YAD and New Roots Co-Sponsor First Friday Dinner

On September 2, YAD tried something new for their monthly First Friday Shabbat dinner and partnered with New Roots, a Kentucky food justice organization, and the J’s JOFEE program to educate people about food issues within the city and what Judaism has to say about food justice.

The dinner featured a menu using local and organic ingredients, many of which were donated by New Roots. The walls were decorated with quotes about food and food justice from Jewish sources such as Maimonides, the Talmud and the Bible, as well as a map showing where Louisville’s farmer’s markets and food deserts are located.

The dinner’s courses each featured a different discussion prompt to get participants thinking about food, including “food biographies” with stories about where different ingredients came from and dinner participants who shared their own food stories about the ways in which family tradition, finances and geographic location all influenced the food they ate and enjoyed growing up.

The dinner featured a mix of participants from the Jewish community and New Roots. “One of the things I think was most successful about the event is that everybody learned something new, and everybody met somebody new,” said Lisa Sobel-Berlow, who hosted the dinner. “It was a great opportunity for people to discuss an important topic in a friendly setting, and I could tell from the buzz of conversation that people were very interested in thinking about the way that this issue impacts both them personally and the city as a whole.”

The dinner was also an opportunity to promote the Gendler Grapevine Fresh Stop Market, the J’s partnership with New Roots. New Roots founder Karyn Moskowitz talked about the value of having fresh produce available in the neighborhood and the importance of making it accessible to all regardless of income.

Lisa Sobel-Berlow and Karyn Moskowitz look at a map of Louisville's food deserts and farmers' markets

Lisa Sobel-Berlow and Karyn Moskowitz look at a map of Louisville’s food deserts and farmers’ markets

“Seeing the Jewish community support this important cause was really inspiring,” she noted. “It is great to make connections to why food justice is part of our mandate to pursue justice. Members of the Jewish community at the dinner learned a lot from hearing the stories of people who grew up fresh food insecure or in food deserts, and our New Roots staff and supporters were thrilled to see how excited the Jewish community is to be part of this endeavor.”

The Gendler Grapevine Fresh Stop Market, which provides fresh produce on an affordable sliding scale, takes place every other Wednesday from 4:30-6:30 at the J’s Klein Pavilion.


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