shlachter haggadah 2014

By mara Shlachter shlachter




Table of Contents

Introduction

20 Table Topics for Your Passover Seder

Order of the Seder

Why a Social Justice Seder?

Intro

We've seen this before

The Surprising Ancient Origins of Passover

Why We Are Together Tonight

Seder Map

Kadesh

Kadesh

Downtown Los Angeles 1.21.17

The Shehecheyanu

On Account of the Righteous Women

Kadesh- Bless

Stranger in a Strange Land

Urchatz

Urchatz - Wash Your Hands To Prepare for the Seder

Water in the News

Urchatz – Access to Clean Water

Urchatz- Washing of the Hands

Gratitude Intro

Let Our Telling

Karpas

Karpas

Yachatz

Yachatz - Breaking the Middle Matzah

Entering the Broken World

Maggid - Beginning

Maggid (Introduction)

Arami Oved Avi

quote

-- Four Questions

The Four Questions

Alternative Questions

Four Questions about Modern Slavery

Why Is Tonight Different From All Other Nights?

-- Four Children

The Four Children

The Four Children

The Four Daughters

The Four Children

Four Faces of Oneself

Four Children/Teenagers & Seven Young Adults - 2015

The Four Children

-- Exodus Story

Telling our Story

How To Talk About Refugees With Family & Friends

-- Ten Plagues

The Ten Plagues

The Modern Plagues

The Rabbi and the Supermarket

Ten Plagues

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

Answering Our Questions

Dayeinu

In Every Generation & Second Cup

Lesson of Nachshon

Second Cup of Wine: Employment Discrimination Against People With Criminal Records

Home by Warsan Shire

Lo Dayenu!

Old & New Passover Symbols

Dayeinu!!!

Dayenu: Learn the words to the Passover Seder song

The Passover Symbols

Rachtzah

Rachtzah

Bring, Deliver, Redeem, Take: Principles of Adulthood

Motzi-Matzah

The Wandering is Over Haggadah - Motzi Matzah

Seder Matzo Joke

Maror

The Wandering is Over Haggadah - Maror

Koreich

The Wandering is Over Haggadah - Koreich

Mixing the Bitter and the Sweet

Shulchan Oreich

The Wandering is Over Haggadah - Shulchan Oreich

Elijah's Cup

Pineapple for the Seder Plate

Tzafun

The Wandering is Over Haggadah - Tzafoon

Bareich

Bareich

Third Cup of Wine: A Focus on Punishment Rather than Rehabilitation

Hallel

The Wandering is Over Haggadah - Hallel

The Wandering is Over Haggadah - Cup of Elijah

Fill Somone's Cup

Fourth Cup of Wine: The Denial of Many of the Rights of Citizenship to People with a Criminal Record

Nirtzah

Nirtzah

Conclusion

Declaration of Revolutionary Love

Songs

The Wandering is Over Haggadah - Who Knows One

The Wandering is Over Haggadah - Chad Gadya

Miriam's Song




1. What do you consider your “promised land,” or heaven on earth?

2. In Hebrew, the word for Egypt is “Mitzraim,” which literally means “narrow place.” What is one way that you wish for our society to be more open?

3. Moses is considered one of the greatest leaders in our history — he is described as being smart, courageous, selfless and kind. Which of today’s leaders inspires you in a similar way?

4. Miriam was a prophetess and the sister of Moses who, after crossing the Red Sea, led the women in song and dance with tambourines. She is described as being courageous, confident, insightful and nurturing. Which musician or artist today inspires you in a similar way?

5. More recent and ongoing struggles for freedom include civil rights, GLBTQ equality, and women’s rights. Who is someone involved in this work that you admire?

6. Is there someone — or multiple people — in your family’s history who made their own journey to freedom?

7. Freedom is a central theme of Passover. When in your life have you felt most free?

8. If you could write an 11th commandment, what would it be?

9. What’s the longest journey you have ever taken?

10. How many non-food uses for matzah can you think of? Discuss!

11. Let’s say you are an Israelite packing for 40 years in the desert. What three modern items would you want to bring?

12. The Haggadah says that in every generation of Jewish history enemies have tried to eliminate us. What are the biggest threats you see to Judaism today?

13. The Passover seder format encourages us to ask as many questions as we can. What questions has Judaism encouraged you to ask?

14. Israel is central to the Passover seder. Do you think modern Israel is central to Jewish life? Why or why not?

15. The manna in the desert had a taste that matched the desire of each individual who ate it. For you, what would that taste be? Why?

16. Let’s say you had to swim across the Red Sea, and it could be made of anything except water. What would you want it to be?

17. If the prophet Elijah walked through the door and sat down at your table, what’s the first thing you would ask him?

18. Afikoman means “dessert” in Greek. If you could only eat one dessert for the rest of your life, what would it be?

19. What is something you wish to cleanse yourself of this year? A bad habit? An obsession or addiction?

20. The word “seder” means “order.” How do you maintain order in your life?

---

Download the PDF here: https://www.jewishboston.com/20-table-topics-for-your-passover-seder/





Our Passover meal is called a seder, which means “order” in Hebrew, because we go through specific steps as we retell the story of our ancestors’ liberation from slavery. Some people like to begin their seder by reciting or singing the names of the 14 steps—this will help you keep track of how far away the meal is!


Introduction

Why a Social Justice Seder?

Contributed by Eli Allen
Source: Baltimore Social Justice Seder

The Passover seder serves many purposes. First and foremost it is a ritualized celebration of the Israelites’ dramatic journey from slavery to freedom. But even early on, the seder was never just about our history. As the format of the seder was finalized in Mishnaic and Talmudic times, rituals were included to make each participant feel as if they personally were experiencing the journey from slavery to freedom. This theme of the seder goes beyond the Jewish people’s flight from Egypt and into the recurring fight for justice and freedom, a fight that is persistent throughout history and across the globe. The Passover seder tells us that just as our people experienced slavery, and just as we could not free ourselves, we have an obligation to also fight for freedom. The injustices of the world are many, but the Passover motif reminds us of the words of Pirkei Avot: “It is not your duty to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” Together, this Passover, let us use our collective power to further the cause of justice and freedom.

Why the Criminal Justice System?

In the Book of Deuteronomy we are told “tzedek, tzedek terdof” (justice, justice, shall you pursue). The commentaries explain that the word tzedek (justice) is repeated twice to tell us that just as important as the act of pursuing justice is the methodology of how justice is pursued. A criminal justice system that pursues justice in an unfair manner is, in fact, not a just system at all.

The injustices of our criminal justice system are most evident in the war on drugs. Over the 40 years since this war was launched, we have seen a radical shift in our criminal justice policy. The U.S. prison population has quintupled in size over this period (compared with population growth of 66%), and drug convictions have constituted more than half of this growth. Our current system focuses disproportionately on non-violent drug offenses in African American communities. While African Americans use drugs at roughly the same rate as whites, they are more than twice as likely to be arrested for a drug offense, three times as likely to be incarcerated for a drug offense, and face 20% longer sentences than their white counterparts.

This discrimination at each step of the criminal justice system, from politicians directing policing resources, to beat officers choosing who to stop on the street, to prosecutors deciding which charges to bring, to judges’ sentencing decisions, has had a devastating impact on African American communities in Baltimore and across the country. Baltimore City puts a higher proportion of its citizens behind bars than any other city in the United States. In Baltimore, over 50% of African American men in their 20’s are currently under the control of the criminal justice system—either in prison, on parole, or on probation. ii As many as 80% of African American men in most major cities, such as Baltimore, have a criminal record.

Once convicted, African American men are branded criminals or felons for life. They then enter a parallel social universe in which many of the rights supposedly won during the Civil Rights Movement no longer apply to them. It can be said that while it is no longer acceptable to explicitly discriminate on the basis of race, our criminal justice system accomplishes the same end by labeling a disproportionate number of African Americans as criminals and then subjecting them to the same discriminatory practices used during the Jim Crow era: employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of student aid, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service. The effect of our criminal justice system is that we have not ended Jim Crow—we have simply redesigned it. As Michelle Alexander powerfully puts in The New Jim Crow, “As a criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow.”iv This discrimination is in direct contrast to our Jewish values, which teach us that once a person has served their sentence, they return to being full-fledged members of society. The Book of Deuteronomy warns us against degrading criminals, and distinguishes between a guilty person awaiting punishment and the “brother” who has received his punishment and should now be considered an equal member of the community (Deuteronomy 25: 1-3).

