MAZON Fifth Question

MAZON Asks the Fifth Question

This post is part of our Passover series, in which we think about the application of our age-old Passover story and traditions to the crucial issues we face today. For ways to infuse your seder with social justice, see our holiday guide.

Passover is a special time when we gather with family and friends to retell the story of our people’s freedom from bondage. We read from the haggadah and delve into the Exodus story, perform rituals that are thousands of years old, and eat a bounty of delicious and symbolic foods. Unfortunately, not everyone is fortunate enough to enjoy the luxury of a festive meal, let alone the assurance of eating regularly.

Hunger in America is at an epidemic level. 50 million Americans – nearly 1 in 6 – struggle to put enough nutritious food on the table every day. One out of every five Israelis can’t be sure when or if they’ll have their next meal. These statistics are tragic, and they inspire the daily work of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger and our dedicated network of grantee partners. But at Passover, when much of our activity and focus revolves around food, we feel the discomfort a bit more keenly.

We set the stage early in the Seder, saying, “All who are hungry, let them enter and eat.” We move ceremoniously through the haggadah, reminding ourselves that we once were slaves in Egypt and explaining the meaning of each bite we eat. But millions of Americans and Israelis have only a lack of food, which has a very different meaning. It is a reminder that they still face oppression – the daily oppression of hunger that grinds away at their health, strength, and dignity.

As millions of Jews across the planet join together in celebrating Passover and asking Four Questions that call out what is different and special about this night, we encourage everyone to consider asking a Fifth Question: Why on this night are millions of people still going hungry?

MAZON has created materials and resources to help those at your Seder table reflect upon the crisis of hunger, why it persists, and what you individually and collectively can do to end it.

Visit “MAZON asks The Fifth Question” for more information and join us in the effort to put an end to this modern-day plague.

Chag Pesach Sameach!

Josh Protas is the Director of Government Affairs at MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger.

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