Archive for : Mazon

Hunger on the High Holidays, and How You Can Help

It’s hard to imagine Rosh Hashanah without sweet apples and honey, or a Yom Kippur break fast without savory bagels and lox. But for too many families, these foods won’t make it to the table.

Today, more than 50 million Americans and almost 25% of all Israelis experience hunger, or live right on the edge of being unable to feed themselves or their families. Dealing with hunger is a year-round struggle, but can feel especially painful on holidays like Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur, which highlight what can feel like a luxurious time for reflection and bringing people together around a festive meal or a break fast. We sometimes take for granted the ability to fast on Yom Kippur.

The high holidays give us time for introspection and tshuvah (repentance) as we aim to enter the new year with open hearts and strong relationships. They also offer the opportunity for us to think about ways we could be doing more to help our communities grow stronger and healthier.

In the spirit of tikkun olam and of new starts, here are some ways to help stamp out hunger this high holiday season, and to bring some sweetness to others’ new year’s celebrations:

  • Masbia: This New York-based kosher soup kitchen network helps to feed hungry people and families all year round, including on the high holidays. Find out how you can volunteer here, or donate money, food or equipment here. Masbia is also selling Rosh Hashanah cards, the proceeds of which will go to support their work.
  • Mazon: This Jewish hunger organization created a bunch of resources to incorporate the notions of hunger and food security into your high holiday celebrations. Make a donation to support their ongoing work to combat hunger here.
  • Jewish Family & Children Services: Lots of JFCS chapters around the country have high holiday-related programming and year-round food banks you can volunteer with.
  • No Kid Hungry: This national organization fights childhood hunger through advocacy and education. Take their No Kid Hungry Pledge, and get involved here.
  • Feeding America: This national network of food banks helps distribute over 3 billion pounds of food to hungry individuals and families each year. Find out how you can volunteer (sorting, boxing and repackaging donated food) here.
  • Revolution Hunger: Help this national campaign harness teen power to fight hunger and malnutrition around the world. Get involved with the Revolution Hunger Youth Team here.

Find out more about Masbia’s work during last year’s Rosh Hashanah in the video below:

 

Do you know of other organizations that are standing up to hunger this high holiday season? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting @repairtheworld.

Serving on Tisha B’Av by Helping To Feed Hungry People

Today is Tisha B’Av, one of the most solemn days on the Jewish calendar. It marks several tragedies that befell the Jewish people over the course of history – in particular the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Israel, as well as many other disasters.

On the night of Tisha B’Av, Jews read the book of Eicha / Lamentations – a mournful text rich with imagery of despair, loss and great regret. Images and statements of intense hunger are common throughout the text, like this one from chapter 4:

Those that are killed with the sword are better than those that are killed with hunger; for they pine away, stricken through, for want of the fruits of the field.

In commemoration of Tisha B’Av, many Jews fast from sunset to nightfall the following day. Fasting is a way to tap into both physical and spiritual hunger, as well as a sense of feeling out of control of one’s life and future.

Unfortunately, as we know, there are many people who feel the pain of physical hunger every day – holiday or not. So in honor of the holiday, here are some great organizations to support that are working to combat hunger nationally and globally. Learn more about and consider a donation to:

  • Mazon – a Jewish organization working to fight hunger worldwide.
  • Action Against Hunger – which provides innovative solutions to global hunger.
  • Feeding America – working to feed America’s 37 million hungry citizens.
  • Hazon Yeshaya – a humanitarian organization that provides food and services to hungry people in Israel.