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food policy

Menu from the Trefa Banquet

There is no question that treif was served at the Highland House banquet, but 135 years later there are still a number of historical questions that need to be addressed.

Rabbi Lance J. Sussman, Ph.D.
Small boy holding empty bowl signifying hunger

With more than 40 million Americans struggling to put food on the table, gifts of food affirm the dignity and humanity of the most vulnerable among us.  

Jenna Galper

God’s first dietary instructions to us, given in Genesis 1:29, were to eat plants and only plants. In other words, we were commanded to be vegetarians, or even vegans. Only after humanity had sunk into a state of spiritual depravity did God grant us limited permission to kill animals for food, in Genesis 9.

Today, the treatment of animals in modern industrial agriculture is so abhorrent that no ethical system, especially ours, can justify it.

Jeffrey Cohan

It was summer 2014, and Israel was at war. Tourists were sparse and so were volunteers. I was in a field outside Rehovot, picking daloriyot (butternut squash) alongside a dozen other visitors. And I was thinking of Ruth the Moabite.

In the Book of Ruth, which is read on Shavuot, Ruth and Naomi return to Bethlehem from their tragic sojourn in Moab, and Ruth goes to the fields to collect grain for herself and her mother-in-law. Leviticus (19:9-10 and 23:22) and Deuteronomy (24:19) state that the gleanings of the field belong to people who are poor, immigrants, orphans, or widows – and Ruth belongs to at least three of these categories. As a Moabite woman, whose husband died and who has arrived empty-handed in Bethlehem, Ruth is among the most vulnerable people in the land.

Rabbi Neal Gold
Assortment of raw vegetables, including red and yellow pepper, lettuce, etc.

Two weeks ago, I hung out with President Bill Clinton and some of his staff members when he and his entourage made a campaign visit to Philadelphia. It was an incredible experience and a reminder that our political leaders are human – and as such, there’s much we can learn from them.

Alexa Broida
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