In helfman

By Rabbi Jordan Helfman.

Join me in living for five days just below the global poverty line – on $1.75 worth of food and drink per day.  Join me as I “Live Below the Line.”

Encountering hunger is a moving experience:  I will never forget seeing the color drain out of my host-mother’s face, how her hands start to shake and the way pulled her shirt closer into her body when, on a trip from a small Mexican village to Cancun, Mexico we found ourselves face to face with the poverty of a neighbouring town.

Her village, Muchucuxcah, has received support from the American Jewish World Service, and through projects of empowerment she now has a comfortable life.  Seeing her neighbors in this state of poverty shocked her.  When we returned to our vans, her first reaction was to think how she and her villagers could start providing education and training to the people they had just met.

I am inviting you to join me in getting closer to poverty and hunger, if only for five days.

The City of Toronto estimates that the average family that accesses our city’s food banks have $5.83 left over each day after rent, which then must be spent on transportation, food and the expenses of daily life for all members of the family.  In Toronto, the number of individuals in need is nothing compared to those in other parts of the world.

Join me in doing a small part to combat global poverty by living below the poverty line and raising money for Ve’ahavta.  Ve’ahavta has designated funds raised through ‘Live Below the Line’ to:

  • The Ve’ahavta Street Academy: a free, adult education program, that offers marginalized individuals with lived experience of homelessness the necessary tools and support to pursue further educational programs, find gainful employment and restore their lives;
  • Bri’ut: a long-term, community driven, Jewish-Aboriginal health promotion program which aims to improve health and well-being in the lives of Northern Ontario Aboriginal populations.
  • Project MUSO: a Mali initiative that works to eliminate preventable disease and reduce child mortality rates by empowing local women to deliver high quality, lifesaving services to their loval community;

If you are not joining in the challenge yourself, feel free to sponsor my efforts here.  My five days will start just after Lag B’Omer and end before Shabbat –  May 19-23, 2014.

If you are interested in joining me, we can track how Team Holy Blossom is doing here.  A few members of our senior staff and of our board have agreed to join in this endeavor.

As Pesach approaches, we remember that matzah is “the bread of poverty” and we must do all we can to help others escape from their own narrow places to lives flowing with milk and honey.

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    I’m in!
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