There are three Jewish responses to hunger. You can eat. You can feel guilty about what you ate, or what you don’t want to eat, or about people who don’t get to eat. Or you can do something about making sure everyone else can eat, too.
Response one: If you feel like celebrating summer, you could do way worse than enjoying a slice of the sublime fresh strawberry shortbread pie at the Spinning J in Humboldt Park. Baker Dinah Grossman and her husband, chemist Parker Whiteway, opened the Spinning J in 2015 and imported an entire vintage soda fountain bar from Milwaukee. Now you can sit there with your sweetie and sip a soda or milkshake flavored with one of Grossman and Whiteway’s house-made syrups out of two straws, or enjoy a cup of soup or a sandwich (including the smoked trout biyali) and a cup of coffee. But don’t skip the pie.
Responses two and three: Mazon, a nonprofit devoted to alleviating hunger in both the United States and Israel, launched a mobile exhibit from its home base in Los Angeles back in December to educate more Jews about hunger. Now it has reached Chicago and is parked for the weekend at Beth Emet in Evanston. The first part of the 45-minute exhibit introduces visitors, via a video presentation, to some of the 42.2 million Americans who are struggling with hunger. Afterwards, they can engage with a series of interactive exhibits, which include, among other activities, a challenge to assemble a nutritious meal on the $1.40 allotted by the SNAP food stamp program, and discuss steps they, personally, can take. The rig can only accommodate 30 people at a time, so make your reservation here.