Women of Reform Judaism – Atlantic District recently held a conference in Pittsburgh, PA, where the group came together to gather and donate items to JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry for Passover. WRJ is a network of Jewish women that work together to empower women, inspire spiritual growth, and mobilize collective action.
WRJ Atlantic’s president Jan Shaw spoke about the reason behind the group’s choice to donate Passover food to JFCS: “Jewish people are all about social action, social justice, taking care of each other. We all take for granted every Passover that we’re going to have a big Seder with our families. And we all know full well that that’s not the case for everybody.” Each conference includes a social action initiative, and this one was inspired by birthday bags done by a group near Philadelphia in the past.
For the pantry, Passover is one of the busiest times of year, since so much of the celebration is focused around food. For Jewish families who are food insecure, holidays like Passover can be burdensome and present high costs to observe properly. JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry prepares in advance to have Passover-specific food available to give to Jewish clients so that they can have traditional Seders with their families during this time, and we rely heavily on donations like this from the community to meet those needs.
Jan explained the reasoning behind WRJ Atlantic’s social justice initiatives like this one, saying, “We want to take care of our fellow man and woman. And a big part of WRJ is social justice and advocacy. So we’re fighting for Jewish values, and that’s why we do this.”
This conference was the first in-person event that WRJ Atlantic has had since before the pandemic, so it was a special event for the members to be able to come together and work on a social action project. Jan’s husband Don noted that this is just one of several causes that the group gives to, emphasizing their commitment to social action and advocacy.