According to the Department of Statistics, 105,000 families in Singapore are earning on average $1,500 per month.
This means that life is a daily struggle for some 387,000 Singapore citizens and permanent residents. After paying utilities, schooling, housing rental or LOAN instalments and medicals, they are left with about $5 a day for food and transport per family member.
When Joseph Gitler from Leket Israel came to Singapore in 2015 to talk to the members of the United Hebrew Congregation, Singapore, about Tikun Olam- literally meaning, 'Repair the world', I was shocked to hear such statistics about Singapore. This seemingly wealthy, well run Island actually has a much bigger inequality than we could imagine. This will be addressed in a talklater in May this year, which you can get tickets for. I started asking questions to myself:
How do they do it?
How does it feel to be their shoes?
I realised I wanted to find out. I turned to my Rabbi, Nathan Alfred, and said 'We must do something!'
A seed had been planted in my head, and as it grew some branches and started to bloom, the UHC Omer Challenge was born.
Whatever you think or feel, suspend your disbelief or judgement and find out for yourself!
This year, the United Hebrew Congregation of Singapore will be taking part in the UHC Omer Food Challenge where members of the community will be living on $5 for food a day for the week leading up to Shavuot. In a county where a cup of coffee can cost you more than that, this is certainly some challenge!
In 2015 we raised $2241.09 for four charities that our close to our heart and help both people in our local community in Singapore and for those who are struggling in Israel.
These charities are:
Leket Israel- following the Omer Challenge 2015, I went to the Leket fields in Israel and picked tomatoes for the needy.
National Food Bank of Singapore
One Singapore (Started by one of our members, Michael Switow)
Ground Up Initiative, Kampung Kampus
Please click on the links to find out more about each charity and what they aim to do!
This year, in 2016, the Omer Challenge will take place between the 5th and 10th June. We are hoping to raise the bar by getting more people on board to do the challenge and by creating a UHC Omer Challenge Cook book. This will bring together an array of international Jewish recipes from our members, which tell the story behind the nosh and which we will sell to raise additional funds for the four charities mentioned above. We also aim to run another Tikun Olam for one of these charities for the kids of the community to highlight the importance of not wasting food, giving back to the community and being a part of the society in which they live.
If you would like to take part in the challenge or would like more information, please click here or email Shani Ben-Aroya, orRabbi Nathan for general information or Jillian Glickman for the Omer Challenge Cook Book.
You can read my blog from last year to see how it went!
All you have to do is join and share this Facebook page with as many people as you can to raise awareness about what we aim to do and for donations for the chosen charities.
We will have one centralised donation bank which we will then split evenly between the four charities!
If you want to take part, feel free to post up photos, journals, videos and blurbs on this page as you are taking part in the challenge…
Thank you for helping to repair the world...