Modern-Day Plagues of Injustice and Inequality

April 3, 2024Rabbi Michael Namath

On Passover, we recount the Ten Plagues that were inflicted upon the Egyptian people. Below you can find some of the "plagues" and injustices that afflict our present-day society and actions you can take.

Download a printable version of these plagues to use at your seder.

1. Antisemitism and Religious Bigotry

Antisemitism poses a direct, present threat to the Jewish people, inherently intertwined with the continuing rise of hate and white supremacy. Amidst rising antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of religious bigotry, we must work to ensure that people of all faiths can worship safely.

2. Attacks on LGBTQ+ People

LGBTQ+ people are under attack across the country. Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill is just one of many anti-LGBTQ+ policies, present in almost every state, specifically targeting the rights, safety, and equality of LGBTQ+ people.

3. Barriers to Mental Health Care

Mental illness affects millions of people each year, yet mental health care remains inaccessible to many, including millions of young people. Schools are uniquely positioned to close this gap and expand mental health services for adolescents.

4. Broken Immigration System

Our immigration system is in desperate need of repair. 11 million people still require a pathway to citizenship, and in the midst of a global refugee crisis, our asylum system is not equipped to handle the overwhelming number of migrants fleeing dangerous home countries.

5. Gun Violence

Every year, over 40,000 Americans die as victims of gun violence. Gun violence is the leading cause of death of American children and teens ages 1-19. The scourge of gun violence in America is a public safety issue and a public health epidemic.

6. Hunger

In the U.S., pervasive hunger and food insecurity affect millions, with approximately 13% of households experiencing inadequate access to nutritious food. Economic disparities amplify this crisis, demanding urgent attention for equitable solutions.

7. Pollution and Environmental Destruction

There are nearly 120 million people who live in places with unhealthy pollution levels. Much of this pollution stems from the production of greenhouse gas-producing activities, which worsens the climate crisis, exacerbates ongoing environmental degradation, and harms public health.

8. Restrictions on Reproductive Rights

Since the overturn of Roe v. Wade, states across the country have passed legislation limiting access to reproductive health care. Abortion bans, IVF restrictions, and attacks on birth control violate kavod ha'briyot (respect for individual dignity). 

9. Unqualified Chaplains in Public Schools

States across the country are introducing bills that would install chaplains in our public schools. This a threat to religious freedom and a failed attempt to address the need for mental health resources in schools.

10. Voter Suppression

In a democracy, all rights begin with the right to vote. It is the bedrock of our democracy and essential for a strong democracy. Across the United States, states have enacted laws that have decreased voting accessibility and reduced representation.

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