That fall, the company that was in their sights was Trader Joe’s.
Perfect, I thought. The Jewish community loves Trader Joe’s.
When those first #tomatorabbis got back from Florida, they got to work mobilizing their communities. Synagogues around the country spent Sukkot learning about Immokalee and protesting for change.
Rabbis in Philadelphia set up a sukkah of justice outside of one store, and at a protest at the Trader Joe’s headquarters in California, our chaverim plastered the building with a letter to the company’s leadership signed by over 100 rabbis and cantors.
In February, during our second #tomatorabbis delegation, the first Trader Joe’s was set to open in Florida, in Naples, right on Immokalee road. Ahead of a weekend of planned nationwide protests, we took the delegation to the store. We sounded the shofar, hung a CIW postcard as the store’s symbolic mezuzah, and prayed “may this store open for justice.”
I flew back from sunny Florida to freezing New Jersey. I was stopped at a traffic light the next day when my phone started buzzing.
As human rights activists, it’s not often that we get such a tangible win, and it took a moment for the meaning of those words to sink in.
Trader Joe’s had joined the Fair Food Program.