Food Justice and Hunger

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Thursday August 14, 2014

One of the glories of Jewish tradition is the sanctifying of the ordinary, routine elements in our lives. And we see that perhaps most clearly in the ways in which the concerns of the Torah and rabbinic tradition with what – and how - we eat are expressed in the vast and complex Jewish “dietary laws”. But whether it is the way in which we slaughter the animals we are permitted to eat or the ways in which we are instructed to be mindful of those who may not have enough to eat when we harvest our food or the specific blessings we are commanded to recite over this food – in so many ways we are reminded that the very act of eating is a path to holiness.

At no other time in history have most Jews enjoyed the blessings of abundant food and so it is that we are perhaps more mindful than ever of those who do not enjoy these blessings as we note in the resolutions of the RA that deal with hunger here in America and around the world. And surely at no other time in history have we had the luxury of being concerned not about whether we have enough to eat or whether what we eat conforms to the dietary laws but whether what we eat is “kosher” in a broader sense of that word: Is it truly good for us? Is it free from contaminants of various kinds? Is it harvested by workers who are paid a living wage and work under decent conditions. You will also find a number of resources on these topics, including source sheets and websites, as well as materials on Magen Tzedek, the world's first Jewish ethical certification seal.

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