, Masbia – a soup kitchen in Brooklyn – has been providing hot, nutritious, kosher meals for Jewish families in need and the broader community. In the last year alone, they provided more than 800,000 meals, engaging hundreds of regular and one-time volunteers along the way.

Recently, Masbia got some much deserved love from NationSwell. They write: “Dignified surroundings, and healthy, comforting meals, raise Masbia above the standard, a welcome reminder that seeking help with food doesn’t have to be a gloomy affair.”

Check out their video, and meet their awesome chef, below, then read the whole article over at Nation Swell.

Want to help? Sign up for a volunteer shift or make a donation to support Masbia’s work.

Repair Interview: Naomi Friedman Rabkin on Food Justice at the Leichtag Foundation

Here at Repair the World we’re celebrating National Volunteer Month and the change makers and thought leaders who make the world a better place. Recently we caught up with Naomi Friedman Rabkin, who is the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Leichtag Foundation in Southern California. (That’s her in the photo hanging out with Jewish Food Justice Fellowship Director, Rabbi Andy Kastner.)

She launched Leichtag’s wonderful new Jewish Food Justice Fellowship, is helping to create a vibrant working ranch (complete with a farm, an edible forest, and a vineyard!) for the foundation, and is meanwhile building strong, socially-active Jewish community in her community. She also is a lifelong service learning-junkie, and proud of it! Learn more of her story here:

What inspired you to get into the service and social change field?
I was raised in a family where people’s professions focused on helping others – as educators, activists, and social workers. My grandmother was one of my biggest inspirations. She was a proud socialist and a teachers union organizer. Some of my earliest memories are of her taking me to Pete Seeger concerts and anti-nuclear marches. That really oriented me to believe that people’s work was very much tied to doing good in the world.

In college in Washington DC, I got involved with service learning. All of my coursework had some service component. For example, if I was taking a women studies class and learning about violence against women, I volunteered at a battered women’s shelter. It captivated me, and from then on I got hooked into that approach to learning and experiencing the world. I ended up going to Israel and participating in Project Otzma where we did very intense service work. That spring boarded me towards focusing on Jewish service learning right as that concept was first coming into its own. Now Jewish service learning is fairly common, but back then it was new and all of these amazing programs like Avodah and AjWS were just beginning.

How has the field of service learning changed in the Jewish world over the last decade?
I think the focus is shifting, or at least the terminology is changing. There hasn’t been a departure from teaching teens and young adults about doing good, but it has become more focused. Instead of service learning broadly defined, you’re seeing programs focus on specific things like immigration, the environment, or organizing against homelessness.

What drew you to join the Leichtag Foundation?
The path started while I was in Atlanta volunteering with Hazon. Since being a participant in Otzma, I hadn’t really thought about how Jewish communal life could enhance my life. But with Hazon I was helping to develop a CSA and organize people in the Jewish community around food issues. During that time I developed a loving and unified community in Atlanta, and I started to expand beyond the CSA to create larger scale environmental and food events.

When my family moved to San Diego I had the opportunity to meet with the executive vice president at Leichtag, Charlene Seidle, and found out that Leichtag was planning to purchase a piece of land to develop food and environmental programs. I hadn’t worked for a foundation before, but I was excited about their mission and they were excited about my background and experience in the Jewish food world. It’s really a dream come true to work at a foundation that has the vision of creating a vibrant community and a farm.

Tell me more about Leichtag’s Jewish Food Justice Fellowship?
We are in our first cohort now – they started last September and will stay with us for 15 months. We wanted to invest in people in their early to mid-20s who had already gotten their feet wet in the worlds of environmentalism and agriculture and help them grow while contributing to the community. They work for food justice-related organizations for 25 hours a week doing everything from leading the North County Food Policy Council to working in an afro-ecology center. Additionally, they consult with local Jewish schools, synagogues, and senior care facilities to help build gardens or do other agriculture-related programs. And they spend 10 hours a week at the ranch developing programs, working on our composting system, planning an edible forest, and helping conceive of and lead conversations around the farm planning process.

The Leichtag Foundations Jewish Food Justice Fellows with Mark Bittman

The Leichtag Foundations Jewish Food Justice Fellows with Mark Bittman

How can people get involved?
They should check out our website and the fellows also have their own website. And if people are in the area, they should absolutely come see the ranch. We do public tours a few times a month. There is so much going on there, and it is a fantastic place to visit.

Why Pittsburgh? Why Volunteering?

Volunteer Nick Cotter & Repair the World Fellow Dravidi Stinnett tell us about Pittsburgh, and hard work, in this Vlog for #NationalVolunteerMonth!

Pittsburgh

– Vlog coordinated by Mel Rivkin

Playworks: Lessons in Play

Great article about one of our partners in Philadelphia! We love working with Playworks, learn more about their work in this Philly.com article!

Playworks

Repair Inspiration: Malala’s Dad

By now you’ve likely heard of Malala Yousafzai, the courageous teenager who was shot by the Taliban in 2012 for the simple act of getting an education. But have you heard about her father, educator Ziauddin Yousafzai?

In today’s bit of Repair Inspiration, here is a video of Mr. Yousafazai giving a TED Talk about his amazing daughter. It begins: “In many patriarchal societies..fathers are usually known by their sons. But I’m one of the few fathers who is known by his daughter, and I’m proud of it.” Let the chills subside, then check out his words in the video below:

Hungry for more? Find more than 1,000 inspirational TED Talks on their website.

Share Your Favorite Social Justice Haggadah!

Passover is only a few days away, which means our minds are set on freedom. (And matzo balls, but I digress). As the holiday that tells the story of the Israelite’s exodus from slavery in ancient Egypt, talking about justice is a hugely important aspect the celebration.

Fittingly, there are a ton of haggadot (the text read during the seder) that highlight these themes and help us apply the notions of freedom and justice to modern day life. In past years, we’ve told you about some of our faves – like the Food and Justice Haggadah Supplement by the folks at Uri L’Tzedek and Jews United for Justice’s Labor Seder. But we know we’re missing some biggies.

That’s where you come in! Do you have a favorite haggadah, supplement, or Passover reading? One that means a lot to you and that illuminates themes of freedom, justice, or social change? If so, we want to hear about it!

This Passover, share you favorite social justice haggadah in the comments below or by tweeting us at @repairtheworld #HaggadahShare

Thanks and Happy Passover!