“Remember this day that you departed from Egypt from a house of bondage for you with a strong arm God took you from here.(Exodus 13:3).” If there is one thing Jews love, it’s “to remember.” Perhaps the only thing Jews do more on Passover than remember is eat matzah and get indigestion. But more seriously, the Jews can be a little narcissistic when all we do is remember about ourselves.
Which brings us to the issue of the day, Darfur.
This Passover, instead of never forgetting, Jews need to start acting. Simply put, it’s not good enough never to forget when people around us are being enslaved and murdered in the same way we were 60 years ago. Rabbis, lay leaders, and people of all faiths need to listen up: There is a genocide happening in Darfur!! Most disturbing is how little everyone seems to care. As Nick Kristoff explained to the Washington Times:
“According to monitoring by the Tyndall Report, ABC News had a total of 18 minutes of the Darfur genocide in its nightly newscasts all last year and that turns out to be a credit to Peter Jennings. ‘NBC had only 5 minutes of coverage all last year, and CBS only 3 minutes (except for ’60 Minutes’) about a minute of coverage for every 100,000 deaths. In contrast, Martha Stewart received 130 minutes of coverage by the three networks. ‘Incredibly, more than two years into the genocide, NBC, aside from covering official trips, has still not bothered to send one of its own correspondents into Darfur for independent reporting.” )
Some say close to a half-million people have been killed, and the numbers of dead are climbing daily. Look, I know we all lead busy lives, and every day there is another tragedy, so I don’t expect any of you to hop on Air Sudan and start holding sit-ins in the African desert. But before we sit down at our Passover tables this year and take two days out of our lives to remember our own tsuris (problems) and God’s greatness, let’s truly bring some godliness into this world and commit ourselves to going to the rally being held in Washington on April 30 being sponsored by the American Jewish World Service.
Let’s stop remembering and start acting, so that one day we don’t all have to sit around a seder table and justify to our children why we continue to remember how God took us out of Egypt but we were not appreciative enough to help to do the same for someone else’s children.