Dedicating Ourselves to Ending Campus Hunger
By: Rabbi Lily Solochek
On the first night of Chanukah (this year, December 18th) Jews around the world will gather in their homes or synagogues or Hillels or schools to light candles and begin the 8-day celebration of light. Chanukah celebrates both a historical military victory in ancient Israel, the rededication of the holy Temple, and a miracle of sacred oil that should have lasted one night lasting eight nights. Chanukah always falls around the winter solstice, the darkest time of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The long nights and late sunrises can take a toll on us. We push back this darkness by bringing light into our homes: the physical light of the chanukiyot (a nine-branched menorah for Chanukah), the emotional light of celebrating with friends and family, and the joyous light of sharing delicious food such as latkes and sufganiyot (jelly donuts).
One of my favorite Chanukah songs says, “Each of us is a small light, and all of us are a strong light.” Individually, each of us can bring more light into the world, but when we work together that light is strengthened and multiplied. Together we are strong enough to make lasting change on the world around us. Just as the shamash (helper) candle shares its light with the other candles, we can share our own light and resources with those around us.
For many college students experiencing food insecurity this time of year can be extra scary. On campus resources are often closed or limited during winter break, or students may be traveling home, adding to the financial burden of their education. At Nazun, we strive to help our students advocate for more resources on their campuses, to ensure that both during the semester and breaks there is equitable access to healthy food, and to help expand SNAP benefits and pass Hunger Free Campus Legislation. Like the shamash candle, our students bring to light the realities of campus hunger through education and advocacy; they volunteer countless hours throughout their busy semesters to bake and sell challah to raise funds for local food pantries. At Nazun, we know that together we are a brighter light, we are strong enough to end campus hunger.
If you would like to join our work please check out our website. You can join a current college chapter or start a chapter on your campus. You can do your B’nai Mitzvah service project with Nazun. You can host a community bake or donate directly to our work. We believe that college hunger is solvable and we hope you will join us in empowering student leaders to advocate and bake for change.