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Dirshu: Confronting Challenges with Mind and Heart: Hunger: What Can We Do?

Dr. Devora Steinmetz, Mark Winne, Lisanne Finston / March 3, 2015

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An invitation to members of the community to learn more about hunger and food insecurity in the United States, to consider our responsibilities toward those in need, and to find out what we can do to help.

Why Rain Comes from Above: Biblical and Rabbinic Reflections on Sharing Our Blessings – Devora Steinmetz

Biblical and rabbinic texts about rain invite us to join in an exercise of religious imagination and to consider how this mundane—yet critically life-giving—event offers a model for reflecting on our responsibilities toward those who have less that we do. We will study several of these texts as a foundation for the work of learning about hunger and considering how we might respond.


Good Food for All: A Dream Deferred – Mark Winne

Since the discovery of domestic hunger in the 1960s, the Unites States has spent trillions of dollars in an attempt to end it. However, with 15 percent of the population food insecure, 47 million people receiving SNAP benefits, and demand at food banks growing steadily, the results are not encouraging. Mark Winne will review the history, programs, policies, and assumptions behind the long battle to end hunger, and explore why that war has reached a stalemate.


Re-Imagining the Work of Ending Hunger – Lisanne Finston and Pamela Johnson

If we are to engage effectively in the work of ending hunger in our communities, then we must do more than collect cans for our local emergency food center. There are many organizations and programs that are paving the way with a new vision for how to end hunger in the United States. Lisanne and Pam will share the story of what one organization, Elijah’s Promise, is doing in central New Jersey, and offer suggestions for ways to become engaged in the work of building a healthy, just, sustainable food system, where all have access to good food.



Dr. Devora Steinmetz

Dr. Devora Steinmetz serves on the faculty of Drisha Institute in the United States and Israel and on the leadership team of Drisha’s new yeshiva in Israel. The founder of Beit Rabban, she is the author of scholarly articles on Talmud, Midrash, and Bible as well as of two books: From Father to Son: Kinship, Conflict, and Continuity in Genesis and Punishment and Freedom: The Rabbinic Construction of Criminal Law. Dr. Steinmetz also serves on the faculty of the Mandel Institute for Nonprofit Leadership. Click here to access podcasts recorded by Devora Steinmetz.


Mark Winne

Mark Winne was the Executive Director from 1979-2003 of the Hartford Food System, a Connecticut non-profit food organization dedicated to finding solutions to the food insecurity problems of the greater Hartford area. He is the co-founder of the Community Food Security Coalition, a former Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Fellow, and is currently a Senior Advisor at the Johns Hopkins University Center for a Livable Future. Through his own firm, Mark Winne Associates, Mark speaks, trains, and writes on topics related to community food systems, food policy, and food security. He is the author of two books, Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty and Food Rebels, Guerrilla Gardeners, and Smart Cookin’ Mamas. Both books are published by Beacon Press. Click here to access podcasts recorded by Mark Winne.


Lisanne Finston

Lisanne Finston first encountered the growing population of people who were hungry and homeless when she was a college student in the early 1980s living in Washington DC.  A volunteer trip to a soup kitchen and homeless shelter set the course for her life’s work: using food as a tool for change.  Currently, as director of Gould Farm in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, Lisanne is part of a caring community that promotes recovery for people managing mental illness and addictions through meaningful work, community living, and clinical care.   Previously, Lisanne served as Executive Director of Elijah’s Promise in New Brunswick, New Jersey for twenty years.  Through her work there, she turned a local soup kitchen into a culinary center that feeds hundreds of individuals and families with nourishing, locally grown food and provides job training and employment opportunities for people who are food insecure, homeless and unemployed—moving people from the streets to success. Lisanne has a BA from American University, an MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary, and an MSW from Rutgers University.  She is ordained in the United Methodist Church. Click here to access podcasts recorded by Lisanne Finston.


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