How to feed the hungry

On the fifth night of Sukkot, a panel gathered in The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ Wilshire Boulevard headquarters to discuss how to handle hunger both at home and across the country. Rabbi Noah Farkas of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino explained that it was an auspicious date for such a conversation. 

Consider, he said, the lulav that is waved during the holiday. It is an aguda (bundle) composed of different plant species, each of which has a specific set of qualities: One has a taste, one a smell, one neither and one both. These are supposed to correspond to the people of the Jewish community, Farkas said, some of whom are versed in Torah and some of whom know justice, some of whom know both and some neither. 

“And the rabbis ask the question, then, why do you have this last group, the group of people who just don’t seem to have any worth?” he said. “[They answer] by giving the line from the Torah that we are to take up all four species together and to make them one aguda, which means for me that if we want to change the world … we have to bind ourselves to each other and cover for each other’s failing and work together through all of our differences.” 

This seemed to be the theme of the night, which brought together four diverse panelists doing work both in Los Angeles and across the globe, whose strategies ranged from short-term emergency food aid to encouraging grass-roots activism to lobbying members of Congress directly on issues of international consequence. The panel’s title was “The Second Harvest 2.0: Innovative Strategies That Address Hunger Locally and Globally.” Part of Federation’s Community Engagement Initiative, the Sept. 24 event drew about 50 people.  

Farkas, founder of the group Netiya, which works to help communities of faith plant urban gardens, was joined by Robert Egger, whose L.A. Kitchen aims to tackle food waste while creating jobs and feeding the elderly, as well as Paula Daniels, former chair of the L.A. Food Policy Council and senior policy adviser to former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Rounding out the panel was Jonathan Zasloff, representing the American Jewish World Service, where he volunteers, and moderator Abby Leibman, president and CEO of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. 

The conversation covered topics from corn subsidies to international food aid, and it tended to focus on broad-based systemic thinking over immediate solutions to local issues. As Leibman remarked at one point, “A board member [once] said to me, ‘We’re not going to food bank our way out of hunger.’ ” 

Or, as Egger put it, “Sure, I want to fish the baby out of the water here, but who’s throwing the babies in the water upstream?” 

Hunger is a complex problem, the panelists agreed, and finding a solution to it is even more complicated. It doesn’t help that Congress passed a bill in September that, if enacted, would cut $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program over the course of the next 10 years. Leibman characterized this as “huge slap in the face … to all those who are struggling to recover from the terrible economy and to put food on the table for their family.” She also said that “as the nutrition safety net is being shredded … somebody, somewhere, somehow is going to have to pick up the slack.”

This means finding short-term solutions, like food banks, but also thinking long-term about creating systemic change. For Egger that means job creation, and his goal with L.A. Kitchen is to produce something that will feed the hungry today while also giving them the skills to look for work that will enable them to support themselves tomorrow. 

To that end, L.A. Kitchen will run a job-training program for people returning home from prison, pairing them with youth aging out of foster care and teaching them to prepare food in commercial kitchens. L.A. Kitchen will take seconds — produce that’s considered unsellable for cosmetic reasons — and turn it into meals for the city’s elderly. It’s an elegant system that creates, as Egger puts it, side-by-side learning and serving instead of a model that “emphasizes the redemption of the giver, not the liberation of the receiver.” 

Daniels looks at the issue from a civic angle. She said that Villaraigosa’s idea was to “use the market power of the city to influence what’s being produced,” creating a demand for healthy produce and then using a decentralized system of local food hubs to distribute it.  In effect, this means using the government dollars that purchase food for schools and hospitals to incentivize local production of that produce, and then creating a smaller-scale system to distribute it throughout the city — which means jobs in picking and packing, driving and distributing as well as preparing and serving. 

The issue, both in America and around the world, panelists agreed, was rarely that there weren’t enough calories; it’s almost always an issue of getting those calories into hungry mouths. 

Zasloff, who is also a rabbinic student at the ALEPH ordination program, closed out the panel by reminding the audience that charity is not a spectator sport, especially in Jewish tradition. He spoke of a blessing that thanks God for knowledge and awareness, and urged everyone in the room to acknowledge their own blessings, and to try once a day to think or do something about hunger.

