This year, Project Hayei Sarah is using the holiday of Passover as an opportunity to support Palestinian friends in Hebron whose ability to take care of their families is severely harmed by the occupation. Project Chayei Sarah is a group of rabbinical students, rabbis, Jewish educators and lay-leaders who have spent time in Hebron and are grappling with the difficult realities we encountered there. Those, like myself, who have been to Hebron use the annual reading of Parshat Hayei Sarah, the Torah reading in which Abraham buys part of what is considered to be modern-day Hebron, as an opportunity educate our communities about the situation there.
In the H2 section of Hebron, the economy of the Palestinian community has been nearly destroyed due to the presence of Jewish settlers. At seder tables all over Jerusalem, friends of Project Hayei Sarah used matzah covers hand made especially for them by Women in Hebron. Purchased as an act of solidarity and of hidur mitzvah — beautification/elevation of a commandment — the matzah covers remind us of the liberation we need to continue working towards in Hebron.
“While everyone is busy debating about to boycott or not to boycott, we wanted to raise a new question: how might we, as Jews, support Palestinian economies?” relayed project coordinator Alana Alpert.
Fellow activist Moriel Rothman added, “On passover, we recall that we were once slaves in the Land of Egypt. It does not befit a community of ex-slaves to oppress others as Israel is doing in the city of Hebron. Selling the Matzah Covers on Ben Yehuda was an attempt both to support the Women of Hebron, and to encourage Israelis and visitors to Israel to learn about the situation in Hebron, as we reflect collectively on the meaning of freedom.”
To learn more about the situation in Hebron, visit the experts:
breakingthesilence.org.il, rhr.org.il/eng and btselem.org.