The disproportionate emphasis that our criminal justice system places on minorities and non- violent drug offenses is detrimental to the entire community. Our community would be stronger if we spent fewer resources arresting and incarcerating people for drug offenses, and more resources preventing and addressing violent crime. Our community would be stronger if returning citizens could find legal, family sustaining jobs that did not force them back into the underground economy. Our community would be stronger if drug addiction were treated as a medical condition, instead of a crime worthy of incarceration and the permanent stigma of a criminal record. The prophet Ezekiel reminds us that we have a responsibility to help returning citizens to reshape their lives, not to punish them indefinitely (Ezekiel 33:11). Through criminal justice reform we are working towards a system that does not discriminate against minority communities, focuses on the prevention of violent crime, and uses strategies grounded in research, rather than emotion. Criminal justice reform makes society safer for us all.

Just as we remember our ancestors’ journey from slavery to freedom, let us spend this Passover expanding our awareness of the parallel fights for freedom within our own community. No one should be forced into a life sentence without the possibility of parole for a non-violent drug offense, as over 2,500 Americans are today.v No one should be forced to choose between feeding their children and staying out of the drug trade. No one in today’s age of justice and freedom should be permanently stripped of their basic rights of citizenship after serving their prison sentence. The Talmud teaches that those of us with the ability to protest injustice are responsible to do so (Shabbat 54b). Tonight we raise our voices and pens so that we can bring justice back to our criminal justice system.

Welcome (Eli Allen)




Long ago at this season, our people set out on a journey.

On such a night as this, Israel went from degradation to joy.

We give thanks for the liberation of days gone by.

And we pray for all who are still bound.

God, may all who hunger come to rejoice in a new Passover.

Let all the human family sit together, drink the wine of deliverance, and eat the bread of freedom:

Freedom from bondage     and freedom from oppression

Freedom from hunger     and freedom from want

Freedom from hatred     and freedom from fear

Freedom to think     and freedom to speak

Freedom to teach     and freedom to learn

Freedom to love     and freedom to share

Freedom to hope     and freedom to rejoice

Soon, in our days     Amen.

Now in the presence of loved ones and friends, before us the symbols of festive rejoicing, we gather for our sacred celebration. With our elders and young ones, linking and bonding the past with the future, we heed once again the divine call to service. Living our story that is told for all peoples, whose shining conclusion is yet to unfold, we gather to observe Passover.

You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought you out of Egypt. You shall observe this day throughout the generations as a practice for all times.

We assemble in fulfillment of the mitzvah.

Remember the day on which you went forth from Egypt, from the house of slavery, and how G-d freed you with a mighty hand.



Introduction

We've seen this before

Contributed by Amy Kroll
Source: http://abcnews.go.com/US/story-viral-photo-muslim-family-jewish-family-protesting/story?id=45191202





The Passover Seder is one of the most recognized and widely practiced of Jewish rituals, yet had our ancestors visited one of these modern-day celebrations, they would be baffled. Not only does our modern Seder wildly diverge from the Passover of old: during antiquity itself the holiday underwent radical changes.

As the centralized Israelite state took shape about 3,000 years ago, the religion of the people varied from place to place and took variegated forms, hints of which we can see in the Bible, virtually the only historical narrative we have of this period. Among the different folk beliefs and frankly polytheistic practices these proto-Israelites practiced, the springtime rites seem to have had special status. Two of these rituals would later become subsumed by Passover: Pesach and Hag Hamatzot.

Pesach

Pesach was a pastoral apotropaic ritual, that is: its purpose is to ward off evil. It was carried out by the semi-nomadic segment of Israelite society that subsisted on livestock. Spring was a critical time of the year for them, a time of lambing and a sign that soon they would have to migrate to find a summer pasture for their flock.

In order to protect their flocks, and families, from the dangers ahead, they would slaughter their flock’s newest addition as an offering, either a lamb or a kid, followed by a family feast.

The Origin of Matzah

Hag Hamatzot, on the other hand, was celebrated by the settled segment of Israelite society, who lived in villages and who drew their subsistence from farming. For them too spring was crucial, meaning the start of the harvest, of the cereals on which they depended.

Of the cereals grown by the ancient Israelites in this period, the first grain to be ready for harvest was barley. Although this made for inferior bread, it was highly prized: not rarely, by the spring harvest, the last year’s stores had been already depleted and hunger took grip of the land.

This new bread would have been unleavened, as the leavening used at the time was a portion of dough set aside from the last batch of bread. But this would have been unavailable due to the gap created by the empty stores. Add to this the fact that barley flour hardly rises anyway, and that the baking techniques of the time would have made even the superior bread made of wheat flour flat and hard, and you’ve got matzah.

Still, when hungry even matzah is a cause for celebration and one could imagine that the communal threshing grounds were filled with joy, cheer, and jubilation.




Leader:

We have come together this evening for many reasons. We are here because Spring is all around, the Earth is reborn, and it is a good time to celebrate with family and friends. We are here because we are Jews, because we are members of the Jewish nation, with its deep historic roots and its valuable old memories and stories.

We are here to remember the old story of the liberation of the ancient Hebrews from slavery in Egypt - a great struggle for freedom and dignity. We are here because the struggle for human freedom never stops. We are here to remember all people - Jews and non-Jews - who are still struggling for their freedom.

As we feel how wonderful and important it is for diverse peoples to come together, let us recite and then sing the words of HINNEH MAH TOV. 

HINNEH, MAH TOV - BEHOLD, HOW GOOD! (Adaptation* of T'hillim / Psalms 133.1)    

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is when peoples* dwell together in unity!

Hinneh, mah tov u-mah naim shevet ammim* gam yahad! 

(*originally "brothers", or "achim")



Introduction

Seder Map

Contributed by Baruch Sienna
Source: image


Seder Map



Kadesh

Kadesh

Contributed by Jewish Boston
Source: The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

All Jewish celebrations, from holidays to weddings, include wine as a symbol of our joy – not to mention a practical way to increase that joy. The seder starts with wine and then gives us three more opportunities to refill our cup and drink.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who chose us from all peoples and languages, and sanctified us with commandments, and lovingly gave to us special times for happiness, holidays and this time of celebrating the Holiday of Matzah, the time of liberation, reading our sacred stories, and remembering the Exodus from Egypt. For you chose us and sanctified us among all peoples. And you have given us joyful holidays. We praise God, who sanctifies the people of Israel and the holidays.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
 שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam,
she-hechiyanu v’key’manu v’higiyanu lazman hazeh.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything,
who has kept us alive, raised us up, and brought us to this happy moment.

Drink the first glass of wine!





The Shehecheyanu is a prayer that Jews have been saying for over 2000 years to mark special occasions. Tonight, all of us here together is special occasion. Whether Jewish or not, we have come here under a shared belief that everyone is entitled to be free. We all believe that everyone is entitled to certain inalienable rights. We all believe that we must treat our brothers and sisters with common decency. That is special and meaningful.

To mark this special and meaningful occasion, we all join together in the words of the Shehecheyanu:

בָרוּךְ אַתָה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְמָנוּ

וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְמַן הַזֶה

Baruch atah, Adonai, eloheinu melech ha’olam,

shehecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higiyanu lazman hazeh.

Blessed are you, Adonai, sovereign of all worlds, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this moment.



Kadesh

On Account of the Righteous Women

Contributed by Jennifer Kolker
Source: Aviva Cantor, The Egalitarian Hagada

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 his commands.

But the midwives did not follow orders.  Instead of murdering the infants, they took special care of them and their mothers.  When Pharaoh asked them to account for all the living children, they made up the excuse that Jewish women gave birth too fast to summon midwives in time.

