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Archive for : Hunger & Food Access

Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future Engages Students in Service

Yeshiva University may be best known as a college that combines Torah learning with serious secular studies, and a premiere institution for training orthodox rabbis. But in recent years, YU has also become a hotbed of service and volunteerism.

Founded in 2005, YU’s Center for the Jewish Future “draws on Yeshiva University’s rich intellectual resources to renew and refresh, strengthen and support…” Jewish communities through learning and service work. The Center is responsible for creating many innovative programs, including direct service trips like their upcoming mission to New Orleans (May 25th-June 1) where students engage in volunteerism and disaster recovery, meet with Jewish communal leaders, and discuss tzedakah and sustainable aid.
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NYC Hillels Join Together for Social Action Sunday

Last Sunday, more than 80 students from seven New York City Hillels joined together in a day of service and study in the Big Apple.

Social Action Sunday offered a wide array of service projects throughout the five boroughs in the morning (partnering with local Jewish and non-Jewish organizations), then drew the students together for an afternoon program at Columbia/Barnard Hillel, which included a speaker and a service fair where they met with organizations that offer further opportunities for social action and service.
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Weekly Torah: Parshat Shmini 5770

This post is part of a weekly series of Torah commentaries presented by the American Jewish World Service. It was contributed by Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster.

In a world of endless choice, why should we place limits on what we can have? One Jewish response is found in Parshat Shmini, which contains the core of Jewish limits on food consumption with a series of laws concerning permitted and prohibited creatures. ((Leviticus 11: 1-43.)) It is from these laws that Jews have come to exclude pigs, camels and rabbits from our diets, along with shellfish, lizards, most insects, and birds like eagles, ostriches and ravens. While the Torah further refines some of these categories (for example, animals must chew their cud and have split hooves), there are no overarching, theoretical criteria for the limits on the Israelite diet, except to suggest that most tasty things that are not plants are forbidden from our plates.

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Photo Journal: In the Fields with Jewish Farm School and Hillel

As promised, here is a photo diary of the Jewish Farm School/Hillel’s organic farming alternative spring breaks.

These pictures, which were taken by NYU student Amalyah Oren, highlight her group’s 6-day food and farming adventure at Tierra Miguel, an 85-acre, non-profit educational farm and foundation in Pauma Valley, California. Like all of the trips co-organized by the Jewish Farm School and Hillel, the group at Tierra Miguel volunteered in the fields, learning valuable skills in sustainable agriculture, and also engaged in text studies and discussion about everything from Jewish agricultural laws, to medicinal herbs, to global food security.

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On Tap: Alternative Breaks with The Jewish Farm School

Calling all Jewish farmers, farmers-to-be, and food enthusiasts: The Jewish Farm School, in partnership with Hillel, is offering two sustainable agriculture-based alternative break programs this summer:

May 23-30: Urban Agriculture and Food Justice break in Philadelphia
June 15-22: Sustainable Agriculture break at Oz Farm in Northern, California

Since 2006, The Jewish Farm School has, “fostered opportunities for Jews to reconnect with the process of working the land and growing food…[while staying] rooted in justice and Jewish traditions.” They teach and speak about agriculture in communities across the country, run multi-day, land-based workshops on organic gardening, Jewish sustainability, permaculture, and food access, and organize alternative break programs that leave participants ecologically and Jewishly empowered and inspired.

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Tuesday Link Roundup

In the week leading up to Passover, here are a few inspiring bits and stories from around the blogosphere…

  • SF Chronicle Vegetable gardens sprout around San Francisco – from the library to the police department, thanks to support and legislation from Mayor Gavin Newsome, and the work of many of the city residents and organizations who are determined to create a greener and healthier city.
  • Yes Magazine Rabbi Ted Falcon makes the connection between Passover and living a more conscious, aware, and free lives.
  • New York Times Sunday’s inspiring immigration rally on Washington draws tens of thousands of supporters and activists.
  • Huffington Post First Lady Michelle Obama makes a cartoon appearance on the Simpsons, standing up for high achieving students. “I got A’s back when A’s were hard to get,” she said. She also plugs organic gardening.
  • Jerusalem Post Hillel and City Year get a major shout out in the Jerusalem Post for their alternative spring break programs, and inspiring college kids to make a difference.
  • JTA Hear Sara Hurwitz talk in her own words about the growing role of women as spiritual leaders in the Orthodox movement. (See the video at the bottom of the post.)

This Week: AJWS’ Global Hunger Shabbat

Regular Shabbat observers and novices alike are invited to join the first annual Global Hunger Shabbat this week on March 19-20. Spearheaded by the international organization, American Jewish World Service (AJWS) as part of their Fighting Hunger from the Ground Up campaign, it offers an opportunity for local communities (AJWS estimates participation from 5,000 people) to raise awareness and solidarity around issues of unjust food access, poverty, and hunger across the world.

Participation can include anything from hosting a Shabbat dinner or lunch conversation around the issue of food access, giving a speech or sermon at your synagogue, JCC or in your house, bringing the topic into the classroom, or organizing a day of action in the fight against hunger.

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