This Passover: A Season of Justice for the Environment

February 20, 2015
Passover is my favorite time of year. More than exchanging presents on Hanukkah or blowing shofar by on the beaches of the Atlantic on Rosh Hashanah (my family’s tradition), Passover is when I am most able to connect with my family and my own Jewish values. While the extended meal and Seder lend themselves easily to close interpersonal and spiritual renewal, it’s the central concepts of Passover that make me return to this time of year again and again with excitement and energy; Passover is a holiday about social justice and freedom from oppression. It is an opportunity, among family and friends, to dig deeper into the issues of our time. This year, as we move closer to the international climate negotiations in Paris, France in December, 2015, and as we watch climate change worsen and global temperatures rise, environmental stewardship is an issue that should be at the top of our lists and central to discussion at our Seders. Not only is climate change an already-present and ever-growing threat, it is a threat that disproportionately effects those living in areas and economic conditions less-insulated from extreme weather events, floods, droughts and decreased crop viability. As Jews we are tasked with acting as a partner with God and the protection of our earth and acting to “champion the poor and the needy” (Proverbs 31:9). If you’re interested in focusing on the environment this year in your Passover Seder, the Shalom Center has a full Freedom Seder for the Earth Haggadah. If you want to add an environmental piece to your Passover celebration, these 10 human plagues about the effects of climate change, this Seder insert on the Four Children of climate change, or an alternative prayer over the karpas (greens) and salt water on the Seder plate are great option. You can check out other ways to incorporate social justice issues into your Passover here. Chag sameach!

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