In 1985, as the world's attention was focused on Ethiopian famine and as the federal government was dramatically curtailing its anti-poverty efforts, a new voice emerged in the Jewish community to call attention to the problem of hunger in our world of abundance. When Leonard Fein founded MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, he was confident that the Jewish community would respond, but few could have predicted the organization's level of success. Its approach of asking Jews, Jewish organizations and synagogues to donate 3 percent of the cost of simchahs and celebrations to alleviate hunger has engaged thousands of Jewish individuals and organizations in this effort. Since 1985, MAZON and MAZON Canada have made more than $34 million in grants to hunger relief organizations in the United States, Canada, Israel and developing countries around the world.1 More than 450 Reform congregations are MAZON partner synagogues, publicly declaring their support for MAZON's anti-hunger efforts. Many other congregations work with MAZON to raise the Jewish community's awareness of hunger issues.
MAZON has supported soup kitchens, meals-on-wheels programs, food pantries and relief efforts across the globe. However, MAZON's leadership knows that hunger will not be eliminated by volunteer efforts alone. North America has the resources to eliminate hunger within its midst and to make significant strides to reducing it throughout the world, but the American and Canadian governments must take concerted action to make this a reality. MAZON has committed itself to supporting organizations that advocate for better and fully funded food nutrition programs at home and relief efforts abroad.
In 1986, the Union's Board of Trustees saluted MAZON's efforts and the Central Conference of American Rabbis passed a similar resolution in 1989. In its 20-year history, MAZON has continued to inspire both Reform congregations and their members to heed the words of Isaiah to "share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house" (58:7).
Therefore , the Union for Reform Judaism resolves to:
1. Congratulate MAZON on its 20th anniversary and offer our firm support as it goes from strength to strength;
2. Continue to partner with MAZON in the Reform Movement's work on hunger issues; and
3. Encourage Union congregations to continue supporting the work of MAZON by:
a. Becoming a MAZON partner synagogue; and
b. Encouraging congregants to donate 3 percent of the cost of simchah celebrations to MAZON's anti-hunger efforts.