As Memorial Day approaches, we are also coming closer to Shavuot, or the Festival of Weeks, when we celebrate the giving of the Torah at Sinai. On Shavuot, it is customary to have sweet dairy foods, like cheesecake and blintzes, in honor of the sweetness of milk and honey, akin to the sweetness of celebrating the knowledge of learning and the Torah.
Yet, there are many children across the country who cannot fully enjoy the sweetness of studying without going hungry. Three out of four public school teachers say that students regularly come to school hungry. Though child nutrition programs like the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, already exist, these programs need to be strengthened. Breakfast is connected to benefits in the classroom: a majority of teachers see students paying better attention in class and having improved attendance. 48% of educators also note that their teens have fewer disciplinary problems when they eat breakfast.
With the budget process moving along, the appropriations process also kicks in. Budget season allows for the president and the two chambers of Congress to lay out their priorities vis-à-vis funding levels for government programs and agencies. The appropriations process is when Congress sets the amounts in real funds, and requires a lot of negotiations and debate. And, the possibility that all the important government programs that need full funding will get it is slim.
The House Appropriations Committee began by taking the sequester-level cap of $1.017 trillion used in the GOP budget (effectively frozen from the current year) and dividing it up among the 12 spending bills. These allocations – known as 302(b)s, and which set funding levels for each of the 12 appropriations subcommittees – were approved last Wednesday.
On April 26-28, hundreds of Reform Jews will gather in Washington, D.C. for the RAC’s Consultation on Conscience, the Reform Movement’s flagship social justice event. This year’s Consultation will feature Former Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick, among many other luminaries. Tune in to the live stream of Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner’s installation as Director of the RAC at 10:15 a.m on Monday morning to hear Gov. Patrick’s remarks.
On April 26-28, hundreds of Reform Jews will gather in Washington, D.C. for the RAC’s Consultation on Conscience, the Reform Movement’s flagship social justice event. This year’s Consultation will highlight issues of economic justice, including such issues as paid sick days, raising the minimum wage, and ending poverty.
We’re excited to welcome our Consultation on Conscience participants to Washington, D.C. in just over a week! In addition to briefings with public policy decision makers and the Reform Movement’s own social action leaders, we’ll head to Capitol Hill for a lobby day, meeting with Senators and Representatives to lift up our Reform Jewish voices on key policy issues. Read more…
Now that it is Passover, boxes of matzah are abundant in the RAC office. Jews around the world are eating matzah instead of leavened bread to remember how the Jewish were slaves in the land of Egypt. Although matzah may not be the most delicious food, we are lucky to be able to eat something of substance at all.
Under the current budget debates, there is risk that many of the food programs that we care about so deeply will have their funding slashed. The House budget also has major impacts on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides nourishment for those living in poverty. The House plans to turn SNAP into a block grant block-grant and cut SNAP funds by $125 billion, or over one third, from 2021 to 2025. Further, “block-granting” SNAP would force states to make deep cuts to food assistance programs, and the benefit cuts would especially impact low-income workers, families with children, seniors, and people with disabilities.
By Erin Glazer
As a mom, I spend a lot of time thinking about what my daughter eats. And if I stop thinking about it, even for just a minute, she reminds me! Our days are peppered with refrains of “I’m still hungry” or “I want a snack.” Like most parents, I do my best to make sure she has a balanced diet, with the occasional treat thrown in for good measure.
Even on her pickiest days, I know that my daughter is well fed. I can’t imagine opening the refrigerator only to find empty shelves, or worrying every morning about whether or not I have enough food to pack in her owl-shaped lunch box. And yet, for too many American families, this is the harsh reality of daily life. Read more…