Passover Message from Rabbi Lipper

With Pesach quickly approaching, I want to give you an opportunity to expand your telling of the story of Freedom beyond the Hagaddah and our own struggles.   Remember, the Hagaddah reminds us that “until all are free, none are free.”   Have a happy and spirit filled Pesach.   – Rabbi Lipper

Standing with Farmworkers in their Struggle to Uproot Modern-Day Slavery

Background: This Pesach, as we commemorate our liberation from slavery, we draw our attention to those still in bondage. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is a widely-acclaimed organization of farmworkers who are working to end abusive conditions in Florida’s tomato fields, which have long created fertile ground for modern-day slavery to flourish. Over the last decade, their Campaign for Fair Food—led by farmworkers and supported by people of conscience across the country—has brought about historic changes in the fields. We celebrate their victories while recognizing that much work is left to be done. With our own story in mind, we commit ourselves to working alongside them until they, too, can commemorate their liberation. T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights is an organization of rabbis from all streams of Judaism that acts on the Jewish imperative to respect and protect the human rights of all people. T’ruah mobilizes the Jewish community to participate in the Campaign For Fair Food as part of its larger commitment to fight modern slavery and human trafficking. 

At Your Seder: The seder plate contains a variety of foods that symbolize the Jewish journey from slavery to freedom. To raise awareness about the Campaign for Fair Food, we have been invited to add a tomato to our seder plates, a symbol of the farmworker who picked it. The foods on the seder plate are meant to elicit questions that lead to the telling of the story of the Exodus. We hope the tomato will lead to questions about the legacy of slavery today and to discussion about the progress being made by the CIW—supported by Jewish communities—to bring about a just, slavery-free workplace. 

Read this: Why is there a tomato on the Seder plate? This tomato brings our attention to the plight of farmworkers everywhere who fight oppression and modern day slavery to provide us with food, fruits and vegetables for our seder table.  It also reminds us of our commitment to Social Justice in our world.  Let us remember that while we are free to eat and recline at our Seder, there are people around the world and in our own communities who struggle for the same freedoms, both physical and economic that we enjoy.   May we commit to work for their freedoms as we celebrate our own.

(From T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights)