MAZON’S Second Annual Jewish Clergy Justice Mission Brings Leaders to U.S. Capitol

May 6, 2019

MAZON’S Second Annual Jewish Clergy Justice Mission Brings Leaders to U.S. Capitol
Delegation Elevates the Issue of Hunger with Over 50 Lawmakers

Washington, D.C. (May 6, 2019)—Last week, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger held its second annual Jewish Clergy Justice Mission, during which Jewish leaders from all over the United States came together to learn and engage in anti-hunger advocacy. More than a dozen rabbis and cantors representing multiple denominations convened in Washington, D.C. for intensive advocacy training and in-person meetings with more than 50 congressional offices.

Abby J. Leibman, President & CEO of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, called the Jewish Clergy Justice Mission “a powerful moment for the Jewish community that recalls the civil rights movement and the stirring moments when Jewish leaders convened in Washington to raise their voices for all Americans. Now we unite around the issue of hunger—a justice issue which impacts each and every one of the communities in which our participants serve. As faith-based leaders, we must represent the experience of community members in the halls of power, and that’s why MAZON is so proud to convene this opportunity to do so.”


The multi-day event included study and discussion about hunger in America through a Jewish lens; advocacy training, issue education and strategy discussions to prepare for meetings with key policy makers; a panel discussion with MAZON’s interfaith coalition partners from the Ecumenical Poverty Initiative, Friends Committee on National Legislation, NETWORK Catholic Social Justice Lobby, and Islamic Relief USA; high-level briefings on current issues related to anti-hunger advocacy from experts including Robert Greenstein, President of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Reuben Rotman, President and CEO of the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies, and David Super, Professor of Law at Georgetown University; and updates from MAZON leadership about the organization’s priorities and initiatives.

Rabbi Victor Urecki of B’nai Jacob Synagogue in Charleston, West Virginia, said, “I am proud that the Jewish community, led by MAZON, is advocating for the needs of our most vulnerable citizens. It was incredibly moving learning from MAZON about the struggle with hunger in America, particularly for veterans and currently-serving military families.”

Participants then joined members of the MAZON Board of Directors for meetings with over 50 U.S. Senators and Representatives and their staff. The meetings focused on MAZON’s key priority areas including the issue of hunger among currently-serving members of the military and our nation’s veterans, as well as urgently-needed funding for Puerto Rico’s Nutrition Assistance Program. Members of Congress voiced support for MAZON’s work and understanding of the issue of hunger in America.


“I’m so grateful to MAZON for their incredible advocacy to end hunger in the United States,” said Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02), Chairman of the House Rules Committee, who also sits on the House Agriculture Committee. “Over 10% of Americans struggle with food insecurity. That’s not just a problem – it’s a silent crisis that goes unseen and unnoticed by far too many people, including policymakers in Washington. By bringing awareness to Capitol Hill, MAZON is helping to build the political courage we need to end hunger in this country. I couldn’t be more proud to call them a partner and a friend in this struggle.”


Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) said, “I stand with MAZON in their effort to protect SNAP benefits, aid Puerto Rico, and fight hunger wherever it exists in the United States and Israel. MAZON’s activism resonates at local, state, and federal levels to impact positive change.”

“The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is our country’s most important anti-hunger program,” said Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08). “SNAP reduces poverty and food insecurity and improves health and economic outcomes for over 40 million hungry Americans, especially children, veterans, and military families. In Maryland, more than 696,000 people benefit from the program. Americans in every single congressional district benefit from SNAP and protecting this program should be a high priority for every Member of Congress.”

“More than 40 million Americans struggle with hunger every day. Many of them, including nearly 1.5 million veterans, depend on SNAP to put food on the table,” said Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12) and a member of the House Agriculture Committee. “In my home state of North Carolina, an estimated 55,000 veterans rely on SNAP to feed their families. This is exactly why we need to keep working to protect SNAP. I thank MAZON for their tireless efforts to defend this vital program for veterans, and all Americans who depend on it.”


“SNAP benefits are critically important to the nation’s nutrition safety net,” said Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) and a member of the House Agriculture Committee. “MAZON has been a wonderful partner in our mutual commitment to the nutrition needs of our communities. Efforts to harm the food security of children, seniors, working families, active-duty military, and veterans is needless and wrong.”


Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) said, “Food insecurity is a daily crisis for so many of our seniors, veterans, and military families. If we are to truly embody the value of tikkun olam, and be repairers of the world, we must do all we can to vanquish hunger from the daily lives of millions of working families, and fight for this same basic nutritional assistance for disaster-stricken areas such as Puerto Rico.”

“I am pleased to partner with MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, which has been an important organization to me and my family for many years,” said Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09). “I am proud of their leadership in calling attention to food insecurity among populations that have long been overlooked and in some cases ignored, including veterans, currently-serving military families, college students, and others. We need to protect federal nutrition assistance programs like SNAP for the millions of Americans who struggle to feed themselves and their families.”