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Singing Dayenu is a 1000-year old Passover tradition. The 15-stanza poem thanks G-d for 15 blessings bestowed upon the Jews in the Exodus. Had G-d only parted the seas for us, “It would have been enough” we say for each miracle or divine act, thus humbly appreciating the immensity of the gifts. KB Frazier’s reworking of the poem addresses us, rather than G-d. It calls us to greater action for justice, saying “lo dayenu ” (it would not have been enough) in recognition of the work still unfinished.
1. If we had sparked a human rights revolution that would unite people all over the world and not followed our present day Nachshons as they help us part the sea of white supremacy and institutional racism — Lo Dayenu
2. If we had followed Nachshons like the youth leaders in Ferguson and not heeded the words they spoke from Black Liberation Leader Assata Shakur: It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains — Lo Dayenu
3. If we had learned and chanted the words from Assata Shakur and not protested violence by militarized police — Lo Dayenu
4. If we had protested police use of tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray and rifles pointed at protesters and forgotten that we are all b’tselem elohi m, created in G-d’s image — Lo Dayenu
5. If we had remembered that we are all created in G-d’s image and not affirmed Black Lives Matter — Lo Dayenu
6. If we had chanted and cried out that Black Lives Matter and not remembered Rekia Boyd, Alyanna Jones, Shantel Davis, Yvette Smith and Tyisha Miller, Black women and girls also killed by police — Lo Dayenu
7. If we had marched for those killed, chanting Hands up Don’t shoot a nd not recalled the words of Eicha: Lift of thy hands toward Hashem for the life of the thy young children, that faint for hunger at the head of every street. — Lo Dayenu
8. If we had recalled the words of Eicha and not called to attention the school to prison pipeline and the mass incarceration of Black and brown people — Lo Dayenu
9. If we had called attention to the “new Jim Crow” system — and did not truly sh’ma (listen) — Lo Dayenu
10. If we had truly listened to the stories, pain and triumphs of our brothers and sisters of color without feeling the need to correct, erase or discredit them and did not recognize the Pharaohs of this generation — Lo Dayenu
11. If we had worked to dismantle the reigns of today’s Pharoahs and had not joined the new civil rights movement — Lo Dayenu
12. If we had marched, chanted, listened, learned and engaged in this new civil rights movement and not realized that this story is our story, including our people and requiring our full participation — Lo Dayenu
13. If we had concluded that our work is not done, that the story is still being written,that now is still the moment to be involved and that we haven’t yet brought our gifts and talents to the Black Lives Matter movement — Lo Dayenu
While this is not the first instance of state violence against Black people or the first human rights movement, it is indeed OUR time to step up and make a difference. We must work together to progress from Lo Dayenu to Dayenu in the coming years. Ken Yehi Ratzon.
Let us all refill our cups.
[Take turns reading. Each person is invited to read a grouped set of lines - or to pass.]
Tonight we drink four cups of the fruit of the vine.
There are many explanations for this custom.
They may be seen as symbols of various things:
the four corners of the earth, for freedom must live everywhere;
the four seasons of the year,...
Use this piece in tandem with the telling of the Exodus story. Think about the connection between the Jewish story of Exodus from Egypt to more contemporary examples of persecution and forced migration. How did the formation of the territory now known as the United States depend upon the forced migration of people already residing on the land?
The Hebrews’ Exodus from Egypt is a climactic...
As we sit here as free men and women, it is so easy for us to forget the hardships that our ancestors had to overcome for our freedom. The exodus from servile Egypt to liberated Israel is viewed as the most pivotal event in Jewish history. So why do we lean on Pesach?
It was the custom of ancient royalty to recline on the left for two reasons:
a) Food is normally held in the right hand. Leaning toward the...
Our hands were touched by this water earlier during tonight's seder, but this time is different. This is a deeper step than that. This act of washing our hands is accompanied by a blessing, for in this moment we feel our People's story more viscerally, having just retold it during Maggid. Now, having re-experienced the majesty of the Jewish journey from degradation to dignity, we raise our hands in holiness, remembering...
We come together from our separate lives, each of us bringing our concerns, our preoccupations, our hopes, and our dreams. We are not yet fully present: The traffic, the last-minute cooking, the final details still cling to us. Our bodies hold the rush of the past few hours.
It is now time to let go of these pressures and really arrive at this seder. We do this by meditating...
A Cup to our Teachers: To those we have known and those whose work has inspired us, and made space for our lives. We are grateful to you who did and said things for the first time, who claimed and reclaimed our traditions, who forged new tools. Thank you to the teachers around us of all ages-- the people we encounter everyday--who live out their values in small and simple ways, and who are our most regular and loving...
A word about God: everyone has his or her own understanding of what God is. For some people, there is no God, while for others, God is an integral part of their lives. While we may not agree on a singular concept of God, we share a common desire for goodness to prevail in the world. And this is the meaning of tonight: freedom winning out over slavery, good prevailing over evil.
Please consider the source of...
By Rabbi Gavriel Goldfeder www.alternadox.net
We all know that we cannot rely on the holiness of our desires all the time. Tonight is special, different. Tonight it is safe to let go. But in a week or a month, who knows? By breaking the middle matzah , we acknowledge that we are still split. We still cannot ultimately...
Slaves eat quickly, stopping neither to wash nor to reflect. Tonight, we are free. We wash and we express our reverence for the blessings that are ours.
Pass a bowl of water, a small cup and a towel around the table. Everyone pours three cupfuls over their fingers. There is no blessing over this washing.
As we remember this struggle, we honor the midwives who were the first Jews to resist the Pharaoh. our legends tell us that Pharaoh, behaving in a way common to oppressors, tried to get Jews to collaborate in murdering their own people. He summoned the two chief midwives, Shifra and Pu'ah, and commanded them to kill newborn Jewish males at birth. He threatened the midwives with death by fire if they failed to follow...
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Singing Dayenu is a 1000-year old Passover tradition. The 15-stanza poem thanks G-d for 15 blessings bestowed upon the Jews in the Exodus. Had G-d only parted the seas for us, “It would have been enough” we say for each miracle or divine act, thus humbly appreciating the immensity of the gifts. KB Frazier’s reworking of the poem addresses us, rather than G-d. It calls us to greater action for justice, saying...
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