Monday, March 26, 2007

Seder Suggestion: An Empty Chair for Darfur

Rabbi David Levin-Kruss offers this idea (which has generated some controversy on the Lookjed discussion group):

Like many, I watch the events unfolding in Darfur and wonder what I can do to help.

This year I have decided to use our Pesach seder as a way to further the cause and I suggest you do the same. Rather as in the days of the Soviet Jewry movement I propose that we leave a chair empty for those in Sudan and donate the cost of one meal to a charity working to alleviate and change the situation. We could also ask our guests to donate rather than to bring gifts.

In the Vehee She'amda prayer in the haggadah we read that in every generation others have stood against us to destroy us, but the blessed Holy One saved us. This is an appropriate point to say something along the following lines:

"In this prayer we read that we are and have been persecuted. Let's remember that we are not the only persecuted in the world and that others suffer too e.g. those in Darfur. Let us pledge today to act as G-d's mouth and hands by speaking truth to power and doing what we can (politically, militarily, financially, and personally) to bring about a better situation. Let us hope that next year we will not need to leave a chair open to mark those who do not share the freedom we have."

For more information about what is happening in Darfur and what you can do, check out these resources from Raising Awareness Destination: Darfur (RAD:D), founded by High School student Sarit Rosenstock and hosted by Areyvut. Organizations seeking funds for relief and advocacy efforts include American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief (JCDR), Jewish World Watch (JWW), and the Save Darfur Coalition.

This final organization makes it possible to take immediate action by sending an email to President Bush.

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