Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The Moveable Seder Plate

היום שבעה ימים  שהם שבוע אחד בעמר
Today is seven days, which is one week of the omer
מלכות שבחסד
A day of nobility in a week of loving kindness

Last night at the Food Justice Passover event, the room was transformed into a living seder plate with each traditional ritual object was represented by a Jewish group dedicated to supporting justice for all in the world.

Hazon and Urban Adamah brought light issue of hunger in our communities and the need of those along the poverty line to access to fresh, nutritious food.

American Jewish World Service and Fair Trade Judaica represented food justice on a global level, reminding us of the modern slavery and oppression that is often involved with food production.

New Israel Fund and Bend the Arc showed us ways to advocate for social justice in the world, how we can help create an environment where issues such as water rights and gender inequity can be resolved with Israelis and Palestinians working together.

And The Kitchen was there to make the case for why and how religion can matter while doing this important work.

After sampling everything "on the plate," we sat for our meal--a vegetarian delight. Each group prepared a text study dealing with their particular issue. There were two rounds of teachings, with each participant choosing which two they would like to attend.

I'm so glad to see the growing integration of Jewish study and social justice. I hear so many people bashing religion, viewing it as the source of so much strife in the world. While that may be true, I don't think it's necessarily the fault of religion per se, but of how it is being used or, more accurately, horribly misused. If more people can find lessons of justice in our ancient, sacred texts, they may also learn to find strength in the communities built around those texts. Even grappling with the difficult sections that seem to cause so much harm can open lines of communication with each other and discover interpretations that may bring those dark stories to light.

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