The midwives' acts of civil disobedience were the first stirrings of resistance among the Jewish slaves. The actions of the midwives gave the people courage both to withstand their oppression and to envision how to overcome it.  It became the forerunner of the later resistance.  Thus Shifra and Pu'ah were not only midwives to the children they delivered, but also to the entire Jewish nation, in its deliverance from slavery.




Jewish celebrations usually include wine as a symbol of joy.

Wine sanctifies an occasion and makes it holy.

During the Passover Seder we drink four cups of wine, why four?

In the Book of Exodus, God convinced the Jews to leave Egypt using four statements:

I shall take you out
I shall rescue you
I shall redeem you
I shall bring you

We toast each of these statements with a cup of wine.

Pour and raise your first cup of wine/grape juice. This cup is dedicated to the renewal of spring, to the renewal of ourselves.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Drink your first cup of wine/grape juice!




Just about everybody experiences the sense of being foreign sometime in their lives. Most of the adults at this table have immigrated from a foreign country. But even if you have lived in the same city your entire life, as an adult you no longer live in the same neighborhood you lived in when you were growing up. Your home is defined not only by place but also by time. People have changed; circumstances have changed. As a foreigner in that sense, you try to find a shared past with people. You may get excited to find that somebody you encounter grew up in the same city that you did, whereas, if you lived in the city where you grew up, you would probably not even stop to talk to that same person.

As a Jew, you have a built in sense of shared identity with other Jews. How does the fact that you are Jewish affect your self-identity in situations where you are a stranger? How important is being Jewish to you? What would the world be missing if there were no Jews any more? Tonight let's consider these questions and discuss our answers.



Urchatz

Urchatz - Wash Your Hands To Prepare for the Seder

Contributed by Jewish Boston
Source: The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

Water is refreshing, cleansing, and clear, so it’s easy to understand why so many cultures and religions use water for symbolic purification. We will wash our hands twice during our seder: now, with no blessing, to get us ready for the rituals to come; and then again later, we’ll wash again with a blessing, preparing us for the meal, which Judaism thinks of as a ritual in itself. (The Jewish obsession with food is older than you thought!)

To wash your hands, you don’t need soap, but you do need a cup to pour water over your hands. Pour water on each of your hands three times, alternating between your hands. If the people around your table don’t want to get up to walk all the way over to the sink, you could pass a pitcher and a bowl around so everyone can wash at their seats… just be careful not to spill!

Too often during our daily lives we don’t stop and take the moment to prepare for whatever it is we’re about to do.

Let's pause to consider what we hope to get out of our evening together tonight. Go around the table and share one hope or expectation you have for tonight's seder.



Urchatz

Water in the News

Contributed by Joseph Zitt
Source: original for the Haggadah

In washing our hands, we also think of those who don't get to share in the basic human right of abundant, clean water

of people deprived of water by the weather in Somalia, in India, in Texas

and those deprived of water by human action in places like Flint, Michigan

as well as those whose homes have been ravaged by wind and water in Colombia, in California, and here in New Jersey.

We wash our hands and accept our responsibilities to those threatened by the presence and absence of water

and pray that those with the human power to change things do not wash their hands of what the world needs them to correct.




This symbolic washing of the hands recalls the story of Miriam's Well. Legend tells us that this well followed Miriam, sister of Moses, through the desert, sustaining the Jews in their wanderings. Filled with mayim chayim, waters of life, the well was a source of strength and renewal to all who drew from it. One drink from its waters was said to alert the heart, mind and soul, and make the meaning of Torah become alive.

As we prepare to wash our hands, we must remember that...many in the United States and around the world do not have access to clean water. Clean water is not a privilege; it is a basic human right. One in ten people currently lack access to clean water. That’s nearly 1 billion people in the world without clean, safe drinking water. Almost 3.5 million people die every year because of inadequate water supply.

We symbolize the uplifting of cleansed hands by raising hands into the air. 




As we wash our hands for the first time this evening, we remember that we have the freedom to access resources that many do not. Ask yourself these questions: In what ways are we free today? What does freedom mean for Jews in America? For Jews around the world? What does freedom mean for people of all backgrounds around the world? Are there many who are not free?



“Gratitude is the moral memory of mankind. If every grateful action were suddenly eliminated, society would crumble.” – Georg Simmel

Gratitude and happiness are intertwined and for good reason. It is no coincidence that positive psychology practitioners and happiness experts state that in order to increase your contentment in life you need to boost your level of gratitude.

One of the leading researchers in gratitude is Dr. Robert Emmons. He has brought gratitude into the forefront by demonstrating how simple acts of gratitude can have a gigantic impact on well-being and happiness. Emmons argues that gratitude is more than feeling good.

“It goes beyond the pleasant feeling because it implores people to share their joyful experiences with others. So in this sense gratitude is not about receiving, but it entails a large component of giving as well” (2007).

Emmons and other positive psychology practitioners such as Martin Seligman believe the positive effects of gratitude can’t be overstated.

“Gratitude can make your life happier and more satisfying. When we feel gratitude, we benefit from the pleasant memory of a positive event in our life. Also, when we express our gratitude to others, we strengthen our relationship with them” (Seligman, 2012).

You can never be too grateful. When you take for granted the people and things you have in your life, instead of being grateful for them, you are missing out on an opportunity to live a healthier and happier life.

You are also ignoring the strength of social connection that gratitude creates. Not only will practicing gratitude benefit you psychologically and socially, but physically you will feel better as well.

Like anything else in life the benefits of gratitude can be cultivated through concentrated practice. There are a multitude of exercises at your disposal that will sustain your desire to manifest more gratitude into your life. And therefore, more well-being and contentment.




Karpas

Karpas

Contributed by Jewish Boston
Source: The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

Passover, like many of our holidays, combines the celebration of an event from our Jewish memory with a recognition of the cycles of nature. As we remember the liberation from Egypt, we also recognize the stirrings of spring and rebirth happening in the world around us. The symbols on our table bring together elements of both kinds of celebration.

We now take a vegetable, representing our joy at the dawning of spring after our long, cold winter. Most families use a green vegetable, such as parsley or celery, but some families from Eastern Europe have a tradition of using a boiled potato since greens were hard to come by at Passover time. Whatever symbol of spring and sustenance we’re using, we now dip it into salt water, a symbol of the tears our ancestors shed as slaves. Before we eat it, we recite a short blessing:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree ha-adama.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruits of the earth.

We look forward to spring and the reawakening of flowers and greenery. They haven’t been lost, just buried beneath the snow, getting ready for reappearance just when we most needed them.

-

We all have aspects of ourselves that sometimes get buried under the stresses of our busy lives. What has this winter taught us? What elements of our own lives do we hope to revive this spring?



Yachatz

Yachatz - Breaking the Middle Matzah

Contributed by Jewish Boston
Source: The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

There are three pieces of matzah stacked on the table. We now break the middle matzah into two pieces. The host should wrap up the larger of the pieces and, at some point between now and the end of dinner, hide it. This piece is called the afikomen, literally “dessert” in Greek. After dinner, the guests will have to hunt for the afikomen in order to wrap up the meal… and win a prize.

We eat matzah in memory of the quick flight of our ancestors from Egypt. As slaves, they had faced many false starts before finally being let go. So when the word of their freedom came, they took whatever dough they had and ran with it before it had the chance to rise, leaving it looking something like matzah.

Uncover and hold up the three pieces of matzah and say:

This is the bread of poverty which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. All who are hungry, come and eat; all who are needy, come and celebrate Passover with us. This year we are here; next year we will be in Israel. This year we are slaves; next year we will be free.

These days, matzah is a special food and we look forward to eating it on Passover. Imagine eating only matzah, or being one of the countless people around the world who don’t have enough to eat.

What does the symbol of matzah say to us about oppression in the world, both people literally enslaved and the many ways in which each of us is held down by forces beyond our control? How does this resonate with events happening now?



Yachatz

Entering the Broken World

Contributed by Mishael Zion
Source: A Night to Remember: The Haggadah of Contemporary Voices by Mishael Zion and Noam Zion http://haggadahsrus.com/NTR.html

The Pesach story begins in a broken world, amidst slavery and oppression. The sound of the breaking of the matza sends us into that fractured existence, only to become whole again when we find the broken half, the afikoman, at the end of the Seder.

