WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Leaders of two Jewish groups are joining an organized fast to protest proposed congressional budget cuts to poverty programs in the United States and abroad.
The fast, initiated by HungerFast, a group led by anti-hunger activist Tony Hall, takes aim at proposed substantive cuts now under consideration in Congress that would target overseas food aid and domestic programs that provide food stamps, subsidized meals for preschoolers and their mothers, and subsidized heating for the poor.
With the federal budget Topic Number One on Capitol Hill and the prospects for serious cuts to critical programs growing by the day as a Tea Party-driven House Republican caucus flexes its muscles, today's Washington Post Fact Checker column offers a useful reality check.
Though the coming battle over the 2012 budget will be waged across line items on spread sheets and political talking points, those most affected will be real people with real problems.
Above it all looms the ballooning deficit and a new Congress replete with members from both sides who campaigned on cutting spending and lowering the budget. In such an atmosphere, the decisions facing the President are not easy ones: how to make the investments in our future and protect those suffering because of poverty and the recession while not contributing to the deficit.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Jewish groups expressed concerns about proposed Obama administration cuts in poverty assistance, but praised the U.S. budget for preserving aid to Israel.
The White House's proposed budget, released Monday, projects cuts in programs such as heating for the poor and in blocs of money funneled to the states for social programs, and increases funding for education and for "clean energy" development.
Having moved between countries and cities throughout my childhood, I recall often standing alone at recess feeling as if I was invisible. In a very small way, I feel like I can relate to the hundreds of people feeling the powerlessness of invisibility in a society that does not see them.
From my teenage years, an emblematic scene: my mother, at midnight, in her king-sized bed, alone. Her face is tear-stained, and she is surrounded by a crazy patchwork quilt of bills she cannot pay. The scene continues to haunt my brother, an executive at Chevron, so much so that he has confided his secret imaginings. When he finds himself in the lobby of a grand hotel, on the way to his corporate suite, he glances at the corner of the stairwell, somewhat insanely, noting that he might sleep there, for free, if the dark times come again.
Poverty is hardly beautiful, but we are commanded not to look away from it.
Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky
There is a folk saying quoted in the Talmud and Midrash, which some sources even ascribe to Rabbi Akiba, “Poverty is as fitting to the Jews as a red bridle on a white horse.” It’s sweet, if a little fatalistic. Do we really think that poor Jews are so attractive? These days, it is not a small question, as greater and greater numbers of Jews find themselves jobless. That great alphabet soup of Jewish organizations has tightened its collective belt a notch or two, so even our Jewish professionals find themselves scrambling to make a living.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The framers of an interfaith effort with the grand goal of halving American poverty in the next decade had a small but focused message this week: Keep those school lunches coming.
At a meeting Monday on Capitol Hill at an event attended by congressional staffers, the framers of the effort spoke of a pending vote to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act, the program which brings school breakfasts and lunches to needy children.
Not surprisingly, David Simon’s recent and highly public remarks critical of the funding priorities of Baltimore’s Associated Jewish Charities did not go down well with that Federation or its parent group, The Jewish Federations of North America, which gave the TV writer and creator a platform at its recent General Assembly in New Orleans.