In response to the horror of world hunger, a resolution was passed, clarifying that Board members should be given the opportunity to donate to a unique, new program called MAZON, through a three per cent surcharge on their meals. This would be strictly an individualized volunteer effort. No member is mandated to contribute to MAZON.
MAZON, which is Hebrew for "sustenance" adds a new dimension to private festivities—a bar or bat mitzvah, a wedding, any simcha—by providing a vehicle through which participants contribute an additional three per cent of their total celebration cost to combat hunger at home and abroad.
Leonard Fein, new distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC and former editor of Moment Magazine, is the founder of MAZON and Theodore Mann, President of the American Jewish Congress, is also President of MAZON. "The purpose is not to instill guilt among the fortunate" but rather to share the blessings of wealth, as prescribed by Jewish tradition.
MAZON does not undertake projects of its own; it is not an operating agency. Its dollars are allocated to existing agencies both Jewish and non-Jewish.
A volunteer organization, MAZON's impressive Board of Directors includes a broad cross-section of American Jews, such as Ed Asner, Bella Abzug, Albert Vorspan and Charles Silberman. Nationally, MAZON maintains an office in Los Angeles to coordinate the work of the local committees and the Board in making allocations.
MAZON has become widely accepted in may UAHC congregations, is generously supported by NFTY and has been endorsed by the UAHC Canadian Council and Northeast Council.