MAZON Jewish Clergy Justice Mission
November 17-19, 2020
This November, leadership from various denominations can join MAZON for a virtual Jewish Clergy Justice Mission to learn about hunger in America through a Jewish lens, engage in advocacy and policy training, and meet with members of Congress and their staff about these issues on Capitol Hill.
This is a different event for a different time. We know that we will be addressing the effects of COVID-19 on hunger and poverty for years to come, making the front-line advocacy efforts of our clergy partners all the more pressing.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is MAZON’s Anti-Hunger Jewish Clergy Justice Mission?
MAZON’s Jewish Clergy Justice Mission will convene rabbis and cantors from various denominations to learn about hunger in America through a Jewish lens, engage in advocacy and policy training, and meet with members of Congress and their staff about these issues - all on a virtual platform. This will be a multi-track event, with opportunities available for those who wish to engage deeply or selectively.
Learning Track: MAZON will host several marquee programs throughout the week. This registration will give you access to participate in those sessions. We may selectively allow others to view those sessions, but participation will be exclusive to our clergy partners.
Learning + Congressional Meetings Track: In addition to the programming cited above, MAZON will be scheduling congressional meetings for interested JCJM 2020 cohort members. Congressional meeting participation will require attendance at select training and planning sessions. Approximate time commitment will be no more than 5 hours over about a week (excluding the marquee programs; those can be attended at your discretion). MAZON will work to provide multiple time slots for training and planning sessions.
- High-level briefings on current issues related to anti-hunger advocacy from experts;
- Advocacy training and preparation for strategic visits with members of Congress and key policymakers;
- Special update on MAZON’s priorities and new initiatives from MAZON leadership;
- Networking between rabbinic and cantorial colleagues who share a commitment to social justice.
When is the Jewish Clergy Justice Mission?
The JCJM will take place on Nov 17-19, 2020. All marquee events will take place Tuesday-Thursday. Those who elect to join for congressional meetings will have select additional meeting times to prepare (options will include the week prior); congressional meetings themselves will be scheduled as congressional staff and elected are available Nov 17-19 between 1pm-4pm ET. All public programs will be recorded for your convenience, though we will still strive to keep the time commitment limited on any given day out of respect for your schedules.
Where is the Jewish Clergy Justice Mission?
This will be a completely virtual event.
Who is invited to participate?
MAZON’s Jewish Clergy Justice Mission is open to rabbis and cantors of all denominations. Select events may be available to share with your communities.
How do I register?
Please register here. You may also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
How late can I register?
Please register by October 30 to participate in the Congressional Track. You may register for the Learning Track through the beginning of the program.
How much does the Jewish Clergy Justice Mission cost?
There is no fee for this virtual series of events.
What is the program schedule?
- How did we get here? Hunger, 2020 (Nov 17 12-1pm ET)
- Featuring: Rabbi Sharon Brous, IKAR, Los Angeles; Abby J. Leibman, President, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger (moderator); Congressman Jim McGovern, MA-2; Rabbi Joel Pitkowsky, Congregation Beth Sholom, NJ
- Session overview: Join anti-hunger champions for a look back on the movement. How did hunger evolve from a bipartisan issue to a deeply partisan flashpoint, and what has that meant for the millions of low-income Americans caught in the middle? And most importantly, how can we reshape our reality around a renewed moral clarity – that no one deserves to be hungry, and our social contract ensures that every person should get the support they need to lead a life of dignity and prosperity? The conversation will be framed by leading clergy voices, reflecting on the Jewish community’s relationship to anti-hunger and anti-poverty work, bringing “politics” to the bimah, and more.
