For Shabbat dinner last week, Daniel Sayani planned to eat rice and beans. He consulted Jewish law to determine the minimum amounts of bread and grape juice needed to bless the Friday night meal. Since his budget was just $1.50, saying the prayer over wine was out of the question.
Sayani chose to live on the average food stamp benefit of $31.50 for a week, joining activists around the country as part of the Jewish Community Food Stamp Challenge. He felt sick and cranky after cutting costly fresh fruits and vegetables – not to mention Starbucks coffee – out of his diet.
“It’s extremely humbling,” said Sayani, a cantor at Shore Parkway Jewish Center in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn and an intern at the Orthodox Jewish social justice organization Uri L’Tzedek.