Yom Kippur is perhaps the best known Jewish holiday. It’s the biggie – the holiday of repentance when Jewish people across the country head to synagogue, even if it isn’t part of their regular practice. And, of course, it is a fast day. Unlike most other Jewish holidays, which are centered around what to eat, Yom Kippur is centered around not eating.
This ritual fasting is meant to help people focus less on the material world and more on spiritual matters – to purify the body in a way that makes it fit for the work at hand. But it also brings to mind the millions of people around the country and world who fast every day, and not by choice. This Yom Kippur, which falls during Hunger Action Month, take a little time during the holiday to think about food justice on a deeper level. Here are some great resources to get you started:
Isaiah and the Food Stamp Challenge This article, by Rabbi Edward Bernstein draws connections between the words of the Prophet Isaiah on fasting with the contemporary Food Stamp Challenge that many people are taking. It’s a compelling read!
Sacred Table: Creating a Jewish Food Ethic Put out by the Reform Movement, this anthology talks about the connections between faith, food, and justice. There are many fascinating essays specifically related to food justice, but we suggest reading the whole thing.
Jewish Perspectives on Food Justice URJ has made available an interesting webinar all about ethical eating and how it relates to Jewish tradition. Download the full recorded session and the Power Point presentation that went along with it.
#TomatoRabbis T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights is well known for its activism around securing fair wages for tomato workers. Find out more about their great work, and download this handout of sermon topics.