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Planning Guide 5774 / 2014 WHY HAVE MAZON AND THE JCPA DEVELOPED A HUNGER SEDER?....................................... 2 WHAT BACKGROUND ABOUT HUNGER SEDERS DO I NEED TO KNOW?.................................... 3 WHAT GOALS SHOULD WE HAVE FOR HOSTING A HUNGER SEDER?........................................ 4 ARE THERE SPECIFIC DATES WE SHOULD KEEP IN MIND?...................................................... 4 WHAT IS THE HUNGER SEDER PROGRAM?............................................................................ 5 WHY ARE SOME CUSTOMS AND RITUALS OMITTED FROM THE HUNGER SEDER HAGGADAH?... 6 CAN WE INCORPORATE THE ISSUE OF HUNGER INTO ANOTHER PASSOVER SEDER?................. 6 WHO SHOULD WE INVITE?.................................................................................................. 7 HOW SHOULD WE SET UP FOR OUR SEDER?......................................................................... 7 WHAT SUPPLIES SHOULD WE HAVE ON HAND?..................................................................... 7 WHERE SHOULD WE HOLD OUR HUNGER SEDER?................................................................. 8 WHAT ADDITIONAL MATERIALS ARE AVAILABLE?................................................................. 8 SHOULD WE INFORM OR INVITE THE MEDIA?....................................................................... 9 WHAT SHOULD WE DO AFTER THE SEDER?........................................................................... 9

Planning Guide | MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder 5774/2014


To use the symbolism, teachings and prayers (moral framing) of the Passover Seder to bring modern meaning to the age old words, “Let all who are hungry come and eat.”

To educate the Jewish community and its partners about the prevalence of hunger and malnutrition among seniors in the United States.

To create a cadre of informed activists, to supply a continuous stream of strong Jewish voices on the issue of senior hunger, and to equip participants with the necessary knowledge to be effective anti-hunger advocates.

To have each participant leave the Seder with a plan of action for increasing her or his own involvement in antihunger advocacy and activism.

Seder participants will understand: •

The significant need that exists among our nation’s seniors and the important role played by federal government nutrition and feeding programs.

Their individual and collective power to influence the government, the importance of taking action, and how much of a difference they can make.

That working to eliminate hunger is a Jewish value.

Our collective efforts do make a difference. Recent Jewish community advocacy has provided effective support for the passage of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act and the protection of funding for critical federal programs such as SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps), the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program, and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

Planning Guide | MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder 5774/2014


WHAT BACKGROUND ABOUT HUNGER SEDERS DO I NEED TO KNOW? Over the past six years, Jewish Community Relations Councils (JCRCs), synagogues, and other Jewish agencies across the country have brought local Jewish communities together with interfaith partners and anti-hunger advocates to host Hunger Seders. These special Seder programs, sponsored and coordinated by MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger (MAZON) and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), were developed to provide a meaningful expression of the powerful words of the Pesach Haggadah: “Let all who are hungry come and eat.� Hunger Seder participants observe the ancient traditions of Pesach in the context of a stark reality: that too many of our fellow Americans are still going hungry. The Seder serves a vital educational purpose and presents an important call to action for the American Jewish community to join us in our efforts to end hunger in America. This Guide outlines the details about the MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder and provides resources and opportunities that may help you plan and host a MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder at your synagogue, JCRC, or community agency. Asking and answering questions is a central part of the Passover Seder experience, helping participants to unpack and process the rich meaning of the different texts and rituals. The asking and answering of questions should similarly be integrated into your Hunger Seder event to deepen the understanding of and inspiration to address the crisis of hunger in our communities. Encouraging the asking of questions can also help make the experience more meaningful for those who might be attending a Seder for the first time. If you have general questions about Hunger Seders, please contact Lauren Eggert-Crowe at MAZON at 310-442-0020 or or Robin Rosenbaum at the JCPA at 202-212-6037 or Prior to your event, please let MAZON and the JCPA know about the plans for your Hunger Seder. And after your event, please send us copies of any special materials you develop as well as pictures and media coverage from your local Hunger Seder. We are tracking all of the Hunger Seder events happening across the country and want to be sure to highlight your effort as we demonstrate the collective power of this national Jewish community effort.

