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Archive for : Yom Kippur

Repair Interview: Rachel Sumekh of Swipe Out Hunger

Repair the World recently launched our High Holiday campaign, focused on advancing racial justice and building relationships between communities. There are many different ways to get involved (Learn about the root causes of racial injustice in America. Host or attend a Turn the Tables dinner. Take action in solidarity with our neighbors as a multiracial Jewish community.) – and we encourage you to explore them all.

Meanwhile, we will be introducing you to some of our favorite change makers. Here’s Rachel Sumekh, the Founding Executive Director of Swipe Out Hunger. Sumekh co-founded the organization – which lets students donate unused points from university meal plans to feed peers and community members facing hunger – during her sophomore year at UCLA. Today, Swipe Out Hunger exists on 23 campuses across the country, and is changing the conversation about poverty and food insecurity on college campuses. Read on…

What was the inspiration behind Swipe Out Hunger?
It started out because we were annoyed with the university for creating meal plans where students who had excess points at the end of a semester lost them. It began informally, with students going into dining halls and buying meals to go, then giving them to homeless and other food insecure people. But the university had some issues with this model. Fortunately, rather than stopping us, they said we should develop a new model. Today, if a student has extra meal swipes, they can opt into the Swipe Out Hunger program and convert that money into resources to help food insecure students.

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Repair the World Launches “Act Now for Racial Justice” Campaign

Offering opportunities to stand against racial injustice through service, Repair the World today launched Act Now for Racial Justice, a campaign that coincides with the Jewish High Holidays and that will continue through MLK Day and Passover in 2017. The campaign includes resources for young adults to learn how racism permeates economic, social, and criminal justice systems; to host meals and discussions with peers exploring how our food systems perpetuate racial injustice; and to take action and serve with communities to move closer to racial justice.

“Like in the Black community, young adults are leading our Jewish community in creating change; and, by standing in solidarity, they are making a meaningful difference, sending an important signal, and building deep relationships across racial lines,” said David Eisner, CEO of Repair that World. “Our Jewish values compel us to stand for racial justice and to right the wrongs we see nearly daily; this feels especially urgent right now, as we look to understand where we’ve fallen short over the past year, and to mark the New Year by resolving to do better. Act Now for Racial Justice offers our community tools to take action through service in a Jewish context, and to address important inequities in our communities.”

The meals hosted during the campaign will be part of Repair the World’s Turn The Tables initiative, and will include educational materials, including discussion guides. A portion of the meals are supported by OneTable.

Learn more at werepair.org/high-holidays, including information on service opportunities around the country to counteract racial injustices in food and educational equity. Follow #ActNowForRacialJustice on Twitter for stories and interviews with Jews of color and others standing against racial injustice Act Now for Racial Justice will continue to offer service and reflection opportunities year-round, including on MLK Day and Passover 2017.

To stand as allies with victims of racial injustice, Repair will send a Jewish delegation to Facing Race, November 10-12 in Atlanta, GA. Facing Race is a collaborative endeavor to grow the racial justice movement and the largest multiracial, intergenerational gathering for organizers, educators, creatives and other leaders.

“Meaningful service in solidarity with communities of color is a powerful way to take a stand against racial injustice,” Eisner adds. “We are all part of America’s racial justice journey and young adults often look for activeroles they can play to positively impact this journey. Frankly, each of us already play a role in the racial justice journey of our community and our country.  The question we each need to ask is whether we are satisfied today with what that role has been.”

Food Justice Resources for Yom Kippur

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.

Food For Thought Hazon’s sourcebook on Jews, food, and contemporary issues would make great reading for Yom Kippur day.

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.