From the Shalom Austin CEO: "This is Hunger" Sheds Light on Those in Need During Hanukkah Season
By Rabbi Daniel Septimus
As we approach the holiday of Hanukkah, we take a moment to celebrate our freedom and the light that is in our lives. The story of Hanukkah is a powerful one, reminding us that even in the darkest times, through our collaborative efforts we can bring light to the world.
During Hanukkah, we are compelled to think of others who are in need of light. More than 42.2 million Americans struggle with hunger and the darkness associated with it every day. Beginning Dec. 9 and continuing through Dec. 14, Shalom Austin will host the This is Hunger project, funded and operated by MAZON: a Jewish Response to Hunger, on the Dell Jewish Community Campus.
Housed in a big rig, This Is Hunger is a powerful and interactive exhibit that takes individuals on a journey –one that will challenge participants’ beliefs about who in America struggles with hunger and why – and inspires them to take action. The exhibit encourages the community to raise our voices and ignite our community’s commitment to end hunger once and for all.
Our community not only supports Jews in need locally but also overseas. A delegation of lay leaders and staff attended the annual Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly, where we received an update on the challenges of Jews living in the former Soviet Union, among other areas.
Many Jews in the former Soviet Union live well below the poverty level. Through our overseas funding in partnership with JFNA and the American Joint Distribution Committee, of which 10 percent of our annual campaign support is allocated, we bring light to those most vulnerable to enable our fellow Jews to live with dignity and celebrate Jewish life. Your increased support of our Annual Campaign will only help us reach more Jews and human beings in need, both here in Austin and around the world.
Through acts of loving kindness and tzedakah (charity), we bring light to those who are suffering from darkness. As we light the Hanukkiah, please think of ways we can bring joy and happiness to all in our community and around the world.
Chag Urim Sameach,
Rabbi Daniel Septimus