“Do one thing every day, and that will make you more aware, it will connect you in with what else is happening, and it will begin to …  motivate you to do something and pursue your own path, that will allow you to link up with other people.”

Hungarian court acquits Nazi hunter Zuroff of libel

Nazi hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff was acquitted by a Budapest court of libel charges leveled against him by an accused Hungarian Nazi war criminal.

Zuroff, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, was acquitted Tuesday by Judge Viktor Vadasz two days before his accuser, Dr. Sandor Kepiro, is scheduled to go on trial in Budapest Municipal Court. Kepiro is charged with being involved in the murder of more than1,200 Jews, Serbs and Gypsies during a raid by the wartime Hungarian Gendarmerie at Novi Sad in 1942.

Kepiro, 97, filed suit after Zuroff, the head of the Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, submitted documents to the Hungarian courts in 2006 regarding Kepiro’s alleged role in the murders of 1,246 civilians in Novi Sad. Most of the victims were taken to the Danube River and shot in January 1943.

Kepiro was found guilty of involvement twice—once by the pre-Nazi Hungarian courts, and again after the war, in 1946. By then he allegedly had fled via Austria to Argentina. He returned to Budapest in 1996, and Zuroff, who has been searching for Nazi war criminals under the Wiesenthal Center’s Operation Last Chance program, located him.

In his verdict, Vadasz noted that Zuroff had acted in good faith by first contacting the Hungarian prosecutors after discovering that Kepiro had returned to Hungary from Argentina before notifying the media.

“Needless to say, I am relieved to have been acquitted, but the most important issue is Kepiro’s guilt, which will be hopefully established by a criminal court in his trial which begins Thursday morning,” Zuroff said in a statement. “This has been a long and frustrating process, which began in the summer of 2006, but I am hopeful that justice will finally be achieved. That is what the victims of the massacre in Novi Sad deserve and that is what I have been fighting for from the very beginning of this process.”

L.A.’s Top Ten Mensches — big hearted Angelenos

“It is hard to convey the special sense of respect, dignity and approbation that can be conveyed by calling someone ‘a real mensch,'” writes Leo Rosten in “The Joys of Yiddish.”

The Yiddish word infuses the basic German denotation — “person” — with an almost indefinable connotation. A mensch is a person who is upright, honorable, decent, as Rosten writes, a person to admire and emulate.

Boy, could we use some now.

As the last pieces of 2008 crash down around us, there is ample evidence that mensch-hood (more properly, menschlikayt) is in short supply, at least judging by headlines. Worse, the Bernard Madoff scandal revealed a disturbing tendency to hide chicanery under the guise of do-goodery. Madoff, his middlemen and some charitable boards were doing good while doing wrong — either out of evil, in Madoff’s case, or, at best perhaps, just out of gullibility and incompetence.

So we look to The Journal’s fourth annual Top Ten Mensches list to brighten our spirits and boost our hopes for a better year. As the stories here demonstrate, these are people who in the course of lives no less hectic and demanding than our own, facing temptations no less alluring than those we all confront, manage to reach out and help others, making the world a better place, day in and day out.

The Jewish Journal created this list as a response to all those lists extolling fame, money, power and hot-ness. We honor these special ten because they are just people — menschen, to use the proper Yiddish plural — who understand the power and possibility of what just one person can do to help others.

Thank you to all our mensches, and to all who offered up names for consideration. Maybe next year we’ll all be candidates for the list….

Gabriel Halimi: Partying For a Cause

It was a stuttering problem that turned Gabriel Halimi into a mensch.

“I had a really bad stutter when I was kid,” the now 27-year-old recalled recently. “My therapist said I needed to speak up in class and try to get myself to talk more, and then I started falling into leadership activities because it forced me to talk.”

Dressed in a pink shirt and a brown blazer, Halimi looks much like the young professionals he now helps lead in the 4-year-old Beverly Hills-based nonprofit, Society of Young Philanthropists (SYP).

By day, Halimi works at ACG, a real estate consulting firm. But he recently passed the California Bar exam and said he hopes to be practicing as an attorney by February.

In addition to working full time and attending Loyola Law School, Halimi is one of 25 young professionals who helped found SYP and is currently serving as one of its board members. The philosophy behind SYP, Halimi said, is simple.

