Presentation on theme: "Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 2 Seder Means “Order” Reader: The holiday of Passover tells the ancient story of the Jewish people’s liberation from slavery."— Presentation transcript:
Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 2 Seder Means “Order” Reader: The holiday of Passover tells the ancient story of the Jewish people’s liberation from slavery in Egypt. This Passover, we will tell the modern-day story of liberating American people from the hardship of hunger. We will tell this story in a specific order, following the traditional Jewish format of a “Seder.”
Freedom from Oppression Reader: Though Passover celebrates the Jewish people’s freedom from slavery in Egypt, it is truly a celebration of freedom from all slavery, all oppression, and all hardship. Yet in our world today, there is still oppression, hardship, and slavery. Many of us, even in the United States, the freest country in the world, do not have all the freedoms we celebrate. And so for those among us who feel the oppression of hunger, today’s Hunger Seder is a chance to understand that this oppression and hardship is unacceptable and something that we, together, can change. Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 3
Freedom from Oppression Leader: As we learn in Pirke Avot, the teachings of our fathers, לא עליך המלאכה לגמור, ולא אתה בן חורין להבטל ממנה Lo alecha ham’lacha ligmore, v’lo ata ben chorin l’hibatil memena. You are not obligated to finish the work [of perfecting the world] but neither are you allowed to desist from it. Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 4
Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 5 Kadesh: The Wine Reader: During the traditional Seder, we join together and drink 4 cups of wine, a cup for each of the promises of freedom G-d made to the Israelites as G-d led them out from slavery in Egypt.
Reader: Today, we join together and make 4 new promises; promises not about breaking the shackles of Egyptian slavery but about breaking the bonds of hunger. Let us read together these 4 promises that we make to one another: All: 1. We will feed our communities today. 2. We will seek out those in need and act to nourish ourselves and our neighbors. 3. We will use our power to persuade our leaders to act to abolish hunger in our communities. 4. We will create a world where all Americans and all people are free from hunger. Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 6 The Four Cups
Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 7 The First Cup: We will feed our communities today Leader: We lift our glasses and read the blessing over the wine together (drink wine after the blessing): Baruch ata, adonai Eloheinu melech haolam borei pri hagafen Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d, ruler of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine. ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם בורא פרי הגפן
The First Cup: We will feed our communities today Reader: Each time we volunteer at a soup kitchen, spend a day sorting boxes at the food bank, or donate extra food from our cupboards, our actions are priceless – we easily see how they help others in that moment. The Talmud, the writings of Judaism’s oral law and commentary, holds up this action and declares, Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 8 This is one important way we fulfill our promise to feed our communities today. Whoever saves a life, it is as if (s)he saved the entire world.
The First Cup: We will feed our communities today Leader: Last year, at Seders like this one, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, elected leaders, advocates for social justice, champions for feeding the hungry, students and families came together to learn about childhood hunger to urge Congress to pass the Healthy, Hunger- Free Kids Act. Reader: On December 13, 2010 President Obama signed this important piece of legislation. This legislation reaches more than 31 million children who receive school lunches, helping to put an end to childhood hunger. Reader: Today, we celebrate this victory and use it as a stepping stone towards fully overcoming hunger in our communities and our country. Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 9
The Second Cup: We will seek out those in need and act to nourish ourselves and our neighbors Leader: We lift our glasses and read the blessing over the wine together (drink wine after the blessing): Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 10 Baruch ata, adonai Eloheinu melech haolam borei pri hagafen Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d, ruler of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine. ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך בורא פרי הגפן העולם
The Second Cup: We will seek out those in need and act to nourish ourselves and our neighbors Leader: We were slaves in Egypt and G-d brought us out from there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. If G-d had not brought us out from Egypt, then we, our children, and our children’s children might still have been slaves in Egypt. Even though we have told the story and know it well, it is still our duty to tell it. And the more we tell it, the more we are to be praised. (Avadim Hayinu – We were Slaves) Reader: The Second Cup is our promise to see those in need and act to nourish ourselves and our neighbors. We drink this cup to share the story of the oppression of hunger, and to look forward to a time of freedom from hunger. Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 11
Maggid : The Story of the Exodus from Egypt Reader : In a traditional Passover Seder, the second cup precedes “Maggid,” the telling of the story of the exodus from Egypt. Rabbi Gamliel taught that when we tell the story of the Exodus, we must also explain the meaning of the most important symbols. Hunger Seder 5771– 2011Page 12
The Roasted Shank Bone: A symbol of sacrifice Reader: The Passover sacrifice, a roasted shank bone, is a reminder that during the 10 th plague, G-d “passed over” the homes of the Israelites, sparing the first born. When we were slaves in Egypt, G-d told us to put lamb’s blood on our door to escape the slaying of the first born. Today, there is no lamb’s blood that can insulate members of any tribe, race, ethnicity, or religion from hunger. All: G-d led the Israelites out of Egypt with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. May we contribute strong hands and outstretched arms to support those around us who are in need. Hunger Seder 5771– 2011Page 13
Reader: We eat this matzah and say Ha Lachmah Anya – this is the bread of affliction, baked on the backs of the Israelites as they fled from Egyptian slavery. All: Matzah is a symbol of not being ‘ready,’ but of having to do something anyway. Leader: We join together in the blessing over the matzah (lift up the matzah and eat a piece after the blessing): Matzah: the bread of affliction and of freedom Hunger Seder 5771– 2011Page 14 ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו על אכילת מצה Baruch ata Adonai Elohenu, melech ha’olam, asher ked’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tze’vanu al achelat matzah Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d, ruler of the universe, who has made us holy with G-d’s commandments and commanded us to eat matzah.