Planning Guide | MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder 5774/2014


WHAT GOALS SHOULD WE HAVE FOR HOSTING A HUNGER SEDER? The MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder should reflect the community in which it is held. There is no specific format or formula for this Seder, but there are three distinct goals around which we hope every Hunger Seder will be built: 1.

To help participants recognize and embrace the import of a Jewish response to hunger.


To teach community members about the continuing challenge of overcoming hunger in our communities, states and nation.


To create opportunities for immediate, mid-term and long-term engagement with hunger issues at the local and national levels.

You may choose to create a focus for your Hunger Seder, such as: • • • •

Interfaith participation Intergenerational Follow-up action & advocacy Community education around issues of food and hunger

**MAZON and the JCPA can provide you with additional insights, materials and direction for any of these themes, should you decide to incorporate one of them.

ARE THERE SPECIFIC DATES WE SHOULD KEEP IN MIND? Each community’s calendar is different and has different priorities, so not all Hunger Seders will be held on the same day nor need they be. By working together and well in advance of Pesach, we hope you will be able to plan your Hunger Seder according to the following timeline: Hunger Seder Haggadah Available (pdf) Local Hunger Seders (ideal)

February 3, 2014 April 1 - April 29, 2014

Passover Begins, First Seder

April 14, 2014

Planning Guide | MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder 5774/2014


WHAT IS THE HUNGER SEDER PROGRAM? The Hunger Seder Haggadah that MAZON and the JCPA have created provides the template for the Seder experience. Crafted on the foundation of a traditional Seder, it includes teachings, insights and information that bring issues of senior hunger into the prayers, readings and discussions around the Seder table. The organizers for your Hunger Seder event, the person who will serve as the Seder “Leader,” and your identified songleader should read carefully through the Hunger Seder Haggadah in advance to become familiar with the content and flow of the program or make any necessary modifications.

To meal or not to meal? The MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder incorporates a full Seder experience including time for a traditional meal, but we recognize that the logistics and resources needed to prepare and serve a full meal can present a number of challenges. We encourage Seder hosts to think creatively about managing these challenges, including making the meal potluck, creating a planning committee, etc. Seder hosts may also choose to plan a Hunger Seder event that does not include a meal or to create an alternative eating experience, such as providing only a partial meal to symbolize those in our communities who are going hungry on that night. If you do serve a meal, you may also consider donating any leftover food items to a local shelter or soup kitchen.

Who reads what? In the Hunger Seder Haggadah, sections for the Seder “Leader” to read are noted. In addition, readings that should be read together aloud by all Seder participants are indicated in the text. All other readings can be read aloud on a rotating basis by asking each participant to read the paragraph when his/her turn comes up. Or, if preferred, assigned reading parts can be given to specific Seder participants in advance. To do this, it is advisable to give numbers to each reading part in the margins of the Haggadah so that participants know when their reading parts appear in the context of the program.

Sing a song? We have included a few song suggestions at appropriate places in the Hunger Seder Haggadah. You should feel free to replace those suggestions with songs of your choosing or to omit the songs altogether.

Can we customize the MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder? We know many congregations have already scheduled a community Seder for the second night of Pesach. The MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder Haggadah is designed to allow synagogues to incorporate all or portions of the Hunger Seder into their community Seder. Please note: you are welcome to modify or remove any Seder elements according to your customs and to make the Hunger Seder a comfortable fit for your organization. However, the actual Haggadah will be provided only as a pdf (i.e. not in an editable format like Microsoft Word).