This brokenness is not just a physical or political situation: It reminds us of all those hard, damaged places within ourselves. All those narrow places from which we want to break to free. In Hebrew, Egypt is called Mitzrayim, reminding us of the word tzar, narrow. Thus, in Hassidic thought, Mitzrayim symbolizes the inner straits that trap our souls. Yet even here we can find a unique value, as the Hassidic saying teaches us: "There is nothing more whole – than a broken heart."

SHARE: Pass out a whole matza to every Seder participant, inviting them to take a moment to ponder this entrance into a broken world, before they each break the matza themselves.



Maggid - Beginning

Maggid (Introduction)

Contributed by Jewish Boston
Source: The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

Pour the second glass of wine for everyone.

The Haggadah doesn’t tell the story of Passover in a linear fashion. We don’t hear of Moses being found by the daughter of Pharaoh – actually, we don’t hear much of Moses at all. Instead, we get an impressionistic collection of songs, images, and stories of both the Exodus from Egypt and from Passover celebrations through the centuries. Some say that minimizing the role of Moses keeps us focused on the miracles God performed for us. Others insist that we keep the focus on the role that every member of the community has in bringing about positive change.



Maggid - Beginning

Arami Oved Avi

Contributed by Alon Ferency
Source: Rabbi Alon C Ferency

Arami Oved Avi

אֲרַמִי אבֵֹד אָבִי, וַיֵרֶׁד מִצְרַיְמָה, וַיָגָר שָם בִמְתֵי מְעָט .

Deuteronomy 26:1-10

My ancestor was a refugee Aramean. He descended to Egypt and resided there in small numbers. There, he became a great nation, powerful and vast. The Egyptians persecuted us, and battered us, giving us severe labors. We cried out to God, who is god to our ancestors, and then God heard our voice. God saw our suffering, toil, and oppression. God took us out of Egypt with a strong hand and outstretched arm, with great demonstrations[ of God’s power] and wonderful signs. God brought us to this place, and gave us this Land, a Land of milk and honey.

Letter from a Foreign Jew (Egypt, 11th cent.)

I have no cover, and no couch, and no work to which I can resort. I am from a faraway place, namely Rahba [Iraq].

I have been here three months and none of our coreligionists has paid attention to me or fed me with a piece of bread. So I have turned to God the exalted and to my master to do for me what is appropriate for every wayfarer and give me as charity a little money to raise [my] spirits, for I am miserable and dying from hunger. Dogs get their fill these days with bread, but not I.

The Economist, Keep the Borders Open, January 3, 2008

History has shown that immigration encourages prosperity. Tens of millions of Europeans who made it to the New World in the 19th and 20th centuries improved their lot, just as the near 40m foreign-born are doing in America today.

Many migrants return home with new skills, savings, technology and bright ideas. Remittances to poor countries in 2006 were worth at least $260 billion— more, in many countries, than aid and foreign investment combined…

The movement of people also helps the rich world. Prosperous countries with greying workforces rely ever more on young foreigners. Indeed, advanced economies compete vigorously for outsiders’ skills. Around a third of the Americans who won Nobel prizes in physics in the past seven years were born abroad. About 40% of science and engineering PhDs working in America are immigrants. Around a third of Silicon Valley companies were started by Indians and Chinese. The low-skilled are needed too, especially in farming, services and care for children and the elderly. It is no coincidence that countries that welcome immigrants—such as Sweden, Ireland, America and Britain—have better economic records than those that shun them.





We've all just named individually a place of mitzrayim — a place of constriction — in our own personal lives. We've named a place that we want to break, and, in breaking, create the open space for transformation.

This is scary work. It can be overwhelming, and it can make us feel alone. As we transition into the story of Exodus, we remind ourselves that we're here in community. We commit to our own individual healing not just for ourselves, but for each other; not just with ourselves, but with each other.

Through sharing our brokenness, we make community. Individual and collective liberation: these are not two separate processes. It is one journey.



-- Four Questions

The Four Questions

Contributed by Jewish Boston
Source: JewishBoston.com

The formal telling of the story of Passover is framed as a discussion with lots of questions and answers. The tradition that the youngest person asks the questions reflects the centrality of involving everyone in the seder. The rabbis who created the set format for the seder gave us the Four Questions to help break the ice in case no one had their own questions. Asking questions is a core tradition in Jewish life. If everyone at your seder is around the same age, perhaps the person with the least seder experience can ask them – or everyone can sing them all together.

מַה נִּשְׁתַּנָּה הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילות

Ma nishtana halaila hazeh mikol haleilot?

Why is this night different from all other nights?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכלין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה  הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלּוֹ מצה  

Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin chameitz u-matzah. Halaila hazeh kulo matzah.

On all other nights we eat both leavened bread and matzah.
Tonight we only eat matzah.

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מָרוֹר

Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin shi’ar yirakot haleila hazeh maror.

On all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables,
but tonight we eat bitter herbs.

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אָֽנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּֽעַם אחָת  הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעמים

Shebichol haleilot ain anu matbilin afilu pa-am echat. Halaila hazeh shtei fi-amim.

On all other nights we aren’t expected to dip our vegetables one time.
Tonight we do it twice.

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין.  :הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָּֽנוּ מְסֻבין

Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin bein yoshvin uvein m’subin. Halaila hazeh kulanu m’subin.

On all other nights we eat either sitting normally or reclining.
Tonight we recline.





Please use these alternative questions to spark conversation during dinner and for the rest of the evening.



We start the seder by noticing what is out of the ordinary and then investigating its meaning further. How is this night different from all other nights? On all other nights, we depend on the exploitation of invisible others for our food, clothing, homes, and more. Tonight, we listen to the stories of those who suffer to create the goods we use. We commit to working toward the human rights of all workers. On all other nights, we have allowed human life to become cheap in the economic quest for the cheapest goods. Tonight, we commit to valuing all people, regardless of their race, class, or circumstances. On all other nights, we have forgotten that poverty, migration, and gender-based violence leave people vulnerable to exploitation, including modern-day slavery. Tonight, we commit to taking concrete actions to end this exploitation and its causes. On all other nights, we have forgotten to seek wisdom among those who know how to end slavery—the people who have experienced this degradation. Tonight, we commit to slavery prevention that is rooted in the wisdom and experience of workers, trafficking survivors, and affected communities. When the seder has ended, we will not return to how it has been “on all other nights.” We commit to bringing the lessons of this seder into our actions tomorrow.



On Passover, the Jewish community asks ourselves, friends, family and neighbors, What makes this night different from all other nights?   Four Jewish racial justice leaders shared their answers. 

"As Jews, we remember and we cannot let injustice happen again in this country. This is our moment to bend the moral arc and to move racial justice work forward through advocacy, activism, and engagement." -- Tiffany Harris

"Our relative safety in American has allowed many of us to consider the fight for racial justice as struggle we can opt in and out of. But then are we fully honoring our traditional teaching of 'If I am only for myself, what am I?' Now is the moment for us to stand against injustice not only for ourselves, but for the most vulnerable among us." -- Chava Shervington 

"Because those in the grips of Pharoah's institutional oppression have been given a platform to see their greatness and be seen as great. Because the Passover seder tells us to remember and protect them, as it says: 'The night of (worthy) protection for all future generations... (Exodus, 12:42)'" -- Isaiah Rothstein

"Maybe it isn't different and you're just treating it that way. Or maybe it is. But you're insisting that it doesn't need to be treated differently." -- MaNishtana

-

Download the PDF Pyramid Cut Out for your seder table at http://rpr.world/passover-pyramid



-- Four Children

The Four Children

Contributed by Jewish Boston
Source: The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

As we tell the story, we think about it from all angles. Our tradition speaks of four different types of children who might react differently to the Passover seder. It is our job to make our story accessible to all the members of our community, so we think about how we might best reach each type of child:

What does the wise child say?

The wise child asks, What are the testimonies and laws which God commanded you?