- An Intersectional Approach in the Fight to End Hunger: How Faith-Driven Anti-Poverty Movements Address the Role of Systemic Racial Injustice (Nov 18 12-1pm ET)
- Featuring: Sarah Abramson, Senior Vice President - Strategy and Impact, Combined Jewish Philanthropies; Bishop Minerva Carcaño, United Methodist Church – Western Jurisdiction; Samuel Chu, National Synagogue Organizer, MAZON (moderator); Anwar Khan, President, Islamic Relief USA
- Session overview: Organizations, leaders and activists working at the nexus of faith, race, and poverty bridge tensions every day, internally and externally. Together we’ll discuss how interfaith coalitions can learn from and support one another in this work, where we fail, and how we can grow. The litany of unique circumstances of this time – post-election, mid-pandemic, mid-national-conversation-on-BLM-protests-and-racial-inequities, mid-economic-crisis – will drive the conversation
- From Erasure to Resilience: The Future of Food Security and Food Sovereignty in Indian Country (Nov 19 12-1pm ET)
- Featuring: Colby Duren, Director, Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative; Crystal Echo Hawk, Executive Director, IllumiNative; Janie Hipp, CEO, Native American Agriculture Fund; Mia Hubbard, VP of Programs, MAZON (moderator)
- Session overview: For thousands of years before European contact, indigenous peoples enjoyed self-sufficiency and self-determination. After land seizures and forced relocations many Tribes lost the ability to sustain themselves. Colonialism, structural racism and failed US federal policies have led to Native Americans suffering some of the highest rates of poverty, food insecurity, and diet-related diseases. The ongoing Native-led efforts to achieve food security and food sovereignty across Indian Country are and have always been urgent in a post-colonial world – and recent events have thrown that need into stark relief and brought the priorities of Indian Country into the national conversation. Join us for a panel featuring advocates who defy the persistence of Native invisibility, harness the resilience of Tribal Nations today, and lift up the promise of Native food systems and agriculture. This wide-ranging discussion will touch on the perception of Native communities in the public policy arena, historical and contemporary effects of federal food policies in Indian Country, and the ways Native communities are asserting food sovereignty and holding the US government accountable for the obligations owed to Tribes determined to feed their citizens.
- What Tomorrow Brings: What’s Next for the Anti-Hunger Movement (Nov 19 4-5pm ET)
- Featuring: Steve Krikava, MAZON Board Member; Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky IL-9
- Session overview: The partnership of Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-9) has been invaluable to MAZON’s work on Capitol Hill. Through the lens of her experience as a Jewish legislator through drastically different administrations, Congressional membership, and national economic circumstances, we’ll ask the Congresswoman for her foresight – how can we expect the federal food safety net and the experience of low-income Americans to change? What levers of power can and should be wielded to create change? What are our challenges and opportunities as faith communities, as Americans, as anti-hunger advocates?
- Closing (Nov 20 )
- Featuring: Rabbi Joel Pitkowsky, Congregation Beth Sholom, NJ
- Session overview: An opportunity to reflect on the week.
What do I need to know about preparing for Congressional meetings?
If you have registered for the Congressional Track, there are three elements to be aware of as you prepare for your congressional meetings:
(1) Congressional training session: Attendance at or viewing of this training is required to participate in congressional meetings. The 1.5 hour training will cover what to expect in a congressional meeting and background on our policy asks for this year. They will be offered on Friday November 13 or Monday November 16. One will also be recorded for those that can’t attend in real time. If you can’t attend live, MAZON staff will make themselves available for questions. We will be sharing a link to sign up for one of these sessions.
(2) Meeting with your lobby group: Lobby teams are currently in formation, and will be shared in the week prior to your meetings. Please meet with your lobby group prior to your meetings to assign roles for the meeting itself.
(3) Your congressional meetings:
a. When: Our team is hard at work scheduling meetings with key congressional offices, including your representatives if possible. We are requesting these meetings for 1pm-4pm ET on Nov 17, 18, and 19. If any aberrations come up, you will be notified accordingly.
b. Please note: We will assign lobby teams and get you a lobby schedule in the week prior to your meetings. We ask for your flexibility in scheduling. As many of you with lobbying experience are well aware, we are at the will of the congressional calendar and meetings can be changed at the last minute. Please do your best to make yourself available for the meetings on your schedule, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any serious conflicts. In years past, each group had 2-3 meetings total, and meetings tend to be no longer than 30 minutes.
What should I wear?
You are of course welcome to dress as you see fit for our regular programming. If you join for a congressional meeting, we suggest business clothing if you will be on video with congressional members and staff.
What more can you tell me about this experience?
Please read the following reflections and press releases about the program:
- Jewish Clergy Justice Mission - 2018: Press release; "Feeding People, Body and Soul," reflection from Rabbis Deana Sussman Berezin and Brian Schuldenfrei
- Jewish Clergy Justice Mission - 2019: Press release; "Serving Our Veterans," a reflection from Rabbi Michael Singer
We are also happy to arrange conversations with cohort members.