Fairtrade freeing food
Today was the end of Fairtrade Fortnight. What a shame that we need a designated fortnight to remind us that paying people a fair price, a living wage, is a good thing to do. Hopefully these things will, over time, become our regular practice. Pesach is also a sort of annual reminder to take stock, have a clear out of our lives, and work on doing better.
But Pesach is also the festival of freedom, when a rabble of enslaved Hebrews began their journey towards becoming responsible Jews. We enjoy today perhaps greater freedoms than we have at any other time in history, and yet slavery is being seen in greater numbers around the world than it ever has before. Freedom is an important right to celebrate at Pesach, but we mustn't forget that it comes with responsibility; not least to fight for other's freedoms.
With this in mind, some have begun discussions around this topic at their Seder by adding symbols to the Seder plate or table, from an apple (to remember the Chinese workers making our lovely iphones and ipads) to a coffee bean (if they aren't worried about kitniot :) ) or a piece of chocolate; two classic foods that many now buy fairtrade (but are likely to be difficult to find as certified both kosher for Passover AND Fairtrade - it's not as hard the rest of the year). But so many products and raw ingredients rely upon practices that don't fit in with the message of Passover that this symbolic offering must also be translated into a freeing reality the rest of the year, helping us use our food, clothes, and electronics to name a few, to bring freedom to others, not just paying lip service to our own freedom on Seder night.