“We wanted to do well in our work,” he said. “We wanted to party, and we wanted to do something bigger than ourselves, and that’s kinda where SYP was born.”

Halimi grew up in Los Angeles, attending Temple Emanuel Community Day School before eventually transferring to Beverly Hills public schools. But Halimi said it wasn’t until college that his Jewish roots really took hold.

At UC Santa Barbara, Halimi joined the Jewish fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi, and became immersed in its world of partying and doing good.

“He was really seen as a leader even among his peers,” said Elishia Shokrian Bolour, a childhood friend who, along with Halimi, helped found SYP.

However, Halimi insists that working with SYP has demanded little self-sacrifice. Throughout the year, SYP holds events — big, bold, boisterous events — and rather than have all the money go to the DJ, the club or the liquor, the majority of the proceeds (about 70 percent) goes to charity.

“We just kinda wanted to get people to think in more philanthropic terms,” Halimi said. “If you’re going to be doing this anyway [partying], you might as well be doing it for a good cause.”

On May 14, 2005, Halimi and his friends launched SYP’s first event by pulling all their resources together and throwing a huge bash in Beverly Hills.

Approximately 500 young Angelenos — mostly ages 18-30 — raised close to $70, 000 for three Jewish organizations: IMA Foundation, which is dedicated to disaster relief in Israel; the educational foundation Magbit, which helps those in Israel gain a higher education; and Beit T’Shuvah, a Jewish drug rehabilitation center in Culver City.

Halimi said his favorite SYP cause so far, however, has been one that doesn’t directly involve the Jewish community: Darfur.

“It was just so beautiful,” Halimi said, referring to the $45,000 SYP donated to American Jewish World Service’s relief work in Darfur. “We could see beyond ourselves and recognize that there are a lot of people out there that could use our help.”
“It goes to the principle of tikkun olam,” healing the world, he said.

SYP is not a Jewish organization, although most of those involved have grown up within the Jewish community, and the nonprofit does not make any outright political statements.

“We don’t want to take any kind of political stance that might alienate someone,” he said.

The organization chooses the causes it supports democratically, allowing every member to have a say in the direction of the nonprofit.

In addition to SYP, Halimi is involved in 30 Years After, a nonprofit dedicated to uniting the Iranian American Jewish community, and the Lev Foundation, which promotes balanced, responsible living and is named in honor of Daniel Levian, a recent victim of a drunk driving accident.

When asked, Halimi said he doesn’t consider himself a mensch — he’s not worthy, he claimed — but he offered up this definition of one: “Someone who can see past themselves.”

But just ask Rhoda Weisman, executive director of the Professional Leaders Project, an organization dedicated to developing the next generation of Jewish leaders. She said, “In all honesty, if you were to ask me what a definition of a mensch is, I would name you Gabe.”

— Lilly Fowler, Contributing Writer

Kim Krowne: ‘Hakuna Matata’Means Bringing Hope to Tanzanian Kids

Kim Krowne thought she’d be attending medical school. Instead, the 24-year-old Northridge native, a graduate of Sierra Canyon and Milken Community High School, spent most of 2007 and 2008 in Tanzania, improving the lives of orphaned children and many villagers. She’s been home for the past several months and plans to return to Africa in January.

ALTTEXTOnce a “total planner,” Krowne’s current philosophy of life is more hakuna matata — “there’s no problem” in Swahili, a language she speaks fluently. “Obviously, this was not my plan. But I love it. There’s so much work to be done,” she said.

The focus of her passion is the Matumaini Child Care Center, a small three-room building in the village of Rau that houses 20 children, ages 6 to 15. Krowne discovered it in the fall of 2006 while taking a year off after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where she fulfilled her premed requirements while majoring in the sociology and anthropology of health, concentrating on Africa.

At that time, the nongovernmental, nonreligious and nonprofit Matumaini Center cared for eight children whose parents had either died of HIV/AIDS, were alcoholic or couldn’t afford their care. Newly opened, it desperately needed funds for food and school fees, less than $20 annually per student. Krowne immediately e-mailed family and friends and raised $1,000.

She came home in March 2007 knowing she would return. Her last week there, she had met Michelle Kowalczyk, 27 and a nurse, and asked her to look after the kids, who then numbered 20. Kowalczyk also became enamored.

The following December, Krowne and Kowalczyk together formed a nonprofit, Knock Foundation (, to help solicit donations and grants. They also signed a five-year contract with Matumaini (meaning hope in Swahili) to fund the nonprofit and become decision-making partners.

When they returned to Tanzania they facilitated a host of improvements, including providing the children with nutritious meals, medical and dental care and school uniforms and supplies and paying salaries to the orphanage workers.

They also had bunk beds built in the rooms, upgraded the latrines, improved the general cleanliness and constructed a chicken coop on the property.

Their reach extends as well to the greater community in Rau and nearby villages, with the goal of making families more self-sufficient. One such effort, dubbed the Piggery Project, has provided 50 families with supplies needed to build a pig hut, as well as two pigs to raise. The families will keep some of the proceeds from the sale of the pigs and reinvest the remainder. They hope to expand the project.

They have also renovated a government medical clinic and dispensary in Shimbwe, the only health facility available to serve thousands of people in the Kilimanjaro region. In addition to repairing the clinic’s roof and painting its rooms, they purchased laboratory materials and medications.

Plus, they organized a two-day life skills and HIV/AIDS seminar in conjunction with a local NGO that was attended by 100 women and children. It will become a yearly event.

To date, Krowne and Kowalczyk have raised about $85,000 and need an additional $35,000 for 2009 to sustain the current projects. They would also like to construct a new building for Matumaini, start another orphanage and help provide secondary and university education for the children, among other dreams.

Kowalczyk marvels at Krowne’s ability to transcend barriers. “Kim has been able to reach people who otherwise would have been untouched,” she said. “We’ll be doing this for the rest of our lives.”

To make a donation or for more information, visit, call (818) 831-6075 or e-mail

— Jane Ulman, Contributing Editor

Zucky’s and SOVA — knishes and compassion

Hy and Zucky Altman founded the SOVA food pantry program at a vacant Santa Monica bar in 1983. On opening day, the Altmans put all the food they had on the counter — bagels, soup, canned goods — waiting to serve the impoverished Jewish seniors they had gotten to know in the beachfront neighborhood.

A Latino walked in looking for a meal.

“Hy looked at me and said, ‘He’s not Jewish,'” recalled his wife, Zucky Altman, 89. “I said, ‘So what? He’s hungry.’ From that moment on, we decided we would just feed everybody.”

SOVA’s history and its connection to Zucky’s Delicatessen — the iconic Googie-style Ocean Park restaurant where the Altmans fed needy residents for more than 20 years — are the topics of a new documentary, “Knishes and Compassion,” which will premiere online Sept. 21, the organization’s 25th anniversary.

Filmmaker Leron Kornreich, who produces personal life-story films through her company,

Food prices squeeze Israel’s needy

TEL AVIV (JTA) – It’s mid-afternoon and Michael Dahan is buying food for his first meal of the day. With rising food prices compounding his already dire economic situation, it has become his habit to skip meals, he admits.

“What can I do?” the unemployed 49-year-old says with a shrug, holding the small carton of milk he has just bought at a grocery store in the rundown Shapira neighborhood of south Tel Aviv. “I hardly have anything to get by on once I’ve paid rent and utilities.”

A block away, on a sidewalk strewn with cigarette butts and plastic bags, Maria Arnov, 28, an immigrant from Latvia and mother of two, says food prices have changed the way she shops. Arnov goes to the store less often and cuts corners wherever she can, like buying cheaper frozen meat and not buying the type of rice her family favors because its price has doubled in the past three months.

Israel, like many parts of the world, has seen food staples such as meat, rice and vegetables rise significantly. Its poor, already struggling to make ends meet, have been hardest hit—along with the nonprofit groups that serve them.

Although it is rare for Israelis to go hungry, food insecurity is a growing problem in their nation as traditional social safety nets fall short and nearly a quarter of Israeli families find themselves subsisting on less nutritious diets than before.

Many of the nonprofit groups that deliver food to the needy say they have been reeling from the one-two punch of rising prices and a sinking dollar.

In Israel, groups that rely in large part on funds raised in the United States have been forced by the dollar’s plunge to cut back on services, sometimes reducing the number of families they serve by as much as 40 percent.

In Beersheva, the social assistance group Beit Moriah has had to reduce the number of food packages it delivers to families every month to 200, down from 500 last year.

At From the Heart, an organization in Rishon LeZion that runs a food distribution project called Lev Chesed, volunteers are overwhelmed by requests they cannot meet.

“We have several hundred people on our waiting lists, but it’s not financially possible to help them,” said Ronen Ziv, the director of the group, which provides food packages to 700 families per week. “We have no government assistance.”

With budgets becoming leaner, government officials for the first time are pushing to develop a policy to combat food insecurity. The first-ever interministerial report on the subject was completed recently, and legislation is pending in the Knesset for a new council on food security to be created to develop coordinated policies to tackle the problem.

The ministerial report, which is pending Cabinet approval, recommends increasing annual state funding for nutrition and food insecurity to $10 million to $15 million from the current $1 million.

“There needs to be an appropriate range of government responses, from funding food assistance programs, to reducing state Value Added Tax on staple foods, to ensuring that having basic foods is seen as a right for all Israelis,” said Batya Kallus, the director of the Forum to Address Food Insecurity and Poverty in Israel.

The forum, which conducts research, engineered the establishment of Leket, Israel’s first national food bank.

Established last year, Leket is based on the model of U.S. community food banks. It attempts to coordinate and streamline the efforts of many nonprofit food agencies. In the past decade the number of such groups has grown to about 400, which collectively distribute some 20,000 tons of food per year.

“What we have been seeing in purchasing food to be donated is that people are paying a huge range of prices, from rock bottom to retail,” Kallus said. “We have tried to make sense of that by creating a central purchasing division where organizations can come to Leket and we offer them a wide basket of foods they can purchase that we offer at the lowest possible prices.”

In a 2003 study on food insecurity in Israel commissioned by Leket from the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute, researchers found that some 22 percent of Israelis are unable to provide for their basic nutritional needs on a daily basis.

A father of eight in Jerusalem whose family has slipped into poverty after emigrating from the United States many years ago says he lives with food insecurity every day.

“When there is food we are happy, when there isn’t we are not,” said the man, who asked not to be identified. “It’s not a matter of decision-making. When there’s just no money, there is no food.”

He says there are days when the family goes without food.

Ido Nachum, a spokesman for Israel’s welfare ministry, says he hopes the interministerial report’s recommendations will be adopted, including increased state investment and oversight of nonprofits, the establishment of the national council on food insecurity, expanding a hot lunch program for schoolchildren and ensuring government subsidies for those who cannot afford to feed their families adequately.

Far from the corridors of national decision-making, Dahan, the unemployed man in south Tel Aviv, shuffles away with his small bag of provisions, hoping for better days.

Feeding the Hungry

“We have slaves to help,” Jerry Rabinowitz, the Friday co-captain of the North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry, announces. “We Jews know something about slaves.”

The “slaves” this morning are my sons Gabe, 13, and Jeremy, 11, who have a day off school. They are fulfilling part of a community service requirement from Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School in Northridge. They are also fulfilling the Jewish commandment to feed the hungry.

Jerry, who has been there at 6 a.m. every Friday for the past 15 years, gives my sons a tour of the pantry, located in a small building belonging to First Christian Church of North Hollywood. The foods to be distributed are already packed, double brown paper bags filled with pasta, beans, rice, applesauce, canned fruit, canned vegetables and cereal. A Ziploc bag of frozen chicken legs, precooked, is added to each order.Jerry explains the procedure, “When a client comes, hand him one of the bags,” he says. “And ask if he’d like extra bread and a sack of vegetables.”

The bread is donated by Ralphs, Vons and Brown’s Bakery. Volunteers from the Encino B’nai B’rith pick it up seven days a week. The vegetables come from the wholesale produce mart downtown.

“One young man travels downtown twice a week, at 5 a.m., to bring back surplus vegetables for us,” Jerry explains. “Another lady brings us three 40-pound boxes of bananas every Friday, which she buys herself.”

“Here,” he says to the boys, “put two of these bananas in every bag, till we run out. And if you do a good job, we’ll increase your salary by 20 percent after the first hour.”

“I wish that would happen with my allowance,” Gabe answers.

But there are no salaries or raises at the North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry. It is run strictly by volunteers, about 150 of them, from seven churches and two synagogues in the East San Fernando Valley. The pantry falls under the auspices of the Valley Interfaith Council, part of a coalition of 19 food pantries spread across the Valley.

