Jews all over the world, Republican and Democrat, read the following Torah portion this Shabbat:
“And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger.” Leviticus 23:22
Interesting timing to cut $40 billion from the federal food assistance program.
“According to the [non-partisan] Congressional Budget Office, nearly four million people would be removed from the food stamp program under the House bill. A Census Bureau report released on Tuesday found that the food stamp program had kept about four million people above the poverty level and had prevented millions more from sinking further into poverty.”
Some may argue that feeding the hungry is a noble obligation of private citizens. Indeed it is. But I challenge them to explain their personal plan to feed 50,000 hungry people each week, which is what it would take if faith-based institutions were to replace the government’s food assistance. Our synagogue collects over 36,000 pounds of food during the High Holidays for our local food bank, a wonderful thing. But food banks alleviate only 3% of hunger, according to Samuel Chu, National Synagogue Organizer with MAZON in Los Angeles. That leaves a lot of hungry people, a lot of hungry days and nights.
As reported by the New York Times yesterday, “Charity can’t do it alone,” according to Margarette Purvis, president of the Food Bank for New York City,” a network of one thousand charities. “We simply can’t make up for a cut of this magnitude,” she said.
That famous liberal Bob Dole co-wrote with Tom Daschle in an Op-Ed in the L.A. Times this week:
“The latest proposal from the House is an about-face on our progress fighting hunger. If Congress lets this bill fall victim to the misguided and detrimental partisan politics we face today, the results for families and children challenged with hunger will be severe.”
What in the name of justice and compassion are House Republicans doing? Let’s not sit idly by. Let’s tell this “religious” right to read their Leviticus. Call your Senator to urge a vote protecting the hungry. Call your Congressman to find out how they voted and let them know your views. http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml