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Rabbis and Cantors take the Food Stamp Challenge

12:32 PM Apr 23, 2013

 As Jews, and as Americans, we are guided by a moral vision of how we must treat the most vulnerable members of our society. We cannot stand idly by. As the prophet Isaiah says, “If you offer your compassion to the hungry and satisfy the famished creature, then shall your light shine in darkness.” (58:10)


In the midst of economic turmoil and threats of severe cuts to government programs to address our nation’s debt and deficit, hunger in America has reached historic levels with no relief in sight. Recent studies by a number of agencies and organizations highlight this disturbing trend: between 2007 and 2009, the number of households struggling with hunger increased more than 33%, with nearly one in four U.S. households with children unable to afford enough food. And the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the U.S. poverty rate rose to 15.1% in 2010, with one out of every six Americans, or 46.2 million, living in poverty.


This fall the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, the Rabbinical Assembly, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism are organizing the Jewish Community Food Stamp Challenge to demonstrate our collective and personal commitment to alleviate hunger in the United States.


Rabbis across the country from all denominations will join together to take the  Challenge and for one week live on the average food stamp allotment of $31.50, or just $1.50 per meal.  The Challenge will begin prior to the high holidays in September and will last through the month of November, with participants encouraged to take the Challenge during one of two suggested times – the week of September 7-13, 2012 leading up to Rosh Hashanah, or November 11-17, 2012 in advance of Thanksgiving.  For more information, or to sign up to take the Jewish Community Food Stamp Challenge, please visit

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