"Let all who are hungry come and eat." A Passover Seder Discussion Guide
I share this discussion guide with grateful thanks to ChallahForHunger.org who originated it.
INCORPORATING THE CAMPUS HUNGER PROJECT INTO YOUR SEDER
It might seem unusual that Challah for Hunger would provide a resource for Passover – it’s the only Jewish holiday completely absent of even the slightest crumb of challah.
However, the telling of the Passover story begins in most homes with the ambitious, heartfelt invitation “Let all who are hungry come and eat.” Words that serve as a direct reminder that our job at Passover, and always, is to tell the story of hunger’s cruelty and act against the hardships it creates.
The Campus Hunger Project, powered by Challah for Hunger, seeks to involve students, alumni, parents, and partners to advocate for solutions that alleviate and ultimately end food insecurity on college campuses. Over the last few years, several studies, including a report from the federal government, have recognized that more than 3 million college students in America are food insecure.
In order to tackle this issue, we must first raise awareness about it. You can help do that by talking about campus hunger at your Seder. As you sit down with your family and friends at Passover this year, there are three parts of the Seder where you can learn, reflect and discuss the issue. Plan to use one, two or all three of these suggested activities and readings during your Passover celebration.
RAISING UP & BREAKING THE MIDDLE MATZAH
Yachatz means to break. While we are celebrating freedom with abundance, YACHATZ
reminds us that it is not a complete freedom and parts of our world remain broken.
Campus hunger exists because of a broken system that we need to repair together.
Go around the table and ask each person: What do you see as broken in the world that you would like to help repair in the coming year?
There is a tradition to have three matzos at our Seder table. Two are there because we always put out two “loaves” of bread for a festive meal. While it is difficult to determine the exact origin of the custom for adding a third “loaf” to our Passover festival meal, some say it is because Rabbi Jonathan of Lunel (13th century) wrote, "It is the way of the world that after finishing eating, one breaks bits of bread for the sake of the poor from the bread, which is left on the table. If he is a mean person, he only puts on the table the amount he needs for his family and no more... But if he has leftovers on the table, then his eye isn't narrow and he gives it to the poor." - from The Jewish Chronicle
In the coming year, may we find ways to set aside resources in advance, so that those
who are experiencing food insecurity on college campuses have enough to eat.
Challah for Hunger
THE TELLING OF THE EXODUS STORY
The power of telling a story in our own personal way compels us to remember the injustice. Sharing stories also helps to reduce shame and stigmatization of an issue, like food insecurity on campus.
Go around the table and ask each person: Share a story about a time you witnessed or experienced an injustice in your own life and/or your own community.
During the Maggid section of the Seder, the Ha Lachma Anaya is traditionally read. It refers to matzah as the “bread of affliction (sometimes translated as bread of poverty).” As we tell the Passover story, tradition commands the Jewish people to eat the same bread eaten by their ancestors as they were led from slavery to freedom. Because of its place in the story, matzah is simultaneously the bread of poverty and the bread of freedom. Eating it brings awareness to the reality that not all people are free from injustices, such as hunger.
In the coming year, may we tell stories about campus hunger to bring awareness to the issue and reduce the stigma around food insecurity.
FINDING AND EATING THE AFIKOMEN
As we search for the Afikomen, we look for something that is hidden. It’s only when we find it that we are permitted to continue the Seder. Campus hunger is often referred to as a hidden hunger.
Go around the table and ask each person: Can you think of a time where you recognized or learned that something unjust had been hidden away?
Near the beginning of the Seder, we referred to the matza as the “bread of poverty.”
We put a label on the matza and then hide it away.
Campus hunger is a hidden form of hunger because food pantries are often tucked
away in remote parts of campus. Also, information about how to access campus
and community resources if someone is food insecure is not widely known and
the majority of college administrations do not have comprehensive plans to
address food insecurity on campus.
In the coming year, may we uncover the hidden injustice of campus hunger
and inspire ourselves and others to direct resources towards ending
May your conversations, like ours, build a community educated and inspired to
act against hunger. To learn more about the Campus Hunger Project, powered
by Challah for Hunger, visit campushunger.org.