Shabbat HaGadol: Changing the Big Picture


On Shabbat HaGadol, there was a custom among some Jewish communities of baking an extra large challah called the “challah of the poor.” Everyone would contribute a bit of flour to prepare the bread. The community would then share the gigantic loaf with those who were living in poverty to enhance their pre-Pesach Shabbat celebration.  Around our seder tables this coming week, as we break the middle matzah, we will remember how our ancestors struggled in Egypt and we will invite all who are hungry to celebrate the holiday with us. We will envision ourselves coming out of Mitzrayyim and reflect on what that means in our day.

This Passover, our city is on my mind. In Philadelphia, 25% of people currently live below the poverty line. Our public schools are in dire need of resources. Many Philadelphians are stuck in a narrow place of working full-time for wages with which they can’t make ends meet. As we share our bread, I encourage us to also do what we can to change the big picture.

On May 20th there will be a ballot referendum to support a living wage and increased benefits for all workers employed by the city of Philadelphia, including those employed by companies that subcontract within the city. Our GJC Social Action Committee has been working to engage voters for the May 20th election in conjunction with faith communities across the city that are connected to POWER.  One way to get involved is to come out and canvass with fellow GJC members on April 27th and 30th, to talk to neighbors and city residents about fair wages and the education funding struggles in Pennsylvania. I look forward to participating on April 30th. Click here for more information and to sign up.

May Pesach inspire us to come together to expand opportunity in our city and and to pursue the freedom for all to work, to learn and to live with dignity.