This week Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and other members of the RAC staff, is taking the Food Stamp Challenge. Part of “Fighting Poverty with Faith’s” initiative to focus people of faith on issues of economic justice and the need to sustain vital social safety net programs, Food Stamp Challenge participants live for seven days on the standard weekly food stamp allotment of $31.50. Rabbi Saperstein will participate in the Challenge from October 27th through November 2nd, joining a half dozen prominent Jewish leaders and ten Members of Congress in this effort to call attention to anti-hunger programs and educate the faith community on the plight of hunger.
We are honored to be able to participate in the Food Stamp Challenge, and experience even for a brief time the ongoing struggle of the millions of Americans nationwide who are confronting hunger on a daily basis. We have long advocated for anti-hunger programs, like SNAP and WIC that meet the needs of the 49 million food-insecure Americans but the Challenge places in stark relief how difficult it is to obtain enough food and nutritious food on a food stamp budget – and why we must do better as a nation.
Jewish tradition teaches that feeding the hungry is a vital responsibility. The Midrash says:
When you are asked in the world to come, ‘What was your work?’ and you answer: ‘I fed the hungry,’ you will be told: ‘This is the gate of God, enter into it, you who have fed the hungry.’
Participating in the Food Stamp Challenge will not, by itself, end hunger in America; that will take a sustained commitment by our nation and its leaders. To that end, we are hopeful that our participation in the Food Stamp Challenge this week will inspire others to advocate for policies addressing families and individuals who confront hunger nationwide. During these difficult economic times, easing the burden on those who are most vulnerable must be our number one priority.
All members of our congregations are being called to register online, and join us in the Food Stamp Challenge and use it as an opportunity to educate your synagogue and community.
Other food stamp challenge participants are listed after the jump.
Who else is taking the challenge?
- Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (FL)
- Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL)
- Rep. Jim Moran (VA)
- Rep. Joe Courtney (CT)
- Rep. Keith Ellison (MN)
- The Honorable Donna Christensen (VI)
- Rabbi Sharon Brous (Founder of IKAR)
- Rabbi Julie Schonfeld (Exec. Vice-Pres. of the Rabbinical Assembly)
- Rabbi Ari Weiss (Director of Uri l’Tzedek)
- Nancy Kaufman (CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women)
- H. Eric Schockman (President of Mazon)
Ask your Member of Congress to take the challenge too.