Planning Guide | MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder 5774/2014


WHY ARE SOME CUSTOMS AND RITUALS OMITTED FROM THE HUNGER SEDER HAGGADAH? While we have reinterpreted many traditions from the Passover Seder, the Hunger Seder Haggadah does not include every element you might find in a more traditional Seder. Most of the missing rituals and prayers handwashing, candle lighting, etc - are omitted because we recognize that many of you will be hosting your Hunger Seders at a time that may not acutally be during Passover. If your Hunger Seder will not take place during the dates of Passover observance, you might also consider other changes, such as serving egg matzah instead of Kosher for Passover matzah. You can also add creative elements to enrich the meaning of your Hunger Seder, such as having the leader make a symbolic donation to tzedakah to “purchase back” the afikomen at the end of the meal. Please feel free to add elements and prayers to your Hunger Seder to best suit your needs and expectations.

CAN WE INCORPORATE THE ISSUE OF HUNGER INTO ANOTHER PASSOVER SEDER? There are many connections between the Passover story and the issue of food insecurity. If you are unable to host a full Hunger Seder, you can still incorporate elements of the Hunger Seder Haggadah in your family or community Passover Seder. Below are a few suggestions about particular readings from the Hunger Seder Haggadah that you could use in different Seder contexts.

Interfaith Seder

Family Seder

page 1: What is a Hunger Seder?

page 3: KARPAS - Green Vegetable

page 8: The Ten Plagues

page 7: The Four Elders page 14: Parable of Honi the Circle Maker

Intergenerational Seder page 6: The Four Questions

Any/all of the above

page 8: The Ten Plagues

page 2: Parable of the Starfish pages 3: YACHATZ - Breaking the Middle Matzah

Synagogue Second Night Seder

page 16: NIRTZAH - Conclusion

page 6: The Four Questions page 8: The Ten Plagues Children’s Seder page 7: The Four Elders page 14: Parable of Honi the Circle Maker

Planning Guide | MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder 5774/2014


WHO SHOULD WE INVITE? You may choose to make the Seder a larger community event to which all members of your congregation, JCRC, and/or other sponsoring organization are invited. You may choose to focus on children or young adults, inviting them to plan and lead the Seder. Or you may choose to use this as an opportunity to engage new community members, as well as re-engage and build relationships with community organizations. We encourage you to be creative and cast a wide net, and to do your best to ensure that everyone has a chance to participate. No matter your Hunger Seder’s focus, we highly suggest you invite local elected officials, key city staff, leaders from local anti-hunger organizations, recipients of nutrition assistance who can share their personal perspectives and media representatives in order to help spread the word about the Jewish commitment to fighting hunger in your community. Consider assigning portions of the readings to them, to emphasize their role in changing current policies that impact those who are food insecure.

HOW SHOULD WE SET UP FOR OUR SEDER? Set up in a comfortable room, one that allows space to move around. If you have a large number of participants, try to set up the room so that everyone will be able to hear.

WHAT SUPPLIES SHOULD WE HAVE ON HAND? In addition to the traditional supplies for hosting a Passover Seder, it will be helpful for you to plan to have the following supplies available for your Hunger Seder event: •

Copies of the special Hunger Seder Haggadah and additional materials for all event participants

Stationery or paper plates, pens, envelopes, and stamps for writing letters to Congress

Copies of the Hunger Seder supplemental Haggadah reading, which participants are encouraged to take home and use at their family Seders to bring up a discussion about hunger

Copies of an op-ed or letter to the editor related to the themes of the Hunger Seder if one was recently published before the Seder

Statistics and information about the specific challenges of senior hunger in your community and state

Information about local and national anti-hunger organizations, including MAZON and the JCPA

Planning Guide | MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder 5774/2014


WHERE SHOULD WE HOLD OUR HUNGER SEDER? The ideal location for your MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder will vary depending on your goals and plans. Most synagogues will hold their Seder at the synagogue, but there is certainly no requirement to do so. You may choose to co-host your MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder with your local JCRC, Jewish Federation or Jewish agency, local antihunger organizations, other synagogues, or a local church. Listed below are a few potential alternative locations that may add value to your program: •

