Repair the World Miami Representatives Discuss 2018 Goals and Resolutions

This post originally appeared in The Florida Sun-Sentinel and Jewish Journal on January 3, 2018.

By Sergio Carmona

The national organization Repair the World formed a partnership with the Greater Miami Jewish Federation last year. Through this partnership, Repair the World Miami launched in summer 2017.

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Q&A with Hal B. Klein of Pittsburgh Magazine

In this sit down interview with Pittsburgh Magazine’s (and Repair the World Pittsburgh Advisory Committee Member) Hal B. Klein, we dive in to his history with food, food justice, Repair the World, and his love for the city of Pittsburgh.

Name: Hal B. Klein
Resides in: Bloomfield, Pittsburgh.
Current Job: Restaurant Critic and Associate Editor, Pittsburgh Magazine
Age: 42

Repair: Tell us a bit about your background.
Hal: I was working as an actor in theater and film, and around 2008 I decided I wanted to try something new. I always had been interested in food, and I found this program at Chatham University in Pittsburgh offering a new Master’s Program in Food Studies. It sounded like a pretty cool multi-disciplinary program looking at food systems, so I decided to give it a shot.

And how did you get into writing about food?
Well I knew I wanted to do something communications related, so I took a food writing class in my program the summer between my first and second year. The professor told our class that the local alternative weekly magazine was looking for someone to write about alcohol. So I pitched the editor there and got the job. Later I became friends with the new restaurant critic for the Post-Gazette. One time she couldn’t do a story and gave it to me. That led to an ongoing freelance gig with them, and then I got my full time job with Pittsburgh Magazine where I am Restaurant Critic and Associate Editor.

How do you approach your work and how do your stories come together?
I’m usually working on one or two big features at a time. I really try to focus on people or issues so my stories are more than just lists about food. One story I did recently focused on international restaurants; I focused on the people running the restaurants so it really became a story about immigrants. I’m now working on a story about people who were incarcerated and are now working in restaurants, which presents both great opportunities but certainly some challenges too. I do about four print columns a month, which includes a restaurant review, and an online column. Another cool thing is that because I’m also an editor, I get to write my own headlines, which is very rare in the world of journalism.

How does your work fit in with the mission of Repair the World?
First I should say that I have not covered food justice issues as much I’d like to, and I really plan to cover it more in the next couple of years. Pittsburgh is fortunate to have organizations like Repair. Change happens when people talk to others from different backgrounds and with different challenges, and together they try to overcome them. I know Repair brings people together to start talking initially, and then to have that conversation lead to action. Going to dinner and hearing from a diverse assortment of people, really having a forum for challenging discussions, will lead to systemic change driven by younger generations. Nationally, food justice is a very serious issue and it manifests itself in ways a lot of us cannot even fathom. I’ve met people who don’t have refrigerators. Organizations and leaders are doing great work. But these are very tough issues—it’s hard to change systems; hard to equalize the playing field; and hard to engage people.

What are you specifically seeing in Pittsburgh with food justice?
Pittsburgh has a lot of people who want to provide food access to as many people as possible. Along with Repair locally, 412 Food rescue uses tech really well to get people food. They have a mobile platform for restaurants to post when they have extra food, and people get alerts so they can then pick up the food and deliver it. This idea of “Tech and human touch” is defining Pittsburgh. We also have a problem that other cities have: how do you pay workers in the kitchen more than $8.50/hour without raising the price at the restaurant of a meal? It’s not easy for customers to understand that cause and effect, but we have to convince people that this makes sense for the economics of society.

What’s Pittsburgh like as a city?
I moved here is 2010 and fell in love with the city. It’s really amazing to see the growth of the city in terms of people and also the number of restaurants here now. This city really is built on people and the enriching and exciting communities they create. Pittsburgh is big enough to have a lot going on, but small enough to have a real feeling of community. You might go somewhere and not know people, but soon enough you talk to people and quickly find a connection. One other defining quality of Pittsburgh is that I haven’t found there to be cutthroat competition like in other cities. There’s healthy competition to do well, but people really help each other too.

And what about the Pittsburgh food scene?
There’s a long history here of Eastern European food; it’s actually known locally as “hunky food,” a term that sometimes used to carry a negative connotation, but is used more often today as a term of endearment. Yet with so many restaurants opening now there’s a re-definition of Pittsburgh food. Some people are taking the Eastern European cuisine and refreshing it; others are trying things more along the lines of the national food scene. And with a newer wave of immigration from China, we’re seeing great regionally specific restaurants popping up serving diners who know how to navigate a regional menu.

And finally, I have to ask – what’s your favorite food?
That’s easy – delicious food.

