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Great Neck Notebook: March 14, 2012

My Passover Prayer

Have you ever noticed how so many of the holidays we celebrate involve special meals? There’s Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and of course Passover. At some point during the Passover seder, many of us will hold up a piece of matzah and say, “This is the bread of affliction, let all who are hungry come and eat!” We even place an extra cup of wine on the table for the prophet Elijah—just in case he happens to be in the neighborhood.

When we say, “let all who are hungry…,” it is a symbolic gesture.  In my mind, I always thought of hungry people as those who lived in India, or China, or Africa.  At least I thought that way before I began volunteering at the Interfaith Nutrition Network (INN) 10 years ago.

Now I know that the “hungry” may be a family with children who live around the corner from me. A family with hardworking parents who have fallen upon tough economic times and now must face the impossible choice between buying food and paying rent.

Now I know the “hungry” is a senior citizen who’s living on Social Security only to find that inflation has made that impossible. Many of the seniors who come to the INN soup kitchens subsist on one meal a day.

Now I know the “hungry” is my neighbor who lost his job, can’t find another one, and is confronting foreclosure, homelessness and hunger for the first time in his life.

As you sit around the seder table with family and friends, remember that our ancestors were hungry once. Remember that it is within our power to extend help and hope to all our hungry neighbors.

If you’ve had some blessings in your life, please consider making a donation to the Interfaith Nutrition Network, which provides food, shelter and support services to thousands of Long Islanders in need each year.

Donations may be mailed to:  Dave Golbert, 7 Lee Court West, Great Neck, NY 11024.  Please make your check payable to: The INN. If each of us give what we can, “D’aynu.” It will be enough. As the sages teach, “Here on earth, God’s work must truly be our own.”