Maror: the bitterness of servitude and oppression Leader: Another important Passover symbol is maror, bitter herbs. The Israelites called Pharaoh ‘maror’ because he embittered their lives. When we eat these herbs we partake in the bitterness of servitude and oppression. All: It is our obligation, as people and as members of this community, to go what we can to lighten the load of those less fortunate. May this maror awaken us to the bitterness of hunger that continues to exist in our world today. Leader: We join together in the blessing over the maror (lift up maror and eat a piece after blessing): Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 15 ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו על אכילת מרור Baruch ata Adonai Elohenu, melech ha’olam, asher ked’shanu b’mitzvatav v’tze’vanu al achelat maror. Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d, ruler of the universe, who has made us holy with G-d’s commandments and commanded us to eat bitter herbs.
Charoset: a symbol of mortar and oppression Reader: On Passover, we also eat charoset, a sweet mix of apples, nuts and cinnamon. Although charoset tastes sweet, it symbolizes the mortar the Jewish people used to build and keep the bricks together when they were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt. During the Passover Seder, we eat a sandwich of maror and charoset. Today, this sandwich represents the sweetness of the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act mixed with the bitterness of hunger that continues to exist, all sandwiched between matzah – the bread of affliction and of freedom. Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 16
The Face of Hunger Today All : So where is the hunger that continues to exist in our country today and how can we come to understand how each of our stories fit into the vast and complex reality of hunger in the United States? Reader: If we could reduce the population of the United States to a town of 100 people, it would look like this: 17 people struggle with hunger and undernourishment 12 people must turn to food banks or soup kitchens for food 8 people do not have a grocery store or fresh market within 1 mile of their home Approximately 326 pounds of food per person are uneaten and go to waste each year 68 people are overweight or obese, and each of these 68 people are more likely than not to be struggling with hunger 14 people receive SNAP (food stamp) benefits to buy groceries, and would likely be unable to adequately feed themselves and their family without this support An additional 9 people are eligible for SNAP but not using SNAP benefits Each month, 3 women rely on WIC (Women, Infants & Children) benefits in order to prevent nutrition-related health problems in pregnancy, infancy and early childhood Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 17
Making the Story of Passover Relevant to our World Today Reader : Seeing the faces of hunger in our midst helps us glimpse the oppression of hunger surrounding us. But alone, these numbers do not tell us the full story of hunger. The Passover Seder teaches of the Exodus from Egypt, where we are challenged to be a part of that story. We personally engage with the text to ask the Four Questions, learn of the Four Children, and say aloud together the Ten Plagues, to make the pain of slavery relevant to our world today. This is the challenge of the Passover Seder, and the challenge we now begin in today’s Hunger Seder. Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 18
Ma Nishtana – The Four Questions Leader: The Four Questions we ask at our Hunger Seder challenge us to consider – “Ma Nishtana” – what is different about this night, about this moment in time. When we all can ask these four questions, only then can we understand the real meaning of hunger. Why is this year different from all other years? 1) All : Why is this year different from all other years? Reader : This year we celebrate the success of passing the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, a law that allows millions of children to access healthy, nutritious meals through school and summer programs. While we celebrate this success, we also have to be concerned about the possibility of funding cuts to important anti-hunger programs like WIC (Women, Infants and Children) and SNAP (food stamps). We want to make sure that hungry families struggling to survive do not suffer because of the government’s focus on lowering the deficit. Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 19
Ma Nishtana – The Four Quest ions Why a Hunger Seder? 2) All : Why a Hunger Seder? Reader : Last year, after two successive years of the Child Nutrition Seder mobilization and other efforts to raise awareness about and advocate for the reduction of childhood hunger through school feeding programs, we achieved success with the passage of the Health, Hunger-Free Kids Act. But this law only covers one dimension of hunger in America. More than 50 million people in the United States still do not receive the food they need for a minimally healthy life. Funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, aka food stamps) was partially cut in order to pay for the child nutrition bill. President Obama has taken the first step by reinstating the funding for SNAP in his budget proposal, but now Congress must do the same. We must raise our voices up so the issue of hunger is understood by all, especially our elected officials. Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 20
