Passover Bread for the Breadless

We received these passover reflections from poet, writer and historian Aurora Levins Morales. We asked her to share them with you. Aurora and her mom Rosario were both members of the Chicago Women's Liberation Union.

Dear Friends: Like other Jews around the world, I am preparing for Passover, our annual feast in celebration of freedom. I've been cleaning house, chopping nuts and fruit, and if I were not allergic to wheat anyway, I'd be getting rid of my bread. But in the midst of this work that I love, I can't get my mind off all the people who are taking to the streets this month, in country after country, to demand changes in the food policies that are starving them. The prices of wheat, rice, beans, cooking oil and other staples have skyrocketed in the last three years and hundreds of millions of people can't afford to eat them. Although the Haitian people's protests brought down their government, people are still eating patties made of salted mud.

Corporate farming has driven far more productive small farming out of business. Multinationals like Monsanto and Cargill have patented seeds, driving the cost of planting so high that more than 166,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide because they can't live from farming anymore.

Land formerly used to grow food is being used for fuel crops, and in Asian countries with fast growing economies, people who can now afford it are dramatically increasing the demand for meat. This means yet more land that could be growing food for people is growing grain for livestock-an extremely inefficient use of food resources since it takes much more land to produce a pound of meat than a pound of beans or rice or other staples. And climate change is causing droughts.

As I was thinking about the bread riots in Cairo, it occurred to me that for the next eight days, Jews won't be eating any. What if we send our bread money to people who are doing the work to change this? I don't mean Wonder Bread. Corporate, fossil-fuel intensive agriculture is part of the problem. I mean Acme Bakery Organic Whole Wheat Walnut Levain which sells for $4.05 a loaf. A loaf a day during Passover is $32.40. I live on a low fixed income, but I'm going to do it.

(Poster by Ricardo Levins Morales,

The two organizations I think do the best work on hunger are Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy, and Oxfam. They address the causes of hunger and are good at it. Oxfam also does emergency relief work. I have their information below. 

Wouldn't it be great to create a wave of Jewish donations to these two groups between now and the end of April? (Non-Jewish friends can donate their loaves in our names.)

Tell the recipients that this is Passover Bread. Maybe together we can make the sea open just a little. 

-- Aurora Levins Morales, Berkeley, California, USA


New York Times article on food crisis:

Across Globe, Empty Bellies Bring Rising Anger
12 Myths About Hunger

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