7 places to volunteer in Philly this holiday season

This post originally appeared on Generocity on December 18, 2017.

By Jim Irby
With the joy of the “giving season” as an inspiration to care for those around us, many Philadelphians will reach out to organizations to volunteer. According to data from the American Time Use Survey, 9 percent of women and 7 percent of men participate in holiday season volunteering — that’s a 40 percent increase over the rest of the year.

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Friends Say ‘Feh’ to Fried Foods for Chanukah

This post originally appeared in The Jewish Exponent on December 18, 2017.

By Miriam Steinberg-Egeth

Dear Miriam,
I’m having a Chanukah party for the eighth night, but all my guests have indicated in one way or another that they’re sick of fried food. Do you have any alternative party ideas for a festive night with friends?

Signed,
Too many latkes

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Why Service Makes Me Tick

This article originally appeared in the Jewish Exponent on December 14, 2017.

By Becca Lerman

Like many little girls, I looked up to my father. I loved watching him wake up every morning excited for work and I always hoped I could find a job that made me tick in the same way my dad did each day.

With this in mind, only a couple of weeks into the beginning of college, I committed to leadership positions in both Hillel and Greek life at Penn State. To me, being Jewish meant attending Hillel events and Shabbat every week. This made me tick. Social justice was a separate part of my life that I found in Greek life through service, philanthropy and the Penn State Dance Marathon. This made me tick, too.

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Food industry can be an entry point for ex-cons seeking to build a new life

This article originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on December 1, 2017.

By Dan Gigler

Having spent most of his adult life trapped in a vicious cycle between jail and the hustle of the drug trade, Julius Drake got an expected wake-up call in the form of the kitchen spoon to the back of the head.

He was working in the kitchen at the Allegheny County Jail while incarcerated there, when a woman from his neighborhood, a jail employee who worked in food service, bopped him with a spoon and told him he should pay attention. By virtue of working in the kitchen he was developing a trade, and he didn’t even realize it.

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Bed-Stuy Urban Farm Fills Gap in Fresh Foods

This article originally appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on November 28, 2017,

By Andy Katz

What better way to express faith in nature’s ultimate benevolence than scheduling an outdoor fundraiser in late November? After weeks of unseasonably chill temps and enough rain to dampen the Pacific Northwest, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving presented almost 20 degrees warmer and hardly a cloud in the sky. It’s just what Dr. Melony Samuels, founder and CEO of Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger (BSCAH), needed for her annual Harvest Heroes fundraiser.

This year’s Heroes included Cindy Greenberg, executive director of Repair the World, a national organization that enables American Jews, in the spirit of Tikkun Olam, to volunteer in communities where their efforts can have the greatest impact. Repair the World NYC has been involved with BSCAH for the past four years. “What Melony was doing went right to the heart of Repair’s mission,” Greenberg said. “Supporting [BSCAH] was an easy choice.”

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Volunteers come together for Everything But the Turkey program

This article originally appeared in The Florida Sun-Sentinel and Jewish Journal on November 22, 2017.

By Sergio Carmona

Local volunteers came together at different locations throughout Miami-Dade County to prepare bread, sweet potato casserole, stuffing and other treats for less fortunate people in the community during the Jewish Volunteer Center of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation’s ninth annual pre-Thanksgiving “Everything But the Turkey” program.

Lori Tabachnikoff, director for the Jewish Volunteer Center, thought the turnout this year was “amazing.”

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Why I am Inspired to Act Now

This post originally appeared in e-Jewish Philanthropy on November 22, 2017.

By Raffaella Glasser

After over two months as a Repair the World Fellow it still feels like yesterday that I sat at Capital Camps at the Repair the World national orientation surrounded by my fellow fellows. We each were embarking on our year of service with Repair the World. I was in awe of the people I was meeting – each fellow coming from across the country with an incredible set of skills, amazing experiences and drive for the work they were about to begin. I couldn’t help but wonder how I would fit into Repair. Would my skills and experiences prepare me for the year to come?

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Millie’s Ice Cream to roll out soft-serve with a new truck

This post originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on November 8, 2017.

By Melissa McCart

Repair the World with pies

This Thanksgiving, Laura Bratkowski — who trained at the French Culinary Institute and previously worked for Momofuku Milk Bar in New York — is baking pies for Repair the World Pittsburgh, a nonprofit outreach, in tandem with bakers providing gluten- and dairy-free pies from Gluuteny in Squirrel Hill. The goal is to sell 300 pumpkin, pecan and apple pies in traditional or modified versions by Nov. 17. Pies range from around $10 to $12 and can be ordered here, with pickup on Nov. 22.

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