You must teach this child the rules of observing the holiday of Passover.

What does the wicked child say?

The wicked child asks, What does this service mean to you?

To you and not to himself! Because he takes himself out of the community and misses the point, set this child’s teeth on edge and say to him: “It is because of what God did for me in taking me out of Egypt.” Me, not him. Had that child been there, he would have been left behind.

What does the simple child say?

The simple child asks, What is this?

To this child, answer plainly: “With a strong hand God took us out of Egypt, where we were slaves.”

What about the child who doesn’t know how to ask a question?

Help this child ask.

Start telling the story:

“It is because of what God did for me in taking me out of Egypt.”

-

Do you see yourself in any of these children? At times we all approach different situations like each of these children. How do we relate to each of them?




At Passover, we are confronted with the stories of our ancestors’ pursuit of liberation from oppression. Facing this mirror of history, how do we answer their challenge? How do we answer our children when they ask us how to pursue justice in our time?

What does the Activist Child ask?

“The Torah tells me, ‘Justice, justice shall you pursue,’ but how can I pursue justice?”

Empower him always to seek pathways to advocate for the vulnerable. As Proverbs teaches, “Speak up for the mute, for the rights of the unfortunate. Speak up, judge righteously, champion the poor and the needy.”

What does the Skeptical Child ask?

“How can I solve problems of such enormity?”

Encourage her by explaining that she need not solve the problems, she must only do what she is capable of doing. As we read in Pirke Avot, “It is not your responsibility to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.”

What does the Indifferent Child say?

“It’s not my responsibility.”

Persuade him that responsibility cannot be shirked. As Abraham Joshua Heschel writes, “The opposite of good is not evil, the opposite of good is indifference. In a free society where terrible wrongs exist, some are guilty, but all are responsible.”

And the Uninformed Child who does not know how to ask…

Prompt her to see herself as an inheritor of our people’s legacy. As it says in Deuteronomy, “You must befriend the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

At this season of liberation, join us in working for the liberation of all people. Let us respond to our children’s questions with action and justice.



-- Four Children

The Four Daughters

Contributed by Alon Ferency
Source: Temple Emunah Women’s Seder Haggadah Design Committee

Around our tables sit four daughters:

Wise Daughter

The wise daughter understands that not everything is as it appears. She is the one who speaks up, confident that her opinion counts. She is the one who can take the tradition and ritual that is placed before her, turn it over and over, and find personal meaning in it. She is the one who can find the secrets in the empty spaces between the letters of the Torah. She is the one who claims a place for herself even if the men do not make room for her. Some call her wise and accepting. We call her creative and assertive. We welcome creativity and assertiveness to sit with us at our tables and inspire us to act.

Wicked Daughter

The wicked daughter is the one who dares to challenge the simplistic answers she has been given. She is the one who asks too many questions. She is the one not content to remain in her prescribed place. She is the one who breaks the mold. She is the one who challenges the status quo. Some call her wicked and rebellious. We call her daring and courageous. We welcome rebellion to sit with us at our tables and make us uneasy.

Simple Daughter

The simple daughter is the one who accepts what she is given without asking for more. She is the one who trusts easily and believes what she is told. She is the one who prefers waiting and watching over seeking and acting. She is the one who believes that the redemption from Egypt was the final act of freedom. She is the one who follows in the footsteps of others. Some call her simple and naive. We call her the one whose eyes are yet to be opened. We welcome the contented one to sit with us at our tables and appreciate what will is still to come.

Daughter Who Does Not Know How to Ask

Last is the daughter who does not know how to ask. She is one who obeys and does not question. She is the one who has accepted men’s definitions of the world. She is the one who has not found her own voice. She is the one who is content to be invisible. Some call her subservient and oppressed. We call her our sister. We welcome the silent one to sit with us at our tables and experience a community that welcomes the voices of women.




In recounting our story, let us consider that we tell it to four children, one wise, one simple, one wicked and one innocent.

The wise child asks: How can I learn more about our people?  To that child you shall direct our wealth of literature so that they may seek out this knowledge for themself.

The simple child asks: What is this all about?  To that child you shall say simply , because we had faith we were redeemed from slavery.

The wicked child asks: What good is this to you?  To that child you shall say, do not exclude yourself by saying "to you" but say instead "to us", for only together can we succeed.

The innocent child does not know how to ask.  For this child you shall tell them that we were taken out of Egypt so that we could be free.

Say to all of the children, that you may know who you are, get wisdom, get understanding and it shall preserve you, love it and it shall keep you.



-- Four Children

Four Faces of Oneself

Contributed by K Cohen
Source: Adapted from Peace and Justice Haggadah

My Angry Self – Violent and oppressive things are happening to me, the people I love and people I don’t even know. Why can’t we make the people in power hurt the way we are all hurting?

Expressing our anger, releasing our anger, knowing and claiming our anger is an important step in the process of liberation, but hatred and violence can never overcome hatred and violence. Only love and compassion can transform our world. 

My Ashamed Self – I’m so ashamed of what people are doing that I have no way of dealing with it!

We acknowledge our feelings of guilt, shame and disappointment in order to not be paralyzed by these strong emotions. We transmute these forces, using the fire of injustice to fuel us in working for change. We also remember and celebrate the amazing, ordinary people around the world who are working to dismantle oppression together everyday.

My Fearful Self – Why should I care about other people when they don’t care about me? If I share what I have, there won’t be enough and I will end up suffering.

We must challenge the sense of scarcity that we have learned from capitalism and our histories of oppression. If we change the way food, housing, education, and resources are distributed, we could all have enough. 

Martin Luther King said: It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality.

My Compassionate Self – How can I struggle for justice with an open heart? How can we live in a way that builds the world we want to live in, without losing hope?

This is the question that we answer with our lives. Compassion is the foundation upon which we can build loving communities, dedicated to the lifelong journey toward liberation. We are all blind and constricted in certain areas, and we are all wise and liberated in others. Compassion allows us to forgive ourselves and each other for our imperfections, and to release the judgments that keep us from fully experiencing love.

Each of us contains the angry one, the ashamed one, the frightened one, the compassionate one. When we can acknowledge all four of them, we are able to stay on the long and winding path toward personal liberation.




Traditionally, The Four Sons/Daughters include a wise one, a wicked (or rebellious) one, a simple one and one who does not even know enough to ask. Each of the first three ask questions about the Seder, essentially "Explain all this to me - what are my responsibilities?" "What has all this nonsense you are babbling about got to do with me?" and "What IS all this anyway?" while the fourth is silent - requiring the adults to be proactive in providing an explanation of the Seder proceedings.

Some say that The Four Children is a metaphor for four different attitudes toward tradition, toward belonging and toward being active or passive in the face of injustice. Some say it is about stages of life, from childhood, through adolescence and into adulthood (and, potentially, back again toward old age).

In the spirit of telling the story of Exodus and different attitudes that one might take to one's communal and global responsibilities, think about your relationship to your tradition, the people from whom or the place from which you come and the events taking place there.

- Do you understand what is going on?

- Do you feel any obligation to do anything about it?

- What would you do if you could?

- What should you tell your children about it?

As we all join together, in 2015, we bring many different thoughts and approaches to this wonderful Seder Table.  We have three generations represented.  We have traveled from all over, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Florida, and even Saudi Arabia!  We hope that Jacob Williard is having a nice seder on the West Coast, and we hope that Sara Levitt is having a nice seder in Vermont, and we look forward to seeing them at future family Simcha’s!

I think I speak for all who are present and those who are not here when I say that we have ALL TYPES of children represented in this FAMILY!  And we wouldn’t want it any other way!




At Passover, we are confronted with the stories of our ancestors’ pursuit of liberation from oppression. Facing this mirror of history, how do we answer their challenge? How do we answer our children when they ask us how to pursue justice in our time?

What does the Activist Child ask?

“The Torah tells me, ‘Justice, justice shall you pursue,’ but how can I pursue justice?”

Empower him always to seek pathways to advocate for the vulnerable. As Proverbs teaches, “Speak up for the mute, for the rights of the unfortunate. Speak up, judge righteously, champion the poor and the needy.”

