The Seder as a Vehicle for Fighting Hunger
By Harold Kirtz
Many of us may have a personal garden where we grow a small amount of food that we personally use. But there are operations right here in Atlanta that harvest food for many others than just for the property owners. Some of these operations will be highlighted at the, 2018 at 6:00 PM. Please join us to find out how you can participate in helping provide food for others, whether it is through harvesting food or by advocating for food policies that assist those in need.
The JCRC (Jewish Community Relations Council) and AA Synagogue are partnering with a number of other Jewish congregations as well as non-Jewish congregations, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and other food-related organizations, from Second Helpings to Food Security for America.
One of those organizations is Concrete Jungle, which harvests fruit and nuts from over 2000 trees in the metro area. Yes, there are thousands of trees in Atlanta that provide food for shelters and food pantries. They are in yards, on the side of the road, next to buildings. Most of these trees were untended and ignored, with “their being wasted to wildlife while only miles away many poor and homeless struggle to include any fresh produce in their diet,” as its website states.
Come to the Seder and learn about how to volunteer to help pick this produce for local people in need. Concrete Jungle also grows vegetables on a small urban farm in Southwest Atlanta, Doghead Farm. That farm allows the organization to host additional volunteer events.
Another partner is Global Growers, which manages nearly 20 acres of land and supports a network of farms and gardens throughout metro Atlanta. Since 2010, it has produced around 500,000 pounds of fresh produce.
Its 15-acre incubator farm located in Stone Mountain, Bamboo Creek Farm, is operating as a center for commercial crop production. It is hosting immigrant farmers who were involved in agriculture in their native countries and who are now able to engage again in farming.
The Hunger Seder is now in its 8th year. It provides a full Seder meal and a chance to see the Haggadah become a vehicle for liberating people from hunger and food insecurity. In a profound way, we are ensuring, as the Haggadah says, “let all who are hungry come and eat.”
The Jewish tradition is rich with references on how Jews are to provide for those in need. Leviticus 19:9-10 states “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not fully reap the corner of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you collect the [fallen] individual grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger. I am the Lord, you God.”
From Isaiah, we hear, “If you shall pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.” And from the Talmud in the Midrash Tannim, we see, “God says to Israel, ‘My children, whenever you give sustenance to the poor, I impute it to you as though you gave sustenance to Me.’ Does God then eat and drink? No, but whenever you give food to the poor, God accounts it to you as if you gave food to God.” These are but a few references from our tradition.
Through the Hunger Seder, we aim to create advocates for food and nutrition programs on the local, state, and national levels. We encourage you to come and join us as we work to make our tradition live in numerous ways in our metro area. Please join us.
Please join us on April 4, 2018 at 6:00 PM at:
Ahavat Achim Synagogue
600 Peachtree Battle Avenue, NW