Each year at the Passover seder, the Jewish ritual meal at which we reenact the story of the Exodus, I find my greatest inspiration when we come to the beginning of the Passover story. We lift up the matzah, the traditional unleavened bread, point to it and chant:
Two actions you can take to help expand healthcare access in New York State and support direct care workers!
Nationally, we face an incoming administration poised to roll back worker protections, access to healthcare, environmental regulations, safety net programs, and the rights of immigrants and minorities. Here in New York, our state remains the most unequal in the country, with more than 3 million people living in poverty - including 1 in 5 children.
Monday, January 9 faith and community leaders held a statewide call to action in Albany and online, lifting up our shared moral values and calling on New York to be a leader in promoting social and economic justice.
For Jews, fasting is the trademark religious practice of Yom Kippur, our Day of Atonement for personal and communal wrongdoing. Yom Kippur emphasizes the importance of repentance and forgiveness. Refraining from eating and drinking for a full day is a ritual accompaniment to our feelings of contrition and to our commitments to being better people in the coming year. Denying ourselves the basic necessities of food and drink forces us to remember that the world does not revolve around us and our desires. We also fast to cultivate empathy with the poor and the needy, who often go without adequate life necessities on a daily basis. For these and other reasons, Jews – along with so many other people of faith – fast on specific holy days like Yom Kippur.
Great news! On Tuesday May 10th, a coalition of farmworkers and advocates - including the Workers' Center of Central New York and the Worker Justice Center of New York - filed a lawsuit challenging the unconstitutional denial to farmworkers of the right to organize and collectively bargain. Shortly after filing the suit and holding a press conference, the Governor responded with a statement that he supports their right and will not fight the lawsuit. This is a major step forward in the fight for equal rights for farmworkers. Read more about the lawsuit and response here. However, there is still much to be done.
For two weeks now, 40,000 Verizon and Verizon Wireless workers have been on strike demanding a fair contract.
Happy Chanukah! Hanukah! Hanukkah! However you want to spell it, this Chanukah (I like this spelling) has a very special and deep meaning for what is happening in the world right now. Although the story of Chanukah is not real, it still has a lesson that can be applied to black/brown/poor/queer/minority people: change will come, we must keep fighting. We cannot give up hope.