Since Pesach, I have been thinking a lot about the ideas central to the seder: liberation of the oppressed, celebration that our basic needs are met and of our freedom, and sharing what we have with those less fortunate. I cannot help thinking about these ideas in the context of current events. There’s a post over at IrrationalPoint’s blog about precisely this:
‘How is it possible to read [the Haggadah] and not think of people who are hungry, who are in need, and who are not free? Moreover, how can we discuss oppression in Jewish history, and then turn a blind eye to oppression in the modern world?
It is not, of course, only the human tragedies that involve Jews that we should be thinking of. Oppression and hardship do not, after all have a special Jewish dimension. There are many many places across the globe where people are hungry or in need, through war, irresponsible human activity, extreme poverty, or natural disasters: Darfur, New Orleans, Tibet, Nepal, Iraq, and countless other places.
Yet Jews cannot ignore the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the deaths and hardship that have resulted, both directly — through suicide bombings or military attacks on civilians — and indirectly — through malnutrition in Gaza, for example.’
Updates on the Gaza crisis posted below.