Tag Archives: Hunger
Seder plate

A Tomato on the Seder Plate?

Passover is holiday full of symbolism. We eat the bitter herbs to remind us of the bitterness of slavery. We dip parsley in saltwater to recall the tears of our ancestors in Egypt. The charoset is meant to resemble the mortar the Israelites were forced to use while building structures for Pharaoh and their Egyptian oppressors. These traditional symbols have paved the way for contemporary symbolism, allowing modern Jews to use the Seder plate as a place for social or political expression.

In recent years, placing an orange on a Seder plate has become a statement with various interpretations. Introduced by Jewish feminist and scholar, Susannah Heschel, the orange has come to represent the inclusion of women and LGBT people in the Jewish tradition. In general, the orange is meant to symbolize the rejection of the notion that “a woman, [gay person or other historically marginalized person] belongs on the bimah as much as an orange belongs on the seder plate.”

This year, I invite you to include another item on your Seder plate, a symbol of food justice. Read more…

Students receiving school lunch

Ensuring Access to School Lunch in Minnesota

At the beginning of this year, a school in Utah made headlines after throwing away students’ meals because they had a deficit in their school lunch accounts. Unfortunately, this problem is not unique to Utah and occurs nationwide. But in one state, Jewish advocates are making a big push to do something about it. Read more…

Choices at the grocery store and beyond

This was originally posted by Temple Jeremiah of Northfield, IL on March 6, 2014. Members of Temple Jeremiah participated in the SNAP challenge, living on a food stamp budget for a week–$31.50 for the week, around $5 a day. Below, Barb Miller, Temple Jeremiah Social Action Vice President, discusses the challenges and choices that come with living on a SNAP budget. You can read more about the SNAP challenge on Temple Jeremiah’s blog and check out the RAC’s response to SNAP cuts in the Farm Bill.

I was at Sam’s Club today buying a gigantic bag of toilet paper and 10 packages of paper napkins. While waiting in line to check out, I overheard and saw a family having a heated discussion. The teenage boy was asking to keep the cookies and said if we take out the milk, it would pay for the cookies and the chips. The father tried to figure out a way to keep the milk and the cookies by taking out the soap and shaving cream. Read more…

Michelle Obama with Elmo and a basket of fruit and vegetables with faces

First Lady Fights Childhood Obesity

Building on the expansion of school meals programs, First Lady Michelle Obama announced new school wellness plans and food marketing regulations for our nation’s schools. Beyond the First Lady’s announcement, it’s been a busy week in the fight to end child obesity–a new report found a surprising 43% decline in obesity among 2-5 year old children in America over the last eight years. Read more…

Michelle Obama speaking at a podium with "Let's Move" written on it

School Meals Programs Expanding

Last week, the USDA and First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative announced the expansion of the free school meals program to millions of children. The school lunch and breakfast programs are crucial anti-hunger programs and this announcement is an important step towards ending hunger for millions of children.

Many more students will be receiving free school lunches because of the nationwide roll out of community eligibility for school lunch and breakfast. This program allows a school with over 40% of students receiving free school meals to serve free meals to every student in the school. The program reduces paperwork for schools and families, and reduces the stigma around eating free school lunch and breakfast. While we do not know exactly how many new students will be receiving free meals, we do know that it will affect 22,000 schools that together feed over 9 million children.

This program is a positive step towards ending hunger in America, but vulnerable families are still going to see SNAP benefit cuts as part of the Farm Bill passed by Congress last month. Please call on your Member of Congress to increase federal anti-hunger benefits.

Clip Art of a small farm plot with various types of housing behind it.

Reform Jewish Leader Responds to SNAP Cuts in Farm Bill

After months of deliberation and deal-making, Congress passed a five-year reauthorization of the Farm Bill on Monday and sent it to President Obama for his signature. While this was truly a feat for such a divided Congress, the Religious Action Center is disappointed to see the Supplemental Nutrition Program cut by nearly $8.6 billion. This vital lifeline ensures that vulnerable men, women and children are able to put food on the table and participate fully in society. In reaction to the passage of the Farm Bill, Rabbi David Saperstein issued the following statement: Read more…

Bird's Eye View of Obama Giving a past state of the union

#SOTU: Economic Justice

This is the first post in a series on the RAC’s expectations and hopes for President Obama’s  State of the Union address on January 28th.

Economic inequality is expected to be a focal point of the President’s address—within the speech he will touch on a variety of programs critical for economic justice in our nation. If I can guarantee one thing to be mentioned in the State of the Union, it is the Minimum Wage Fairness Act, which has been simmering in the Senate for the last two months. The bill would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2015 and index it to inflation each year after. Additionally, it would raise the tipped minimum wage to at least $7.07 from its current paltry $2.13. President Obama likely wants to make this bill a signature piece of legislation for his second term and will be pushing hard for its enactment.   Read more…

Clip Art of a small farm plot with various types of housing behind it.

Funding Returns For Many Housing and Anti-Hunger Programs!

The omnibus appropriations bill is the biggest piece of annual legislation for anti-poverty programs. While it does not change funding levels for many of the largest anti-poverty programs including Social Security, SNAP and Medicaid (these are mandatory spending programs and fund all eligible applicants), it sets the funding levels for ALL other anti-poverty programs—including all federal housing programs and many anti-hunger programs that make up the social safety net. Let’s look at a few of the federal programs fighting hunger and homelessness funded in the omnibus. Read more…