MAZON, which means “food” or “sustenance” in Hebrew, was the first national organization to rally the American Jewish community around the issue of hunger, and remains the only national Jewish organization dedicated exclusively to that same cause.
MAZON believes that we can end hunger in America and Israel by acting to ensure that hungry people have access to the nutritious food they need today and working to develop and advance long-term solutions so that no one goes hungry tomorrow. The three interrelated strategies we employ – advocacy & education, partnership grants and strategic initiatives – form the foundation for our holistic approach and symbolize our desire to embody the Jewish ideals: tzedakah (charity) and tikkun olam (healing the world).
MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger was founded by Leonard Fein in 1985, on the heels of the famine in Ethiopia. Mr. Fein created MAZON to be a bridge between the relative abundance of the American Jewish community and the desperate need felt by millions of hungry people around the world.
MAZON began soliciting donations by encouraging American Jews to donate a portion of the cost of life-cycle celebrations (weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, anniversaries, and other joyous occasions), a modern interpretation of the ancient rabbinical tradition of not allowing a celebration to begin until the community’s poor and hungry were seated and fed. Rabbis at synagogues all across the country responded to our call to action and encouraged their congregants to support MAZON.