Ma Nishtana – The Four Questions Why are so many people hungry when there are government programs to support them? 3) All : Why are so many people hungry when there are government programs to support them? Reader : While government programs like SNAP and school lunches are important, they can only help those who are enrolled. Sometimes people are not aware the programs exist or that they qualify. Other times the process to enroll is so complicated that people just give up. And for some, especially older Americans, the stigma attached to asking for assistance is so great, they choose to suffer in silence. This is why it is of utmost importance to expand access to these programs and streamline the process to make it easier for people to participate. How can we talk about hunger and ignore the obesity epidemic in the United States? 4) All : How can we talk about hunger and ignore the obesity epidemic in the United States? Reader : In many cases, obesity is a result of hunger. Eating healthy, nutritious meals costs more, so low-and moderate-income families often choose cheap, unhealthy foods. In addition, those in need tend to live in “food deserts,” where healthy, fresh foods are scarce. Nutritious food must be easily accessible and affordable before we can address the epidemic of obesity in a meaningful way. Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 21
The Four Children Leader : The four children have four different perspectives on hunger and have all experienced hunger differently. Each has a particular reaction to what (s)he is learning, based on past experiences and opinions. None are right, none are wrong, but helping each of them understand hunger is critical to overcoming hunger in the United States. (The First Child, read together) (The First Child, read together): I want to help. Teach me about hunger, and how I can help. Reader : To this person, reply that the most important thing to know is hunger does not need to exist. Hunger is not a problem of enough food, but of creating ways for people to access and afford food that is healthy and sustaining. Provide her with information about programs that help people access healthy food, such as SNAP, WIC, school food programs and senior feeding programs. Teach her how to visit with her public officials, write letters to the editor, organize petitions, and join with others to impact real social change. Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 22
The Four Children (The Second Child, read together) (The Second Child, read together): But I’m not hungry. What does this have to do with me? Reader : To this person, reply that although he does not experience the oppression of hunger daily, it is only when none are hungry that we are truly free, only when none are oppressed that we can truly live in a sake, stable, and just country. Remind him that protecting others now ensures we will all be protected if we are ever in need. (The Third Child, read together) (The Third Child, read together): My family is hungry but we’ve never needed help to buy food before. This is embarrassing. Reader : To this person, reply that it is okay to need help. When she asks for help and when she receives it, she is making the world more whole by feeding her children. There is no shame in asking for help and, in truth, it is those among us who refuse to lend a helping hand to those who have fallen who should be ashamed. (The Fourth Child, read together) (The Fourth Child, read together): I have experienced hunger but I need extra help to overcome it. Why is learning about hunger important to me when what I really need is food? Reader : To this person reply that, too often, in the daily struggle of hunger, it seems impossible to look beyond one single person and see the enormity of hunger in the United States. Hunger will only be solved when we join together with others who were suffering. Tell this person we know (s)he is suffering but, in the moments (s) he has to rest, we need his/her help. Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 23
The Ten Plagues Leader : On Passover, we read about the 10 plagues G-d unleashed on the Egyptians. But the plagues we see today are not punishment from G-d – they are punishments of our own making. As we read each of these plagues aloud, we dip a finger into the wine and touch a drop onto our plate. This reminds us that, even as we celebrate freedom, our freedom is not complete now is our happiness overflowing. All : We dip our finger into the wine for the plague of hunger, which is centuries old but exists in our time and has become our responsibility. Each drop of wine represents our humanity diminished by the presence of hunger. Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 24 1. The single mother who gives the last bits of food in the house to her child, while she goes hungry. 2. The grandfather who must choose between paying for medicine and paying for his lunch. 3. A neighbor who never invites you over because she can’t offer you food. 4. An unemployed mom who is embarrassed to apply for food stamps. 5. A friend who feels alienated because he cannot join in on social events at restaurants. 6. The woman who brings plastic bags to Shabat Oneg or a church lunch to take home food for the rest of the week. 7.A father who does not apply for food stamps because he cannot understand the application. 8.The tons of edible food gone to waste. 9.The young couple who live in an urban neighborhood where there is no full- service grocery store. 10.Apathy – the greatest plague of all, the failure to make ending hunger a national priority.