State Capitol

Food Bank

Soup Kitchen

Jewish Family Services

Local SNAP (food stamps) office (likely in the Department of Health & Human Services)

Other service provider locations

City Council / Mayoral offices

Grocery Store with meeting space

WHAT ADDITIONAL MATERIALS ARE AVAILABLE? In addition to this Guide, MAZON and JCPA can provide the following resources: •

MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder Haggadah (pdf only)

Anti-hunger advocacy activity & background information

The 8 Myths of Hunger – a handout that dispels eight common misperceptions about hunger and its causes, which you can use to initiate dialogue among your Seder participants

Quick Facts about Hunger in America - a one-page handout that provides basic information about the prevalence of hunger in America & the federal nutrition safety net

All of these resources are available in electronic format, and some are also available as printed copies.

Planning Guide | MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder 5774/2014


SHOULD WE INFORM OR INVITE THE MEDIA? In addition to engaging more community members in sustained, coordinated action to overcome hunger, the MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder can be a tool to educate the community at large about hunger issues and to place public pressure on local leaders to act on these issues – even if these people are not in the room. To take advantage of this opportunity, you can use the media. Mechanisms for engaging the press and generating media attention include (but are not limited to): •

Inviting members of the press to your event • Writers for the local daily paper • Writers for the local Jewish paper • Prominent local bloggers • Television and talk show hosts

Writing and submitting opinion-editorial pieces to the local paper

Promoting the Hunger Seder on Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks

Writing articles for synagogue newsletters, Federation/JCRC bulletins, school papers, etc.

When promoting your MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder, both directly to the press and via social media outlets, it is important to have a clear “hook” to get people engaged – in other words, you should be explicit about why they should be interested in this event. Potential “hooks” include a local connection to senior hunger issues, a new, exciting interfaith relationship, a time-sensitive advocacy opportunity, a local issue of particular importance, a link to a recently covered story in the news, doing something that’s never been done before, etc. If would like assistance with drafting your own media advisory, press release or op-ed, please contact Robin Rosenbaum at the JCPA at 202-212-6037 or

WHAT SHOULD WE DO AFTER THE SEDER? A MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder is a great way to engage people in the issue of senior hunger, but what happens after the Seder is nearly as important as the Seder itself. By capitalizing on the energy and passion of your Hunger Seder participants, you encourage your community to deepen its engagement in senior hunger issues. The specific, immediate action opportunities associated with the MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder will be developed as we have a better idea of the legislative agenda for the year. In addition to the action opportunities provided, MAZON and the JCPA can offer assistance to help you think about the outcomes you wish to achieve through your Hunger Seder as well as appropriate additional follow-up actions that will engage your community immediately and in the future.

Planning Guide | MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder 5774/2014


Examples of potential actions could include: •

Writing letters to local, state and national leaders urging them to take action on senior hunger-related programs/legislation

Creating regular service and/or advocacy opportunities for participants (e.g. volunteering to help Meals on Wheels distribute food to local seniors)

Using the Hunger Seder as the first step in creating a community hunger coalition

Working with a local hunger-related non-profit to create more educational/action opportunities that build on the learning presented in the Hunger Seder

Creating opportunities for people to help those in need access available resources, like SNAP benefits

Engaging enthusiastic Hunger Seder participants to plan a follow-up community event, such as a panel with expert speakers discussing the challenges and potential solutions and/or people telling their own stories of struggling with hunger

Collecting video stories from individuals who have benefitted from nutrition assistance programs as part of a national storybanking effort to help put a human face on the issue.

Creating an art project (book/mural/video/quilt/other) that provides a way for people to share their experiences with hunger, ideas about how to overcome hunger, impressions from the event, etc., and creating a public space to display this artwork

Working with a local television station or media outlet to profile stories of local individuals and families struggling with hunger to help put a human face on the issue and also feature information about the agencies and programs that are providing needed assistance

Planning Guide | MAZON/JCPA Hunger Seder 5774/2014


2014 Hunger Seder Planning Guide  
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