“There is a big poverty problem in the San Fernando Valley,” says Eileen Parker, assistant director of community support services for the Valley Interfaith Council. “The homeless and unemployed are only a small percentage of the people we serve. Most are working poor, people trying to make ends meet on a minimum-wage job, sometimes two and three minimum-wage jobs. Or senior citizens or the disabled who are living on fixed incomes.”

The North Hollywood Pantry hands out approximately 180 bags of food every Friday and 120 every Monday, which feed a total of 4,000 people each month. About 12 percent of those bags are distributed to the homeless and include only ready-to-eat items, plus extra drinks and personal hygiene items.

“The average person really needs what we give him,” says Sarah Alexander, the other Friday co-captain, who’s in charge of all the government paper work.

“We never say no. We are not judges,” Jerry adds.

While the food is distributed at First Christian, it is warehoused, sorted and packed into bags in the basement of Temple Beth Hillel. There, primarily on Friday mornings, a group of 15 mostly retired men, ranging in age from 54 to 83 – who could be playing softball, tennis or golf – unload and stock about 25,000 pounds of nonperishable food per month, which translates to 600 to 1,000 cases of canned goods. Of this group, Jerry Rosenstock holds the longevity record of 14 years. “Life in these latter years has been good to my wife and me. We feel fortunate and would like to help people, especially children, hungry children.” Ted Field, the newest recruit, is starting his fifth week. “The rabbi [Jim Kaufman] shamed me into it,” he confesses.

The food comes from a variety of sources – the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, the Yom Kippur food drive at the two synagogues, the Post Office food drive, and donations from nearby public and private schools, including Grant High School, Millikan Middle School, the Oakwood School, Campbell Hall and Laurence 2000. Additional food is purchased with monetary contributions.

After unloading and stocking the food, the men gather in the Temple’s music room for coffee, sweet rolls and conversation. They begin with a prayer, which, this week, Fred Bender offers. “I want to thank God for this nice fellowship and for the opportunity to serve men and women. And for the health that enables us old-timers to work.”

The group worries about each other’s health and celebrates each other’s simchas. Today is Stan Goldman’s birthday, evidenced by a cake with two candles. “One for yesterday and one for tomorrow,” Stan explains. They also solve the world’s problems, assigning specific discussion leaders each week. Today, naturally, the topic is the Israeli-Palestinian situation. Co-leader Harry Gibson begins: “This is a hot topic. Where do you start?” But they have no trouble, giving their opinions as they go around the table in order, in an impassioned and occasionally feisty pro-Israel discussion.

The food pantry’s smooth operation also depends on other dedicated volunteers. Stella Kornberg and her group of helpers regularly pack the grocery bags. Volunteers from the churches cart the bags from the temple to the food pantry twice a week. One family supplies a truck and driver once a month for large pickups from the L.A. Regional Food Bank.

The North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry first opened its doors in March 1983, founded as an outgrowth of the Valley Interfaith Council’s Task Force on Community Emergency Needs and in response to the 1982-83 recession. The five founding religious institutions include Adat Ari El, Temple Beth Hillel, First Christian Church, First Presbyterian Church and St. Michael’s & All Angels Episcopal Church. Marge Luke, a founder and member of First Presbyterian, says, “We thought the recession of ’82-’83 was a temporary thing and that people would figure out a better way to distribute canned goods.” She pauses. “But the need never ended.”

And never has her involvement. Her position is community contact, which she defines as “doing the things other people hate to do.” She adds, “I’m 80 years old.”

“Go outside to that van and carry in those grocery bags,” Jerry Rabinowitz says to his “slaves” toward the end of their Friday morning shift. They get a physical workout lugging the additional 20- to 25-pound bags that have arrived from the temple.

“What happens if you run out of bags of food?” Jeremy asks.

“We go to the temple and pack more,” Jerry answers. “And if the temple ever runs out, which it hasn’t, I’d go to Ralphs and buy food.”

His answer impresses my sons.

“My father had a candy store in Brooklyn, and we lived and ate in the rear,” he explains. “I remember as a little child that most evenings my father would take a person off the street and bring him home to dinner. That person had to be fed before my father ate. That’s why I do this.”