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November 29, 2014 | 7th Kislev 5775
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MANNA: We Share Our Portion

Contact: Donald Cohen-Cutler
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Governor Corzine Helps Launch Anti-Hunger Program
MANNA: We Share Our Portion takes aim at New Jersey’s hunger problem

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, NJ –  For the 1.5 million hungry people in New Jersey, help is on the way.

That’s because representatives of more than 50 Reform Jewish congregations in the state have helped create MANNA: We Share Our Portion — a program that will put food on the tables of the hungry.

Launched at the New Jersey – West Hudson Valley Council of the Union for Reform Judaism’s regional biennial, MANNA is a multi-component program of action, learning and advocacy, aimed at fighting the problem of hunger in its region.

“Jewish tradition teaches you shall not separate yourself from the needs of your community,” said Rabbi Randi Musnitsky, regional director of the Council. “The fact that millions of our neighbors go without food is unacceptable and we proudly take on the responsibility.”

Governor John Corzine congratulated the Council on this ambitious program when he addressed the group. The Governor stressed the importance of partnering with government organizations to feed those who cannot feed themselves by creating programs such as MANNA, noting there is no single form of governmental funding of hunger relief in the state of New Jersey at this time.

“We see this effort as a part of the core values of our congregation,” said Rabbi Peter Berg of Beth Or in the Township of Washington. “This is not a project; this is at the center of who we are and what we do.” Beth Or has worked in anti-hunger and poverty relief for many years including year-long food drives and running the county wide overflow shelter for homeless individual each December, but now is stepping up its efforts with the MANNA program.

MANNA is intended to teach the importance of relief of hunger to the widest possible group of people. “MANNA is for atypically wide audiences of Reform Jews, because this is the way Jews should live,” said Sharon Halper, regional educator and author of the MANNA resources for congregations. “This isn’t just a program, these are materials and ideas designed to reinforce the Jewish traditions around food and justice by bring food and justice together.”

All the materials for this program are suitable for preschoolers through senior citizens and are appropriate for the classroom, the boardroom and the family room.

Comprising 54 Reform Jewish congregations in an area roughly bounded by Trenton, NJ, in the south; Livingston Manor, NY, in the north and Poughkeepsie, NY and Warren, NJ, on its east and west, the region consists of autonomous congregations varying in size from under 100 to over 1000 member family units.

For more information on MANNA contact Sharon Halper at shalper@urj.org or call 201 722-9090 or 888 750-8242.


The Union for Reform Judaism (formerly the Union of American Hebrew Congregations) is the central body of Reform Judaism in North America, uniting 1.5 million Reform Jews in more than 900 synagogues. Union services include camps, music and book publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, educational programs, and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C.

 
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