What does the Skeptical Child ask?

“How can I solve problems of such enormity?”

Encourage her by explaining that she need not solve the problems, she must only do what she is capable of doing. As we read in Pirke Avot, “It is not your responsibility to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.”

What does the Indifferent Child say?

“It’s not my responsibility.”

Persuade him that responsibility cannot be shirked. As Abraham Joshua Heschel writes, “The opposite of good is not evil, the opposite of good is indifference. In a free society where terrible wrongs exist, some are guilty, but all are responsible.”

And the Uninformed Child who does not know how to ask…

Prompt her to see herself as an inheritor of our people’s legacy. As it says in Deuteronomy, “You must befriend the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

At this season of liberation, join us in working for the liberation of all people. Let us respond to our children’s questions with action and justice.



 



-- Exodus Story

Telling our Story

Contributed by Jewish Boston
Source: The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

Our story starts in ancient times, with Abraham, the first person to have the idea that maybe all those little statues his contemporaries worshiped as gods were just statues. The idea of one God, invisible and all-powerful, inspired him to leave his family and begin a new people in Canaan, the land that would one day bear his grandson Jacob’s adopted name, Israel.

God had made a promise to Abraham that his family would become a great nation, but this promise came with a frightening vision of the troubles along the way: “Your descendants will dwell for a time in a land that is not their own, and they will be enslaved and afflicted for four hundred years; however, I will punish the nation that enslaved them, and afterwards they shall leave with great wealth."

Raise the glass of wine and say:

וְהִיא שֶׁעָמְדָה לַאֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ וְלָֽנוּ

V’hi she-amda l’avoteinu v’lanu.

This promise has sustained our ancestors and us.

For not only one enemy has risen against us to annihilate us, but in every generation there are those who rise against us. But God saves us from those who seek to harm us.

The glass of wine is put down.

In the years our ancestors lived in Egypt, our numbers grew, and soon the family of Jacob became the People of Israel. Pharaoh and the leaders of Egypt grew alarmed by this great nation growing within their borders, so they enslaved us. We were forced to perform hard labor, perhaps even building pyramids. The Egyptians feared that even as slaves, the Israelites might grow strong and rebel. So Pharaoh decreed that Israelite baby boys should be drowned, to prevent the Israelites from overthrowing those who had enslaved them.

But God heard the cries of the Israelites. And God brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and outstretched arm, with great awe, miraculous signs and wonders. God brought us out not by angel or messenger, but through God’s own intervention. 





Use this guide to talk to anyone in your life who is not yet part of the Jewish movement in support of refugees. Consider reaching out to someone who has expressed concern about welcoming refugees to the United States or even someone who has made disparaging remarks.

We can be advocates for refugees not only through our political activism but also in our closest relationships. Take a few minutes to listen to another person’s perspective, provide basic facts about the global refugee crisis, address hate speech, and talk about the issue in a Jewish context. We hope that these conversations will prompt some people to take action or simply begin to view refugees differently.

Listen Fully
In addition to generating respect, listening fully will help the person you are speaking with remain more open. You’ll also come to understand why they feel the way they do and can follow up accordingly and find the places where they seem most open to change.

Build Empathy
Challenge yourself to see things from the perspective of the person with whom you’re speaking. If they express fear, help them build empathy with refugees by telling the stories of contemporary refugees and the fears they face as they flee violence and persecution. You can find stories of today’s refugees on HIAS’ blog at www.hias.org/blog.

Draw On Your History & Values
Welcoming the stranger is both an American and Jewish value. The United States was founded to provide freedom and safety to the persecuted. Helping refugees sets an example for the nations of the world to follow. Welcoming the stranger is also a core Jewish value. Turn the page for more information about Jewish values and history to use in conversation.

Bring the Facts
A lot of anti-refugee sentiment is based on lack of, or false, information. You can help correct misunderstandings about refugees with the information on the next page.



-- Ten Plagues

The Ten Plagues

Contributed by Jewish Boston
Source: The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

As we rejoice at our deliverance from slavery, we acknowledge that our freedom was hard-earned. We regret that our freedom came at the cost of the Egyptians’ suffering, for we are all human beings made in the image of God. We pour out a drop of wine for each of the plagues as we recite them.

Dip a finger or a spoon into your wine glass for a drop for each plague.

These are the ten plagues which God brought down on the Egyptians:

Blood | dam | דָּם

Frogs | tzfardeiya |  צְפַרְדֵּֽעַ

Lice | kinim | כִּנִּים

Beasts | arov | עָרוֹב

Cattle disease | dever | דֶּֽבֶר

Boils | sh’chin | שְׁחִין

Hail | barad | בָּרָד

Locusts | arbeh | אַרְבֶּה

Darkness | choshech | חֹֽשֶׁךְ

Death of the Firstborn | makat b’chorot | מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת

The Egyptians needed ten plagues because after each one they were able to come up with excuses and explanations rather than change their behavior. Could we be making the same mistakes? Make up your own list. What are the plagues in your life? What are the plagues in our world today? What behaviors do we need to change to fix them? 



-- Ten Plagues

The Modern Plagues

Contributed by Jewish Boston
Source: JewishBoston.com with Rabbi Matthew Soffer

The Passover Haggadah recounts ten plagues that afflicted Egyptian society. In our tradition, Passover is the season in which we imagine our own lives within the story and the story within our lives. Accordingly, we turn our thoughts to the many plagues affecting our society today. Our journey from slavery to redemption is ongoing, demanding the work of our hearts and hands. Here are ten “modern plagues”:  

Homelessness

In any given year, about 3.5 million people are likely to experience homelessness, about a third of them children, according to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. A recent study by the U.S. Conference of Mayors showed the majority of major cities lack the capacity to shelter those in need and are forced to turn people away. We are reminded time and again in the Torah that the Exodus is a story about a wandering people, once suffering from enslavement, who, through God’s help, eventually find their way to their homeland. As we inherit this story, we affirm our commitment to pursue an end to homelessness.

Hunger

About 49 million Americans experience food insecurity, 16 million of them children. While living in a world blessed with more than enough food to ensure all of God’s children are well nourished, on Passover we declare, “Let all who are hungry come and eat!” These are not empty words, but rather a heartfelt and age-old prayer to end the man-made plague of hunger.

Inequality

Access to affordable housing, quality health care, nutritious food and quality education is far from equal. The disparity between the privileged and the poor is growing, with opportunities for upward mobility still gravely limited. Maimonides taught, “Everyone in the house of Israel is obligated to study Torah, regardless of whether one is rich or poor, physically able or with a physical disability.” Unequal access to basic human needs, based on one’s real or perceived identity, like race, gender or disability, is a plague, antithetical to the inclusive spirit of the Jewish tradition.

Greed

In the Talmud, the sage Ben Zoma asks: “Who is wealthy? One who is happy with one’s lot.” These teachings evidence what we know in our conscience—a human propensity to desire more than we need, to want what is not ours and, at times, to allow this inclination to conquer us, leading to sin. Passover urges us against the plague of greed, toward an attitude of gratitude.

Discrimination and hatred

The Jewish people, as quintessential victims of hatred and discrimination, are especially sensitized to this plague in our own day and age. Today, half a century after the civil rights movement in the United States, we still are far from the actualization of the dream Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. articulated in Washington, D.C., a vision rooted in the message of our prophets. On Passover, we affirm our own identity as the once oppressed, and we refuse to stand idly by amid the plagues of discrimination and hatred.

Silence amid violence

Every year, 4.8 million cases of domestic violence against American women are reported. Each year, more than 108,000 Americans are shot intentionally or unintentionally in murders, assaults, suicides and suicide attempts, accidental shootings and by police intervention. One in five children has seen someone get shot. We do not adequately address violence in our society, including rape, sex trafficking, child abuse, domestic violence and elder abuse, even though it happens every day within our own communities.

Environmental destruction

Humans actively destroy the environment through various forms of pollution, wastefulness, deforestation and widespread apathy toward improving our behaviors and detrimental civic policies. Rabbi Nachman of Brezlav taught, “If you believe you can destroy, you must believe you can repair.” Our precious world is in need of repair, now more than ever.

