The Binah School reflections on #BJFC12

Creative Writing Excerpts on Food and Justice
Inspired by a day of learning at the Boston Jewish Food Conference
Written by prospective middle school students of The Binah School

The Binah School is a new all girls Orthodox middle and high school that encourages girls to fall in love with learning while engaging in real world projects driven by Torah study, rigorous academics and team building. The Binah School is a 21st century new school model building intellectual growth by combining creativity with innovation, critical thinking with problem solving, and moral development with interpersonal skills. In 2012-2013, the service learning will focus on the themes of food, culture and justice. The Binah School opens in the fall in Sharon, MA and is currently enrolling students in grades 7-9. To see our pilot classroom in action, go to www.thebinahschool.org.

Piece #1

You take a bite of pasta. It is ok, but nothing special. You don’t realize all of the trouble it took to make this dish. You don’t realize how many people would do so much for a simple bite of pasta. You don’t realize the centrality of your food.

Your mother gives you a piece of bread. You grab for it like a hungry wolf, eating it so quickly you don’t know where it went. You forget to chew it slowly, to save the taste of the bread that you rarely get. You know that you might not receive such a treat for days, living off the scraps of food that you manage to scavenge. You realize the centrality of your food.

You are visiting a shelter. You are carelessly munching on a granola bar while talking to an elderly woman living there and then you notice her hungry eyes, following the granola bar that you carelessly eat, like it is the greatest treasure in the world. You find yourself blushing and hand her the remains of your food. She looks like she will refuse, but then she changes her mind and takes your gift. You gradually realize the centrality and importance of your food.

Piece #2

Peas are really yummy
They are also really good for your tummy.
They are really tasty
They’re also juicy and have lots of shades of green.

Piece #3

Have you ever spun a machine before? Well, today I learned how. How it works is that there are two pedals. And you have to put your feet on the pedals and your feet go up and down while the spinner collects all the thread. It is like you are riding a bicycle and your feet are going round and round. Once you learn how to do it then you can make cool things. That is the spinner machine.

Piece #4

Mango
Ripe, golden flesh
Sweet, tart juice
On your tongue
Small form
Cut into piece
Ice-cold
Large amber brown pit,
Oval shaped
Smooth, with no marks.
Mango.

Piece #5

Why is there hunger
In places around the world
It’s really not fair.

Some people have food
They waste it, they don’t eat it
While others are starved.

They don’t think about
How others are so hungry
They should eat their food with joy.

People are crying
Crying of hunger and loss
Some have no food, none.

But we have plenty.
Why can’t people treat them fair?
Why don’t they give food?

Piece #6

Enjoyment

I love cooking for many reasons. The biggest reason is probably the occasions when something I make comes out good obviously. I also learn from my mistakes, but that’s besides the point. When people tell me they enjoy something I create, it makes me feel like I know what I’m doing and I can share nice things with people. I think it would be so much fun to share good food with people who don’t really have stuff to eat. If I learn to make good food, I want to help people be able to sit down and enjoy and appreciate what it’s like to eat what they really want, as opposed to something they found on the street.

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