We've all heard of sharing the wealth. For the past week, Chabad of Fairfield has been sharing the humility.
In honor of the Jewish holiday of Passover, which starts at sunset Monday, the organization has passed out 150 packets of matzo -- flat, unleavened bread -- to members of the community.
Chabad director Rabbi Shlame Landa said the bread is a symbol of the holiday. From midday of the day before Passover until the conclusion of the eight-day festival, Jews are supposed to rid themselves of chametz, or any food or drink containing leavened grain.
Landa said leavened grain products, including bread, cake and cookies, are associated with haughtiness. Matzo, on the other hand, is a symbol of humility. During Passover "we try to make a point of ridding ourselves of ego and haughtiness, and show some humility."
Landa is one of many Jewish leaders throughout the region who has been preparing for Passover. The holiday celebrates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.
To local leaders, the lessons of Passover still resonate not just in the Jewish community, but for all people. Landa said the holiday is about freedom -- not just the literal freedom from slavery that it celebrates, but freedom from anything that "keeps us from doing what we're supposed to do."
Rabbi Vicki Axe, of Congregation Shir Ami in Greenwich, echoed those thoughts.
"Passover invites us to think about those things that enslave us personally and hold us hostage in our own lives," she said.
For instance, "what ridiculous things in our day-to-day life keep us from calling our parents or grandparents?" asked Rabbi Daniel Victor, of Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Bridgeport.
Victor said one of the other messages of the season is reaching out to people in your community and making peace with them. For instance, on Saturday, he shared his pulpit with local Imam Nasif Muhammed to help create greater understanding between the Jewish and Muslim communities.
"If you want people to tolerate and understand you, you need to do the same," Victor said.
That message of reaching out and creating understanding with others sometimes gets lost in the modern world, he said.
"In a community where we are blessed with privileges and many freedoms, we sometimes forget that we need to pay them forward," Victor said.