Did Passover happen at all?

Charity on PassoverUnleavened bread as a gift

Passover is a special festival in the Jewish year. This is why most Jews want to celebrate Passover kosher, Rabbi Edward van Voolen said:

“You want a kosher Passover because Passover has a lot to do with liberation! And liberation takes place on different levels. Liberation also takes place when you clean the house, take care of the kitchen and it is prescribed in Passover is already biblical that you have to remove all Chametz from the house. So, everything has been in contact with bread products or bread. "

But it's not just about the thorough Passover plaster. There is also the commandment to take care of the needy: Tzdaka. The congregations distribute special dishes that are eaten on Passover - or they invite to the feast, the seder. Rabbi van Voolen has just published a new Haggadah, a Passover prayer book, with Andreas Nachama and Rabbi Jonah Sievers. From this he quotes:

"This is the bread of poverty, that is the mazzot that our ancestors ate in Egypt. Everyone who is hungry, come and eat. Everyone who is in need, come and celebrate Passover with us."

Almost a third of German Jews are affected by poverty

90 percent of the Jews living in Germany are immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Among them, poverty in old age is becoming an increasingly important issue. Many only have small pensions. After all, they worked abroad. As a result, they are dependent on basic security. Nobody really wants to talk about it, pride forbids that.

This means that almost a third of German Jews are affected by poverty, according to the Central Welfare Office. The trend is rising, because the Jewish communities are getting old: every second community member is over 60 years old. Only every fifth Jew is under 30. And the boys find their way into the congregations less and less often.

That is about to change: Students and trainees are being offered cheap Passover packages for the holiday. It contains the most necessary food for Passover: matzo, matzo flour, a bottle of kosher wine, and a can of pickled cucumbers. All of this is available for 6.90 euros. Optionally, you can also order a Haggadah. That costs another five euros. Daniel Botmann, Managing Director of the Central Council of Jews in Germany:

"Every age group needs to be addressed in the way they can be addressed. Students are more likely to be addressed through some form of Passover package that can be ordered online."

This is also the opinion of Abraham Lehrer, Chairman of the Board of the Central Welfare Office for Jews in Germany:

"Of course we also have certain fears of losing people, of losing young people. But we see an opportunity with such actions. For us, it's about conveying certain knowledge and traditions of Judaism. or I will become a practicing Jew, an Orthodox practitioner, a liberal practitioner or I am just a Jew who only does any sport at Maccabi, that is the decision of every individual. We want to convey our tradition, convey knowledge, that is the primary task we see for ourselves. "

Consolidating Jewish Identity in Young Adults

This explains why the Passover packages are only aimed at young adults between the ages of 18 and 35. They are not intended to alleviate poverty, but to consolidate the Jewish identity. The Central Council and the Central Welfare Office are now offering this service in the second year - in contrast to other Jewish organizations that have been doing this for years. Daniel Botmann from the Central Council:

"I do not believe that there is a competitive situation between Jewish institutions. In fact, the point is that people who are perhaps very, very far away from their Jewish religion and tradition should be brought back into The Jewish community to come. So there is no competition between organizations, it is really about bringing people back to mind or reminding them: You are Jewish, and we will help you to live it more actively again. "

The offer is well received, says Botmann. 600 Passover packages have been ordered.

But charity - Tzadka - doesn't just mean sending parcels. Especially on Passover there are evening events in almost all parishes for those who cannot afford a solemn feast, the seder, at home - and also for those who are alone, emphasizes Rabbi van Voolen:

"It is very important that you do Tzdaka. And Tzdaka is not only that you give someone a box of mazzot, but also that you invite people. This is what it says in the text:" Everyone who is hungry, come and should eat ", an invitation to give to people you don't know, who are new, a student who has moved into the city, whom you met, met on the street or therefore a community seder where you does not ask at the entrance: “Have you paid?” But when you ask: “Can you make a contribution? Very happy, if not no problem, come in. "So it is very important, not only people who are old, but also younger people, students who have no money, who have just moved into a city, you have to make it possible to be present at a Seder meal and to celebrate.