Labor Seder in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia chapter of the Jewish Labor Committee (JLC)-of which I am a proud member-will hold the Second Annual Bobbi Willig Memorial Labor Seder, at the Germantown Jewish Center, 400 W. Ellet Street, on Tuesday, April 9, 2019.

The theme of the Seder this year will be “A Woman’s Place Is In Her Union.”

The Jewish Labor Committee (http://jewishlabor.org/) was formed in the 1930s as a bridge between the Jewish Community and the organized Labor movement, and as part of the struggle of that era against Fascism (like we’re going through today). The Labor Seder is a program connecting the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt to current struggles for life and dignity in the workplace in this era.

For further information,and to purchase tickets, please contact Michael Hersch, (215)668-5454, or mhersch@comcast.net.

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Upcoming, August 14, 2018

I will be joining members of the Philadelphia chapter of the Jewish Labor Committee (JLC) in a rally at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, tomorrow, August 15, 2018, at 4:00 PM, to protest the detaining of immigrants and the separation of children from their parents. The policies pursued by this regime is nothing short of conscious cruelty, and racism is the only reason behind it-the idea that certain groups of people are less worthy of respect. To stand against this is the only right way to go.

Following that, I will join with other fine Philadelphia poets at the poetry reading, sponsored by the Moonstone Arts Center (http://moonstoneartscenter.org/) for their weekly poetry reading at Fergie’s Pub (http://www.fergies.com/), 1214 Sansom Street in Philadelphia. I will take part in the open reading following the featured readers’ performances. I continue to support Moonstone and their work in promoting poetry among working people; the arts are not a luxury, they are a necessity for all of us.

JLC Labor Seder

Just about every Jewish movement you can think of has its own variation of the Pesach Seder, which updates for modern times while being loyal to the Pesach message of the liberation of the Jews from “Mitzraim,” the Hebrew name for Egypt. (“Mitzraim” literally means “the narrow place,” the place of few opportunities and no where to move, the place of limitations.)

On Thursday, April 9, I went to the Labor Seder of the Philadelphia chapter of the Jewish Labor Committee (JLC), an organization of Jewish trade unionists, organized in the 1930s to combat the rise of Fascism. This took place in the Calvary Center for Culture and Community, 48th and Baltimore Avenue. They had the traditional Seder place with the Maror, the Haroset, the Karpas, lamb bone, the salt water, and the Matzah, and the traditional blessings were said. But contemporary issues were addressed in the Seder, like the poor relations between law enforcement and minority communities, and police shooting unarmed African-American men.

The Haggadah also dealt with labor struggles earlier in American history, such as the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in 1911, the organizing of farm workers, and the problems on inequality in this wealthy nation. “Mitzraim” is not something in the past, there are still places and problems with people stuck in narrow, limited situations; and there will always be people fighting to get out of them.