Tuesday was one of the Rabbinically mandated fast days – the 17th of Tammuz; anniversary of the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem. We mark the destruction of Jerusalem in three weeks’ time (all welcome 8th August 8pm).
I was hungry and found myself thinking about the famine in Sudan. I listened out for coverage on the radio and the following day’s papers. There wasn’t much. The tales of destructions of the livings of some of the poorest in the world and the deaths of children in numbers not seen since 1992 was drowned out by reports of an 80 year old being hit by a paper plate covered in shaving foam.
For me, as an occasional voluntary faster, the key moment at the end of a day’s fasting is the moment when I first eat, or drink again. Water has taste, an apple zings with sweetness and sharpness, it’s a wonderful experience. And on, of course, entirely foreign to the experience of those whose lack of food is neither voluntary nor short-term. Anyone able to make a donation to the World Jewish Relief East Africa Food Crisis Appeal is urged to go to www.wjr.org.uk
For those who would rather respond to hunger in the Jewish community I also, this week, had the honour to meet with Rabbi Abraham Israel. Rabbi Israel is the founder of Hazon Yeshaya, the largest provider of emergency food supplies to the terrifying high number of those under the poverty line in Israel (as well as vocational training, dental clinics and much more). It was an inspirational meeting, more information about Hazon Yeshaya can be found at http://www.hazonyeshaya.org and donations to their UK charitable office can be from that web-site.