Dayenu – for this we are grateful Leader : In today’s Hunger Seder, we take a moment to recite aloud the blessings we, as participants in this Seder and as Americans, enjoy. After each blessing, we take a moment to say together “Dayenu – for this we are grateful.” Reader: We are grateful that so many among us do not suffer from the oppression and hardship of daily hunger. All: Dayenu Reader: We are grateful for living in a democracy in which we are able to influence our government’s priorities. All: Dayenu Reader: We are grateful for the opportunity to direct national attention to hunger issues. All: Dayenu Reader: We are grateful for this opportunity to direct our community’s attention to the issue of hunger. All: Dayenu Reader: We are grateful to those who use their hands to stock a food bank, their feet to march to Capitol Hill, and their voices to demand justice. All: Dayenu. Reader: We are grateful we made the time to be present for this Hunger Seder to educate ourselves and be inspired to act. All: Dayenu. Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 25
The Third Cup: We will use our power to persuade our leaders to act to abolish hunger in our communities. Leader : We lift our glasses and read the blessing over the wine together (drink wine after the blessing): Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 26 Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d, ruler of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine. ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם בורא פרי הגפן Baruch ata, adonai Eloheinu melech haolam borei pri hagafen
The Third Cup: We will use our power to persuade our leaders to act to abolish hunger in our communities. Reader : In a traditional Seder, the Third Cup is Birkat Ha’Mazon, the grace after the meal. In Birkat Ha’Mazon, we thank G-d for providing us with wheat to make bread. G-d does not provide us with bread to eat but instead gives us the tools we need to create food for ourselves and our communities. Freedom is being able to choose healthy, sustainable food – an important step towards ending hunger in the United States. All: We have the tools in place to create a world free from hunger and it is our responsibility to use these tools to influence our government and society’s actions for good. We must create a world in which people can provide for themselves and where they can choose options that are healthy and sustaining. Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 27
The Third Cup: We will use our power to persuade our leaders to act to abolish hunger in our communities. Leader: By taking action together with those gathered at the Hunger Seder and other Hunger Seder events being held across the country, we have a special opportunity to make a difference in impacting critical legislation for programs that touch the lives of millions of Americans. Please take a moment to write personal letters to your Representative and Senators on the paper plates or stationary provided for you. In your own words, help to put a human face on the crisis of hunger and tie this human face to federal programs in jeopardy of reduced funding (key points listed below). Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 28 To offset the cost of legislation passed at the end of 2010, cuts were made to future funding of the SNAP program. Ask your Member of Congress to support the President’s proposal to fully restore these SNAP cuts in his FY2012 budget. Request that Congress provide strong support in the FY 2012 budget for the federal nutrition programs and the anticipated growth in these programs to keep pace with the increasing need in our communities. Ask Congress to provide full funding for the WIC program to reach all women, children and families who need this vital assistance.
The Fourth Cup: We will create a world where all Americans, and all people, are free from hunger Leader : For the fourth cup, please leave some wine in your glass to share with the prophet Elijah. We lift our glasses and read the blessing over the wine together: Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 29 Baruch ata, adonai Eloheinu melech haolam borei pri hagafen Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d, ruler of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine. ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם בורא פרי הגפן
The Fourth Cup: We will create a world where all Americans, and all people, are free from hunger Reader: For our fourth cup, we promise to create a world where all Americans, and all people, are free from hunger. This world we are building together will be a world free of oppression from hunger, free of pain of malnutrition, and free of individuals and families forced to suffer alone; this world will truly be a world redeemed. All: We stand together today, eyes never wavering from the hope on the horizon, and begin walking, together, towards the world as it should be. Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 30
Elijah’s Cup Reader: There is a Passover tradition that Elijah’s cup which has been empty for the entire Seder, be filled now by a little wine from each person’s glass. In our Hunger Seder, this is the promise we make to each other, to our children, and to our children’s children. This is our promise to work together to create a world free from hunger. It is not a task we have the power to finish alone, just as no single person can fill Elijah’s cup. (Pass Elijah’s cup around and fill it.) Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 31
Closing Prayer Leader : Our Hunger Seder is now coming to a close. We celebrated our successes, learned about the hunger that still plagues our communities, and affirmed our commitment to work together to create a world free of hunger. We pray that at this time next year, our world will be a better place and all people will be free from the oppression from hunger. Let us join together in prayer. All : One day, G-d, may it be Your will that we live in a world perfected, in which food comes to the hungry as from heaven and water will flow to the thirsty as a stream. But in the meantime, while the world is filled with hunger, empower us to stand on Your behalf and fulfill the words of your prophet: “to all who are thirsty bring water,” and “greet those who wander with food.” This Passover, bless us that we should sustain the hungry. -Rabbi Scott Perlo Hunger Seder 5771 – 2011Page 32