Resolution on Proposed Rule Change for Time Limits on SNAP in the United States

Whereas the SNAP program is the largest federally funded nutrition program, providing about $64 billion in benefits to millions of households; and

Whereas the Torah teaches our obligation toward the poor with the words “You shall strengthen them” (Lev. 25:35), and

Whereas the rabbis established every individual’s responsibility to contribute to the tzedakah (charity) fund and the tamhui (soup kitchen) supporting the community’s obligation to provide sustenance for the needy (Mishneh Torah Matanot l’evyonim 9:12), and

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly has passed resolutions supporting SNAP in 2014, 2012 and 2012, and in 1999, and

Whereas Congress just completed a carefully-negotiated bipartisan Farm Bill which preserves the effective structure of SNAP,  and

Whereas the purpose of the proposed USDA rule change appears to be reducing the number of people who participate in SNAP, and

Whereas proposing to restrict state waivers for SNAP work requirements ignores the reality of millions of Americans who work inconsistent hours, lack access to transportation, live in areas where the economy has been slow to recover, or aren’t able to access employment and training programs, and

Whereas veterans in particular will be severely impacted, because they have higher unemployment rates, and may require more than three months to secure employment;

Therefore be it resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly strongly denounce this and any proposed changes which will weaken nutritional support for those in need and, as an Assembly and individually, work to eradicate food insecurity, and

Be it resolved that members of the Rabbinical Assembly be encouraged to follow efforts and actively work within our communities to support those Americans in need due to food insecurity

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly and its individual members submit comments to the USDA, to speak up forcefully against these proposed changes.

Be it further resolved that study materials be made available to colleagues for teaching both the approach of our tradition to provide support for those in need of sustenance and the practical realities that daily threaten the health and lives of Americans who live with food insecurity.