Spring marks warmer weather and one of my favorite Jewish holidays, Passover.
It celebrates the Jewish people’s freedom from slavery in Egypt, but more broadly, it signifies a celebration of all freedom from oppression and hardship. Passover provides an opportunity to understand and advocate for those who are not free from oppression.
Sure, the institution of slavery is no longer present in our country, but our society is still struggling, and many are still hungry.
Because of the theme of liberation, people sometimes hold traditional Passover meals or Seders, as they are called, focusing on civil rights, or issues such as paid sick days, all examining how we are not truly free.
Throughout the week of Passover, we steer clear of leavened products, reminding us of the oppression the Jews felt while in slavery and the Jews fleeing Egypt. Matzah is considered the bread of affliction because the flat bread was not given time to rise — the Israelites had to flee without “being ready to go.”
In current times, it reminds us that there almost 700,000 individuals at risk of hunger in the Washington metro area. Captive to debilitating budgets, they scrutinize everything they eat and buy, risking not being able to pay their rent and electric bills. The working poor face these choices. We cannot forget these people are still oppressed.
The issue of hunger is urgent and we must act now. Every day, the number of children at risk of hunger who are unsure of where their next meal will be coming from increases.
The story of Passover is a reminder that it is our responsibility to advocate for those who are oppressed and to write their story of liberation.
Every Seder, we ponder the quote “We are not free until no one is oppressed.” This is parallel to the mission of the Capital Area Food Bank: “‘Til no one is hungry.”
To end oppression and hunger, we must work together in our community. Contact your legislator, donate to food banks, and volunteer to end hunger in your community.
This post was first published on Huffington Post.