Bintel Blog

Child Nutrition Seders Fight Hunger

By Nathan Guttman

Ten O’clock in the morning might be a little early for a Passover Seder, especially if one intends to drink all four glasses of wine. But this was a Seder with a cause, and for dozens of Capitol Hill staffers, anti-hunger activists and students, its seemed just right.

Photo by Ronald M. Sachs

The Congressional Seder on March 18 was dedicated to fighting hunger and is one of 40 similar Childhood Nutrition Seders taking place across the country before and after Passover. Organized by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger, their purpose is to mobilize both Jews and non-Jews to be anti-hunger advocates and to fight for reauthorization in Congress of the Child Nutrition Act before it expires.

It looked almost like a real Seder: Rabbi Steve Gutow, head of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, read the Haggadah, which was written for the event, while sitting in front a traditional Seder plate. But nothing else was traditional. The Haggadah’s Four Questions were adapted to ask: “What does it mean to be hungry in America?” and “What will it take to end child hunger in America?” The Four Sons from the Haggadah were played by four students from the Tucson Jewish-Latino Teen Coalition, who spoke of their personal experiences as recipients of school food programs. And the Ten Plagues – they too got a new version to reflect 10 faces of hunger in America.

Three members of Congress stopped by for the early morning Seder, as did several administration staffers. The event ended with the signing of a petition calling on lawmakers to approve refunding for the child nutrition programs. The petition — no big surprise here — was printed on a matzo shaped poster.

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About That 'Gossip Girl' Seder

By Eleanor Goldberg

Just because the CW network hit “Gossip Girl” took a two-week break at the beginning of the month, producers were not willing to pass over the opportunity to invite its gorgeous cast to partake in a scandal-ridden Seder. Even though Cyrus (Wallace Shawn) sported a “Schmutz Happens” apron, Elijah’s seat got taken over by dinner-crashers and everyone at the table complained about waiting too long to eat, this CW’s April 20 episode titled “Seder Anything” still wasn’t much different from any other night.

Why you ask?

Lead popular girl Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively) came to the party only to procure legal advice from Cyrus for having accidentally gotten married in Spain the weekend prior. Said groom, Gabriel (Armie Hammer, the great-grandson of the Jewish oil tycoon Armand Hammer), showed up as well to reunite with his “bride.” Cyrus’s stepdaughter, Blair, however, ditched the festivities to gallivant with her prestigious boyfriend’s family in an attempt to help secure a spot on a museum board.

Perhaps to foreshadow more holy drama to come, the episode concluded with Blair apologizing to both Cyrus for obnoxiously rejecting his offer to get her into NYU and to boyfriend Nate for accepting a bribe from his grandfather in exchange for a job. “This is why we have Yom Kippur,” Cyrus explained.

The best line of the episode came from Cyrus’s non-Jewish wife: “I’ve never thrown a Seder before. I don’t even know how to say half the words in this book that’s named for Lieberman’s wife,” she says, referring to Senator Joseph Lieberman’s wife, Hadassah — confusing Hadassah with Haggadah.

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