All Who Are Hungry: Come, Eat
very spring, Jews celebrate the
and encourage activism
"All who are hungry, come and eat; all
holiday of Passover, declaring in
through this Child Nutrition
are in need, come and partake in
our seders the words from the
Seder. Federation's Jewish
the Paschal offering,"
Haggadah, "Let all who are hungry
Assistance Project, under the
come and eat; let all who are in need
banner of No Family Stands
come share our Passover." This year, this
Alone, is helping thousands
statement is taking on a whole new mean-
of community members
with jobs, housing and food.
Our organizations, Yad Ezra (which liter- As advocacy leaders, we are
ally means "Helping Hand" in Hebrew) and actively seeking ways of join-
the Jewish Community Relations Council,
ing coalitions and connecting
have organized a Child Nutrition Seder
our community to efforts
of these and other childhood nutrition pro-
designed to translate Passover's message of that address poverty.
grams, as the economy continues to weak-
freedom and renewal into an opportunity
Congress has already done a great deal
en our Congressional leaders will unfor-
to end childhood hunger in America.
to help defeat poverty and childhood
tunately be tasked with making a number
We have transformed the seder plate,
hunger. Over the past few years, it has
of tough spending decisions. However, our
giving dual mean-
current economic woes should not deter
ing to each of the
tion to increase
our moral obligation to the least fortunate
traditional items it
funding for food
holds. Symbols such
Passover is a time when Jews are
as the bitter herb,
specifically called upon to remember
for school break-
what it was like to live in bondage. This
ally reminds Jews
fast and lunch
enhances our appreciation of the various
of the bitterness of
freedoms we enjoy. Maybe this is why
slavery, this year
the Torah emphasizes the importance of
will awaken us to
for those who need providing aid for our neighbors in need.
the bitterness suf-
Leviticus says, "When you reap the
fered by others. The
meal the most.
harvests of your land, you shall not
Communi ty View
However, for our
reap all the way to the edges... You
nation to meet the
shall leave them for the poor and for
reminds us that it
is spring in Israel,
to end childhood
As our economy continues to decline
will now also highlight the importance of hunger within the next decade, it will take
and more families find it difficult to make
good nutrition and the disparity in access an increased and unified effort from us all. ends meet, the Jewish message of lending
to healthy food.
Congress is currently considering legis- a helping hand to others in need could not
Today, one in every four families cannot lation that will put our nation further on
be any more important.
afford enough food for their children. This
the road to meeting the president's goal:
translates to 13 million children living
the child nutrition bill. This bill is the
Lea Luger is co-executive director of Yad Ezra,
in food-insecure households. Nearly 80
most important anti-hunger legislation
the kosher food pantry in Berkley. Robert
percent of those children are forced to rely
that Congress will consider this session.
Cohen is executive director of the Jewish
on low-cost, less-nutritious foods; more
It authorizes funding for school breakfast
Community Relations Council of Metropolitan
than half rarely receive a balanced meal.
and lunch programs, as well as summer
Detroit, based in Bloomfield Township.
Locally, in our Jewish community, we have
and after-school feeding programs for
witnessed an increase of 35 percent in the
low income students.
number of families needing food assis-
The successes of the school breakfast
tance in the last year 15 months. Yad Ezra
and lunch programs are widely known.
currently provides almost 1,600 vulnerable They are often the only means by which
The Child Nutrition Seder free
families (representing more than 3,400
low-income children receive balanced
to attend and is geared to teens.
individuals, 800 of whom are younger than meals.
The event will take place at 7 p.m.
18) with free kosher food, toiletries and
Ten years ago, Yad Ezra began its own
Monday, April 13, at Yad Ezra's
household goods every month.
lunch assistance program to bridge the gap
warehouse, 2850 W.11 Mile, Berkley.
President Obama has set an ambitious
between the government's school lunch
U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield
goal for the nation to end childhood hun- allocation and the more expensive costs of
Hills, and other public officials will
ger by 2015. This goal is feasible and is
kosher food for Jewish day school children.
be present. No food will be served,
something we should all work together to Since then, hundreds of day school stu-
but the evening will be powerful and
make a reality.
dents benefit every year from this program.
provide much food for thought. All
The Detroit Jewish community is tak-
After-school and summer nutritional pro-
teens in grades 8-12 are welcome.
ing action. We have worked closely with
grams are just as critical. Just because the
Community service credit is avail-
the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, an
final school bell of the year has rung does
able. To RSVP, contact the Jewish
umbrella advocacy organization, and
not mean our children should not have at
Community Relations Council: (248)
the Los Angeles-based national organi-
least one well-balanced and nutritious meal
642-5393; firstname.lastname@example.org .
zation MAZON: A Jewish Response to
available to them each day.
Hunger, in their efforts to raise awareness
Although few will deny the importance
April 9 • 2009
hen my grandfather
arrived at Ellis Island,
on the spot,
a city called
badly that they
$5 per day, he
traveled to toil
at the Ford's
Highland Park. At night, he appren-
ticed for his plumber's license and
eventually opened a plumbing supply
on Linwood Avenue in Detroit.
That series of entrances finally added
up to Grandpa's Arrival behind the
wheel of his first Cadillac, a used 1928
model, marked down to 1930 prices.
He'd earned his citizenship long before,
but for him the Cadillac declared him
as American — proof of having made
something of himself. A Chevrolet
would have been a more prudent buy
during the Depression, but even then,
when it came to buying a car, self-
indulgence often overcame sensibility.
Throughout Grandpa's life, it was
an easy and smart choice to buy a
Cadillac. Today, for me, the decision
isn't so clear, with so many good auto-
mobiles on the market. Like him, I
like to consider myself sensible when
it comes to big purchases; also like
him, a car means more to me than
just transportation. Perhaps more
than any other "thing" in my life, my
car reflects who I am, or at least how I
want to be perceived.
In Boston, where I live, buying a
Grandpa's on page A41