Madison Slobin and Becca Schwenk are chosen family – best friends entwined by culture, religion and a unique type of kinship. This powerful connection not only to one another, but to their faith and community of radical young Jews is what sparked their initiative, Shiva Delivers.
In June 2020, amid the landscape of a pandemic, the world exploded in outrage at the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. People of all races, backgrounds, religions and social classes navigated their unique roles in the revolution. Some took to the streets, some made donations, some read books to deepen their understanding of systemic anti-Blackness. It was — and continues to be — a moment of collective rage and resistance.
Schwenk is an equity and inclusion consultant and creative. Slobin is a queer activist, social justice educator and community leader. Their shared passion for justice, liberation and radical Judaism led them to foundShiva Delivers, a food-based response to the Black uprising. As active community members and graduates of a socialist Jewish summer camp in their teens, Schwenk and Slobin are perfect organizers for a Canada-wide movement of Jewish folks in solidarity with Black grief.
Shiva Delivers is an initiative that follows the Jewish tradition of sitting shiva. In Judaism, sitting shiva is the act of mourning for a period of seven days after someone’s passing.
“During shiva, the community comes together to support a person or family enduring loss; we cook for them, make sure their needs are met, sit with them and participate in a daily prayer ceremony alongside them,” Schwenk said.