Webinar Recording: Mazon Insider Briefing on Crucial Food Justice Issues

Posted on: 
Friday September 20, 2019
On Thursday, September 19, Liza Lieberman, Mazon's Director of Public Policy, discussed food insecurity and government attempts to remove millions from the protection of SNAP - and what you can do to help. 
Food insecurity has long been a concern of RA resolutions. Among the topics addressed in this update is the Military Families Basic Needs Allowance. Mazon has been shining a light on the serious shortage of food for many currently-serving military personnel.
Additionally, the Trump Administration is trying to eliminate a vital access point to SNAP by greatly weakening Categorical Eligibility (Cat-El), a 20-year-old option for states approved by Congress and used by more than 40 states. The program allows states to streamline the process of applying for much-needed benefits, and does so effectively. The Department of Agriculture's own estimate is that this proposed rule change would result in 3.1 million people losing vital SNAP benefits.
Brought to you by the RA Food Justice Working Group and Mazon. 

A word from Chair of the Food Justice Working Group, Michael Singer: One of the core concerns of God reflected in our Jewish tradition is the value of human dignity. Whether it is the Levite, stranger, orphan, widow or the poor - we are commanded to provide basic dignity to the most vulnerable members of our society in their time of need.

״פתח תפתח את-ידך לאחיך לעניך ואביונך בארצך״

 “Open your hand to the poor and needy kinsman in your land.” (Deut. 15:11)

Below are resources that can help frame discussions in our communities around Food Insecurity and Justice. Whether it is a sermon, a classroom lesson, a USY SATO event, a Hillel challah bake, as rabbis we can raise our community’s awareness about hunger which is the first step in mobilizing our efforts to end it.

A number of issues discussed and aimed at cutting upwards of 3 million people from SNAP (formerly food stamps). And particularly hard hit will be many veterans and active-duty military personnel and their families. You can find more information below:

  • NDAA Action Alert - National Defense Authorization Act now includes a provision championed by Mazon to protect active duty military from losing SNAP benefits. You can support them at this link.
  • Interfaith Toolkit on Categorical Eligibility - Although the deadline to comment on this rule change, which will threaten up to 3.1 million vulnerable people’s SNAP eligibility, ends on Sept. 23, it’s important to understand this dangerous change.
  • Public Charge Webinar Info: Changing the rules for the definition of “public charge” – threatens to remove refugees, asylum seekers and migrants here legally from crucial benefits, if they have received any social services in the past. Register at the link for a helpful webinar. You should be able to view it even after the webinar.
  • This Is Hunger page, and link to register for TIH digital - This is a brand new video based on the travelling This Is Hunger exhibit that toured the country a year ago. Check out the powerful stories of real people who talk about what hunger looks like for them.
  • Sermon Seeds and other HHD resources - In case you’re looking for some Torah to connect with food insecurity, here are resources from Mazon.
  • Sukkot resources/Ushpizin posters - Holiday resources for Sukkot. And Ushpizin makes great connection between the holiday and food insecurity.
  • Rabbi Michael Singer’s piece and Rabbi Brian Schuldenfrei’s piece on the 2nd and 1st MAZON Jewish Clergy Justice Mission Cohorts respectively.

If you are an RA member and would like to join the Food Justice Working Group please contact Chair Michael Singer.