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September 14, 2006 - Image 40

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-09-14

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Doors and Windows

in doors
for over
30 years
for best
services and
salts action!

Rabbi Jonathan Berkun, Barbara Levin, Eric Bost and Joel Jacob, with

Yad Ezra's Lea Luger, Paul Finkel and Elaine Ryke at Gleaners

Feeding The World from page 39

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September 14 - 2006

Events in Southfield and area rabbis
about introducing b'nai mitzvah fami-
lies to Mazon's education and dona-
tion campaigns. He has been working
most closely with Rabbi Paul Yedwab
of Temple Israel and Rabbis Joseph
Krakoff, Jonathan Berkun and Eric
Yanoff of Congregation Shaarey Zedek,
where Jacob is a member.
"Most of the b'nai mitzvah families
I meet with make a contribution to
Mazon," said Rabbi Berkun.
The rabbi, along with Mazon presi-
dent Dr. H. Eric Schockman and Eric
Bost, then-USDA under secretary
for Food, Nutrition and Consumer
Services, participated in a trip to
Argentina hosted by Jacob to learn
about the work Mazon is doing in the
Jewish community there.
"Joel's own commitment and pas-
sion for this cause is highly contagious
and shared unabashedly with every-
one he meets," Rabbi Berkun said.
Through introductions made by
Jacob, Rabbi Berkun said, "I learned
how much power — and how much
responsibility — the government has
to create an efficient distribution sys-
tem. This is not a divisive issue you
can take sides on. Who can oppose
the idea that somebody shouldn't go


"A key way to ensure the activism con-
tinues is to bring in active, young peo-
ple," said Jacob, who is working with
a Shaarey Zedek program to involve
"early 30s members who are getting to
be super activists on the hunger issue."
Going one step further, he brought
the discussion of hunger issues to
Hillel Day School of Metropolitan
Detroit in Farmington Hills, inviting
head of school Steve Freedman to
join him in Israel on a Mazon mis-
sion, along with Luger, Schockman
and Bost.

Then, in advance of the school's first
eighth-grade mission to Israel, Jacob
asked Luger to speak with students
about hunger and the power of advo-
cacy to effect change and to encour-
age them to brainstorm ways to help
address the issue of food insecurity.
"What shocked them most was
the reality that right at Hillel we have
students who face food insecurity and
that our lunch program guarantees
some of our students at least one
nutritional meal per day," Freedman
said. "They had no idea how close to
home this issue strikes. The students,
like many adults, did not understand
the difference between starvation and
food insecurity"
During the Israel trip, the students
volunteered at a farm outside Tel Aviv
for Table to Table, a food-rescue orga-
nization. They harvested beets to be
shipped and distributed to Israeli food
kitchens. While there, Merrick Jacob
presented a tzedakah check collected
by the eighth-grade from schoolmates
at Hillel.

Support At Home
Jacob's life is a blending of his pas-
sions, from including his children in
hunger-related trips and meetings to
involving his business and employees
in social-action issues.
Joel, the son of Marty and Vi Jacob
of West Bloomfield, and wife, Lauren,
are parents of Merrick, 14, Andrew,•11,
Autumn, 9, Michael, 7, and Micayla, 2.
"Eric Bost, now the U.S.
Ambassador to South Africa, calls
Lauren the 'saintly wife,"' Jacob said.
"She is so supportive and encourges
me to do whatever I can to help out.
She is a dedicated mom, wife and
community volunteer."
Referring to himself as a spiritual
person, Jacob has a close relationship
with his rabbis at Shaarey Zedek. For
14 years, he has blown shofar for con-

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