This piece was first published as “Keeping Kosher During the Food Stamp Challenge” on The Jew and the Carrot blog at the Forward.
It was after Rabbi Ari Weiss bumped into and spoke with Rabbi Steve Gutow of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs on Rosh Hashanah, that he decided to take the Food Stamp Challenge. This means he would have to get by on no more than $31.50 worth of groceries (the average amount of food stamps granted to a qualifying individual) for an entire week. That’s just $1.50 per meal, without snacks. He knew it wouldn’t be easy, especially since he keeps strictly kosher.
“There were bottles of wine that cost more than $31.50 on the table at holiday meals I had just attended,” Weiss, the director of the Orthodox social justice organization Uri L’Tzedek, told the Jew and the Carrot prior to beginning the challenge, which took place October 27 through November 3. Nonetheless, Weiss was determined — despite the extra difficulty kashrut would pose — to join the many others around the country, including many members of Congress and Jewish community leaders, in experiencing what it is like to be one of the 45.7 million Americans who receive Food Stamp benefits and the one in six American households living in hunger.
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© 2011 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.
Tags: Alexander Rapaport, farm bill, Fighting Poverty With Faith, food policy, Food Stamp Challenge, Jewish Council on Public Affairs, kashrut, kosher food, Masbia, poverty, Rabbi Ari Weiss, Rabbi Steve Gutow, SNAP, Uri L'Tzedek