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Archive for : UJA Federation

Feeding Our Neighbors: An Interfaith Response

This post originally appeared on UJA Federation on January 20, 2015

By UJA Federation

A day dedicated to service and community-building was in full swing on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 19, as hundreds of volunteers turned out for the Feeding Our Neighbors: An Interfaith Response initiative held at six sites throughout New York City and Westchester.

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An Abundance of Sukkot Service and Celebration Opportunities

There’s a Jewish tradition that you are supposed to begin building your sukkah (the temporary outdoor dwellings Jews build for the harvest holiday of Sukkot) right after Yom Kippur ends. You are literally meant to hammer the first nail into the sukkah frame directly after breaking the fast as a way of making a physical connection between the sacredness of the high holidays and the rest of the year.

Whether or not you are personally building a sukkah this year, we’ve rounded up a bunch of ways for you to celebrate Sukkot with service. And since today is the day after Yom Kippur, it’s the perfect time to “hammer in that first nail” – metaphorically, anyway! Scan the list below to find a meaningful Sukkot opportunity near you.

  • NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation: Sukkot is all about shelter, and this year, we’ve teamed up with NEXT to show you how to fight homelessness and help those in need. NEXT is also offering up to $200 toward materials to build your own Sukkah! For those urban dwellers or not yet homeowners, host a holiday meal and NEXT will help fund your groceries or take out order.
  • Shoresh: On October 7, the Canadian Jewish environmental organization is hosting a Sukkot celebration complete with a festive meal, learning and service activities at Bela Farm.
  • Urban Adamah: Join Repair the World grantee-partner, Urban Adamah on October 7 for their Eat, Pray, Lulav Sukkot Harvest Festival. Activities include live music, worm composting workshops, farm tours, face painting, and lots of delicious fresh food.
  • Hazon: On October 7, Hazon’s Colorado community is hosting a sukkah “bike hop.” Pedal on two wheels to different sukkahs, eating, learning and traveling in carbon-neutral style the whole way.
  • Jewish Farm School: On October 8, join Repair the World grantee-partner Jewish Farm School for their Sukkot Harvest Celebration. Eat a delicious organic lunch and glean crops on a farm that will be donated to the less fortunate. This event is being held in partnership with Food Day 2012.
  • UJA-Federation New York: From Oct 15-26, join UJA’s second-annual Care to Share initiative. Symbolically fulfill the Jewish custom of gleaning by donating a portion of your fresh CSA produce, food from your garden, or fresh produce you purchased to a local food pantry.

Find out more about Sukkot’s connections to service here. Did we miss any amazing Sukkot service opportunities? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us at @repairtheworld.

Care to Share Gathers Over Two Thousand Pounds of Food

This article is excerpted from UJA-Federation News.

Try to picture 3.3 million grains of rice. If that’s too challenging, you could also visualize 200,000 grapes, 35,000 eggs, 4,000 pomegranates, 440 watermelons, or 220 pumpkins. Each of these quantities of food weighs a solid ton, which is the amount of fresh produce collected during UJA-Federation’s first annual Care to Share fresh food drive in conjunction with Met Council, Hazon, and AmeriCorps.

This year’s program far surpassed its initial goal of collecting 1,000 pounds of food for those in need.

Synagogues and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) groups from all over the city, as well as Westchester and Long Island, contributed to the program’s success and many participants have expressed an interest in taking part again next year. Local soup kitchens and food pantries worked together with each of the collection sites to distribute the fresh produce on the same day it was donated.

Read the remainder of the article here an learn more about Care to Share here.

Check out Repair the World’s post on the Care to Share program (plus a great video) here.

Donate Fresh Produce to Your Local Food Pantry with Care to Share (Video)

File this under awesome: Hazon, AmeriCorps, The Met Council and the UJA Federation are teaming up to help bring more fresh produce to local food pantries and to combat food insecurity this Sukkot with their Care to Share program.

From now through Oct 18, gardeners, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members, and anyone with good access to fresh produce in the New York area is invited to share a portion of their produce for distribution to a local food pantry. It’s as easy as finding a drop-off site near you, and bringing in your veggies.

Judaism has a tradition of “gleaning.” Back in the day, farmers would leave the four corners of their fields unharvested from which the needy could glean with dignity. Today, food deserts pervade our country. In many cities  including New York, low-income communities tend to have far less access to healthy fruits and vegetables than other neighborhoods. In some communities, there are literally no grocery stores, making it all the more challenging to feed healthy food to one’s family.
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