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Social Action

“Don’t just study Torah, ‘Be Torah’ ”   Rabbinic proverb

For adults too, “Being Torah” means we are living embodiment of the commandments: serving the community and working for causes that respect all people. In alliance with five faith communities, Da’at Elohim volunteers cook and serve nutritious meals to needy New Yorkers on the fifth Shabbat of the month.  With our host and partner, The Park Avenue Christian Church and Reverend Alvin Jackson, we present the Heschel-King Award for Interfaith Activism to one continuing the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  and Rabbi Abraham J. Heschel, both of blessed memory.

This is Hunger

“This Is Hunger“ is a first-of-its-kind experience that will change the way you see your neighborhood, your city, your nation. This interactive touring exhibit housed in a big-rig will illuminate the troubling prevalence of hunger in America and ignite our commitment to end hunger once and for all.

This e-mail from Mazon, the Jewish Response to Hunger, caught the attention of Jill and Sue who visited the exhibit and were very moved by what they saw and learned.

Inside the enormous truck parked in front of Temple Israel on East 75th Street stood a long wood table set with empty plates simulated by circles of light beamed from overhead spotlights. Participants took a place at the table to watch as life size photos of Americans — women, men, children, and seniors of many races and ethnicity — were projected one at a time on the surrounding walls, as the person told his or her own story about going hungry. So many commented, “I never thought it could happen to me”.

Afterward came interactive activities like the surprisingly difficult game of creating a day’s meals for a family of four on a SNAP (“food stamp”) budget, by picking one food from each of five food groups. We were forced to conclude that it was difficult or impossible to create a truly healthy menu on this budget. Only by substituting at least one cheap filler or junk food could we stay on budget to feed the family.

The photo shows us (Sue and Jill) holding up signs with some of the facts we learned. Coincidentally, the following week’s New York Times brought the issue home again, with an article about the widespread practice of American schools shaming hungry children whose parents have fallen behind in school lunch program payments.


To learn more about Mazon’s wide range of thoughtful approaches to helping the hungry – including an emphasis on advocacy to influence legislators – please visit their excellent web site at

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