Students Do Good For Yom Kippur

Jewish undergrads, fasting for holiday, donate money saved to relief organization

Jewish students at Harvard who are experiencing hunger during today’s Yom Kippur fast can know that they are doing their part to fight hunger across the globe.

Hillel and Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) have agreed to donate the money that would have funded Jewish students’ meals to MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, a nonprofit that grants money to hunger-relief organizations worldwide. Harvard will donate $2.46 per participant, according to Hillel’s vice president for community relations, Erica L. Farber ’07.

This is the third year Harvard Hillel has coordinated the Yom Kippur program, Farber said. She added that last year alone 320 students participated, raising nearly $800 for MAZON.

HUDS has similar food donation arrangements for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and the Christian 40-day period of Lent, said the director of marketing and communications for HUDS, Crista Martin.

As of yesterday afternoon, 179 students had signed up for this year’s effort. Students fasting today who have not yet registered can still do so by e-mailing farber@fas.harvard.edu.

Nearly 40 Hillels across the nation are currently involved with MAZON through fund-raising or raising awareness, according to MAZON’s communications and development associate, Heather G. Wolfson.

“College students are our future advocates and our current advocates. It’s imperative that they speak out for the 30 million Americans who are hungry on a daily basis,” Wolfson said.

Students participating in the program said they thought the HUDS arrangement reflected the symbolism of the holiday. “On Yom Kippur, when we choose to fast, it’s important that we think about all the people who have to fast everyday,” according to participant Brett M. Kalikow ’09.