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  • Introduction

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    Introduction

    We gather on Passover to recall a moment of resistance and liberation in the history of our people. The story of Exodus reminds us of the transformative power that our people wield when we confront oppression. This summer we witnessed the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of the police; in the months that followed the #BlackLivesMatter movement blossomed from that stained soi...

    We gather on Passover to recall a moment of resistance and liberation in the history of our people. The story of Exodus reminds us of the transformative power that our people wield when we confront oppression. This summer we witnessed the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of the police; in the months that followed the #BlackLivesMatter movement blossomed from that stained soil and swept the country. From Ferguson to Staten Island, Black people resisted the discriminatory and abusive policing targeting them. #BlackLivesMatter, a term coined by activists Alicia Garza, Patrice Cullors & Opal Tometi, demands that we recognize the full humanity and precious value of every individual Black life — that we cherish and fight for all people of African heritage. In this spirit, Jews For Racial & Economic Justice collaborated with inspiring activists and leaders from around the country to produce this Haggadah supplement. In it you will find additions to the Seder rituals & Haggadah text intended to highlight the role we believe Jews must play in confronting racism and abusive policing. Each piece of the supplement may provoke discussion, reflection or even contention. We hope that this wrestling, thinking and feeling — in the great tradition of our people — will be a powerful part of your Seder and will lead to meaningful action for justice.

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    Section : Introduction
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    On Reclining

    When drinking the four cups and eating the matzah, we lean on our left side to accentuate the fact that we are free people. In ancient times only free people had the luxury of reclining while eating. We ask that this year you consider what it means to recline when so many are not yet free from oppression. This is not a simple question, and so there is no simple answer. In solidarity, you may ch...

    When drinking the four cups and eating the matzah, we lean on our left side to accentuate the fact that we are free people. In ancient times only free people had the luxury of reclining while eating. We ask that this year you consider what it means to recline when so many are not yet free from oppression. This is not a simple question, and so there is no simple answer. In solidarity, you may choose not to recline. Or perhaps we can rest tonight in order to let go of the weight of our fears — our fear of others; of being visible as Jews; of committing to work outside of what is familiar and comfortable — so that we may lean into struggle tomorrow.

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    Section : Introduction