The Importance of Making Connections
Making connections with others and with one's work are important aspects of life. Since arriving in Washington, I have been able to make connections with several of the Machon Kaplan participants. I feel as though I can talk to them about anything, from what we plan on doing the upcoming weekend to our feelings about policies being debated in the House or Senate. Judaism, as a religion, has a deep focus on the connections that one has with family. As time has gone by since starting this program, I have been fortunate enough to build a sort of family of friends with whom I am able to feel a Jewish connection, no matter the context of the situation.
While in DC, I have also been fortunate enough to make connections with my work. I am an intern in the child nutrition department of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). The child nutrition department focuses on issues in child hunger, including the current programs funded by the federal government and research into the current standards and requirements on child nutrition. Currently, I am doing research on free and reduced lunch programs during the school day and summer, in hopeful anticipation of reauthorization of the Child Nutrition programs. This is an issue of concern to the Reform Jewish Movement, as well.
Judaism teaches its followers, from a young age, about tzedakah, or charity, and the importance of giving back to the community in some way. This relates to my current work, because I feel it is essential for us, as good citizens, to help give all children the chance to live a good life - including getting nutritious meals. In doing this work, I am able to connect my need to do mitzvoth with my passion to end children's hunger.