MAZON’s Anti-Hunger Message Takes Center Stage at Passover

April 12, 2023

This piece originally appeared in Jewish Journal on April 12, 2023.

Every Passover, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger poses a “Fifth Question,” designed to orient and frame discussions about hunger.

This year’s question: “What lessons from our history should guide our nation’s approach to ending hunger?”

Asked after the Four Questions in a traditional Seder, this year’s Fifth Question was incorporated into the White House annual People’s Seder on April 10. 

The virtual Passover seder, co-hosted by the White House and the US Department of Agriculture, brought together policymakers and Jewish community leaders to reflect on the themes of liberation and justice; more than 10% of Americans face food insecurity.

“Focusing the White House People’s Seder around the central Passover commandment to ‘Let all who are hungry come and eat’ underscores the Biden-Harris Administration’s steadfast commitment to fighting the current plague of hunger in America,” Abby J. Leibman, president and CEO of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, told the Journal. 

In addition to Leibman, speakers at the People’s Seder included high-level leaders from the Biden Administration, along with leaders from the Jewish community. 

The program also featured a slideshow of images from MAZON’s new virtual Hunger Museum, which shares the story of 100 years of hunger in America. Through six galleries of historical content, hundreds of artifacts and other engaging features, the museum’s exhibits illuminate the political, economic and cultural influences of various eras. It highlights how our nation almost ended hunger, and how we can work together to do it again.

Inspired by Jewish values and ideals, MAZON is a national advocacy organization working to end hunger among people of all faiths and backgrounds in the United States and Israel. 

“We know from our history — when the government listened to those who struggled and invested in vital food assistance programs so that only 3% of Americans struggled with hunger — that we can create a brighter future,” Leibman said. “We know that when we protect and strengthen programs that allow individuals and their families to have the food they need to thrive, a life of abundance for everyone is possible.”

On March 28, members of Congress, government officials and community partners, along with Leibman and MAZON Board Chair Rabbi Joel Pitkowsky, gathered in the halls of Congress for MAZON’s National Hunger Seder.

“The power to repair the world — and the power to end hunger — rests in our hands.” – Rabbi Joel Pitkowsky 

“Together with community partners and government officials, we broke the middle matzah to remind us of the brokenness of our world, and that the power to repair the world — and the power to end hunger — rests in our hands,” Pitkowsky told the Journal.

“Events like MAZON’s National Hunger Seder and the White House People’s Seder allow us the time and space to reflect upon stories of resilience, persistence, liberation and justice,” Pitkowsky said.