Stigma of mental illness

One in five Americans experiences mental illness in a given year. Even more alarming, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly two-thirds of people with a diagnosable mental illness do not seek treatment, and minority communities are the least likely to search for or have access to mental health resources. Social stigma toward those with mental illness is a widespread plague. Historically, people with mental health issues have suffered from severe discrimination and brutality, yet our society is increasingly equipped with the knowledge and resources to alleviate the plague of social stigma and offer critical support.

Ignoring refugees

We are living through the worst refugee crisis since the Holocaust. On this day, we remember that “we were foreigners in the land of Egypt,” and God liberated us for a reason: to love the stranger as ourselves. With the memory of generations upon generations of our ancestors living as refugees, we commit ourselves to safely and lovingly opening our hearts and our doors to all peace-loving refugees.

Powerlessness

When faced with these modern plagues, how often do we doubt or question our own ability to make a difference? How often do we feel paralyzed because we do not know what to do to bring about change? How often do we find ourselves powerless to transform the world as it is into the world as we know it should be, overflowing with justice and peace?

Written in collaboration with Rabbi Matthew Soffer of Temple Israel of Boston




A Rabbi who came to America in the 1920's relates the following story: 

"When I first came into the city, I saw a big store. I walked inside and noticed people taking shopping carts and going aisle to aisle, piling as much food as they wanted into their carts. No one said anything to them, and no one stopped them. People filled up their wagons to their hearts' content. This seemed very strange to me. Indeed, this must be the land of gold that we often heard about America in the old country. 

But then I noticed something very strange. As soon as someone came to the checkout counter, every item was taken out and scrutinized. Everything was registered and recorded to the smallest detail, and then payment was extracted. Later on people explained to me that this was what is called in America a "supermarket". One has the right to take whatever one wants, but an account and payment is demanded at the end." 

Whoever wishes to borrow may come and borrow but the collectors regularly make their rounds and exact payment. Nothing is free and G-d ultimately judges. Mitz'rayim enslaved us and made payment.



-- Ten Plagues

Ten Plagues

Contributed by Eli Allen
Source: Baltimore Social Justice Seder

Leader:
God brought ten plagues upon the Egyptian people as part of the Israelites’ journey to freedom. Tonight we read ten modern plagues that result from unfair, inequitable, and excessive practices in the criminal justice system. As we read each plague we remove a drop of wine from our glasses to symbolize our anguish at the suffering these plagues have caused.

Recite together:

 The concentration of police drug enforcement resources in poor communities of color

 The forfeiture laws and grant programs that incentivize making mass numbers of drug arrests

 Racial discrimination in conviction rates for drug offenses

 Racial discrimination in the length of sentences handed down for drug offenses

 Minimum sentencing rules that are overly punitive and tie the hands of judges

 The denial of parole to every prisoner serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole in Maryland

 The denial of civil rights, such as employment, education, housing, public benefits, and jury service to individuals with criminal records

 The sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine

 The garnishing of up to 100% of wages to pay back fines, fees and costs that are a condition of probation or parole

 The concentration of police resources on the war on drugs, which creates more crime than it prevents

1. The concentration of police drug enforcement resources in poor communities of color

About 9% of Marylanders violate drug laws each month, and people of all races engage in this illegal activity at similar rates. With such a large population of offenders to choose from, police have incredible discretion in deciding which neighborhoods and people to target. The police have chosen to direct their resources at impoverished communities of color, and to overlook suburban neighborhoods. It has become common for the police to use SWAT teams and militarized tactics in minority communities, while their use is rare in the affluent white neighborhoods where they would likely spur a political backlash. Beyond targeting African American communities, the police also disproportionately target African Americans within predominantly white environments. One study in Baltimore found that while only 21% of drivers on I-95 are African American, they represented 70% of those stopped and searched for drugs.xiii What made this even more shocking was the finding that whites were more likely than African Americans to be carrying illegal drugs in their vehicles. The effect of the disproportionate concentration of police resources is that while African Americans use drugs at the same rate as whites, they are more than twice as likely to be arrested for a drug offense. This disproportionate targeting of African Americans represents a cornerstone of our new system of racial control.

2. The forfeiture laws and grant programs that incentivize making mass numbers of drug arrests

The federal government has created powerful financial incentives for local police departments to focus their resources on arresting people for low-level non-violent drug offenses. The government provides an estimated $153 of funding to local police departments for each drug arrest, and the Pentagon further provides military equipment in proportion to the number of arrests.xiv As a further inducement to increase drug arrests, the federal government has authorized local police departments to use the cash and assets connected with illegal drug activity to supplement their budgets.

3. Racial discrimination in conviction rates for drug offenses

Prosecutors have incredible discretion over the fate of criminal defendants. They decide whether to try or dismiss a case, what charges to bring, what plea deal to offer, and even whether to transfer a case to the federal system where the penalties are more severe. Studies have regularly shown that prosecutors use this discretion to the detriment of African American defendants. One study concluded that at nearly every stage of pretrial negotiation, African Americans were less successful than similarly situated whites at getting charges reduced to misdemeanors or infractions.xv As a result, African Americans are three times as likely as whites to be incarcerated for a drug offense.xvi

4. Racial discrimination in the length of sentences handed down for drug offenses

The U.S. Sentencing Commission recently found that African American men face prison sentences that are nearly 20% longer than those of white men for similar crimes. Studies have further found that the sentencing disparities faced by African Americans are even greater for drug offenses than for violent crimes. One explanation is that when judges are faced with less serious offenders, they are more likely to allow non-legal factors, such as race, to influence their sentencing decisions.xvii

5. Minimum sentencing rules that are overly punitive and tie the hands of judges

The threat of mandatory minimum sentences empower prosecutors to extract guilty pleas from nearly all defendants. When cases do go to trial, mandatory minimums prevent judges from considering mitigating factors, such as the age or role of the defendant in the drug offense. Rather, judges are forced to deliver sentences that are far longer than would be the case if they were able to use their own discretion.

6. The denial of parole to every prisoner serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole in Maryland

Since 1995, Maryland’s governors have vetoed every decision by Maryland’s parole board to grant parole to eligible prisoners serving life sentences. Contrary to legislative intent and the expectations of judges, the sentence of life with the possibility of parole has become a de facto sentence of death in prison. At the same time, more than one in ten of those sentenced to life in prison in Maryland are teenagers, the people most in need of meaningful opportunities for release. Moreover, this is a rate that is higher than in all but two other states. Racial disparities characterize these sentences, with African Americans constituting 84% of juveniles serving life sentences, a rate that is tied with Alabama for the highest in the country.

7. The denial of civil rights, such as employment, education, housing, public benefits, and jury service to individuals with criminal records

Upon completing their formal sentence, individuals with felony convictions enter a new more permanent phase of punishment. Similar to the system of control during the Jim Crow era, highly disproportionate numbers of African Americans begin what has been termed an “internal exile.” They are permanently stripped of many of their basic civil rights, and prevented from reintegrating into the mainstream society and economy.

Across the country, employment and housing discrimination against individuals with criminal records is widely prevalent, with fewer than one in four employers saying that they would be willing to hire someone with a drug-related felony conviction.xix The U.S. government bars those with drug convictions from receiving federal student aid. Moreover, many states permanently bar individuals with felony convictions from receiving food stamps, cash assistance, and living in public housing. While Maryland restores these benefits after a period of time, those recently released from prison are often unable to access them at a time when they are most in need of support. Finally, Marylanders with felony convictions are automatically excluded from jury service, one of the basic rights of American democracy.

8. The sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine

Mandatory minimum sentences for the possession of crack cocaine are 18 times longer than those for the same weight of powder cocaine. While this disparity has been reduced from 100:1 in 2010, the presence of any disparity disproportionately discriminates against African Americans. According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, African American constitute 79% those convicted of crack cocaine offenses and 28% of those convicted of powder cocaine offenses. At the same time, these numbers also represent racially discriminatory arrest and conviction rates, with African Americans constituting only 38% of crack cocaine users and 15% of powder cocaine users. The disparate treatment in sentencing is difficult to justify on non- racial grounds. The key difference between the two substances is that powder cocaine becomes crack after combining it with baking soda and heat. Research has shown both powder and crack cocaine to have an identical biological impact on the body.xx There are currently an estimated 2,700 individuals serving prison sentences under the discriminatory 100:1 sentencing guidelines, who would be free under the revised law.

9. The garnishing of up to 100% of wages to pay back fines, fees and costs that are a condition of probation or parole

Upon release from prison, returning citizens in Maryland often face a daunting numbers of fines, fees and costs related to their imprisonment. Returning citizens are billed to cover the cost of parole supervision, drug testing, treatment, community service programs, and some court proceedings. This is in addition to court mandated restitution and child support payments. With two-thirds of returning citizens unemployed, most are unable to pay these charges and thus face mounting nonpayment penalties. These debts then lead to civil judgments, negative credit reports, and wage garnishment. As a result, individuals caught in this impossible situation are often forced into the underground economy. Moreover, while debtor’s prisons are illegal, Maryland threatens to revoke parole for individuals that fail to make court payments, creating added stress that can prevent successful reentry into society.

10. The concentration of police resources on the war on drugs, which creates more crime than it prevents

Research shows that in many communities mass incarceration has reached a tipping point, where so many people have been removed as to undermine the social cohesion that helps maintain safety. The war on drugs rips apart community networks, destabilizes families, and locks people out of the mainstream economy. This has made it a leading cause of poverty, joblessness, and crime.



-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

Answering Our Questions

Contributed by Jewish Boston
Source: The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

As all good term papers do, we start with the main idea:

ּעֲבָדִים הָיִינוּ הָיִינו. עַתָּה בְּנֵי חוֹרִין  

Avadim hayinu hayinu. Ata b’nei chorin.

We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt. Now we are free.

We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and God took us from there with a strong hand and outstretched arm. Had God not brought our ancestors out of Egypt, then even today we and our children and our grandchildren would still be slaves. Even if we were all wise, knowledgeable scholars and Torah experts, we would still be obligated to tell the story of the exodus from Egypt.



-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

Dayeinu

Contributed by Jewish Boston
Source: The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

The plagues and our subsequent redemption from Egypt are but one example of the care God has shown for us in our history. Had God but done any one of these kindnesses, it would have been enough – dayeinu.

אִלּוּ הוֹצִיאָֽנוּ מִמִּצְרַֽיִם, דַּיֵּנוּ

Ilu hotzi- hotzianu, Hotzianu mi-mitzrayim Hotzianu mi-mitzrayim, Dayeinu

If God had only taken us out of Egypt, that would have been enough!

אִלּוּ נָתַן לָֽנוּ אֶת־הַתּוֹרָה, דַּיֵּנוּ

Ilu natan natan lanu, natan lanu et ha-Torah, Natan lanu et ha-Torah , Dayeinu

If God had only given us the Torah, that would have been enough.

 The complete lyrics to Dayeinu tell the entire story of the Exodus from Egypt as a series of miracles God performed for us. (See the Additional Readings if you want to read or sing them all.)

Dayeinu also reminds us that each of our lives is the cumulative result of many blessings, small and large. 



-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

In Every Generation & Second Cup

Contributed by Jewish Boston
Source: The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

בְּכָל־דּוֹר וָדוֹר חַיָּב אָדָם לִרְאוֹת אֶת־עַצְמוֹ, כְּאִלּוּ הוּא יָצָא מִמִּצְרָֽיִם

B’chol dor vador chayav adam lirot et-atzmo, k’ilu hu yatzav mimitzrayim.

In every generation, everyone is obligated to see themselves as though they personally left Egypt.

The seder reminds us that it was not only our ancestors whom God redeemed; God redeemed us too along with them. That’s why the Torah says “God brought us out from there in order to lead us to and give us the land promised to our ancestors.”

---

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who redeemed us and our ancestors from Egypt, enabling us to reach this night and eat matzah and bitter herbs. May we continue to reach future holidays in peace and happiness.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Drink the second glass of wine!




Imagine you are standing on the bank of the sea of reeds and you look forward and all you see is water. Suddenly, you look behind you and you see the Egyptian army quickly approaching you. The Israelites pled to Moses and Moses spoke to God. God told Moses, raise your staff over the water and I will split the seas. So Moses did, and nothing happened.

Suddenly a man named Nachshon started walking into the water.  The water was up to his knees…no splitting. The water rose up to his waste…no splitting. The water was up to his chest…still no splitting. Not until the water was under Nachshon’s nose did the sea split and all the Israelites walked across singing Micah Mocha and praising G-d.

A lot of people interpret that the miracles of this story were the result of G-d being a show off and trying to demonstrate his powers. I take it another way, I say that G-d just needed people to believe in him and then he came through.  The message of this story is that we need to take action before God helps us. We need to take the first step into the “sea” because G-d won’t help us until we try to help ourselves, our world, and our community.

However, some commentators suggest that maybe Nachshon was pushed into the sea and didn’t necessarily intend on becoming a leader. He was just some random guy who was at the right place at the right time. In this scenario, Nachshon becomes a hero for something he wasn’t even intending on doing. I personally like the idea of Nachshon being a leader and coming out of the crowd, standing along the banks, and deciding to step into the water without anyone else having anything to do with it.

In real life, we have a little of both. We are often put into the position of the Nachshon who was pushed, and into the shoes of the Nachshon that walked. We often try to be the brave Nachshon that walks into the water, but we are really the Nachshon that was pushed. Regardless of what you believe, we can all realize that most often we are somewhere in the middle of being pushed and walking intentionally.     




Leader: With the second cup of wine we remember God’s promise to save the Israelites from the forced labor of the Egyptian taskmasters. With this cup we turn our thoughts to those in our community who have been forced back into the underground economy. We think about the returning citizens among us who so desire a fresh start and a family- sustaining job, but who are forced by society’s discrimination to return to the illegal drug trade so that they can provide for their families.

Many employers require job applicants to check a box, indicating whether or not they have been convicted of a crime, and then the employers screen out any applicant with a conviction. These applicants are defined solely by their criminal record, and denied the opportunity to demonstrate their qualifications and put the record in a broader context. Employment scholars have found that a criminal record reduces the likelihood of a job callback or offer by almost 50 percent, and such a disadvantage is even more pronounced for African American men than for white men.ix As a result, returning citizens face an unemployment rate of between 60% and 70%.x As African Americans are disproportionately branded with criminal records, they are then subject to staggering levels of employment discrimination. This has contributed in Baltimore to an unemployment rate for African Americans that is more than double that of whites.xi This represents one of the most damaging aspects of our growing civil rights crisis.

(Fill the second cup of wine or juice.)

Recite together:

Baruch ata adonai, eloheinu melech ha’olam, borei pri hagafen.

ברוך אתה י-י אלוקינו מלך העולם בורא פרי הגפן

(Drink the second cup. Refill immediately.) 




no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.

you only run for the border when you see the whole city running as well.

no one would leave home unless home chased you, fire under feet, hot blood in your belly.

it's not something you ever thought about doing, and so when you did - you carried the anthem under your breath, waiting until the airport toilet to tear up the passport and swallow, each mouthful of paper making it clear that you would not be going back. you have to understand, no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.

who would choose to spend days and nights in the stomach of a truck unless the miles travelled meant something more than journey.

and if you survive and you are greeted on the other side with go home blacks, refugees dirty immigrants, asylum seekers sucking our country dry of milk, dark, with their hands out smell strange, savage - look what they've done to their own countries, what will they do to ours?

for now, forget about pride your survival is more important. i want to go home, but home is the mouth of a shark home is the barrel of the gun and no one would leave home unless home chased you to the shore unless home tells you to leave what you could not behind, even if it was human. no one leaves home until home is a damp voice in your ear saying leave, run now, i don't know what i've become.




If we were to end a single genocide, but not stop the wars that kill people as we sit here.

it would not be sufficient

If we were to end those bloody wars, but not disarm the nations

it would not be sufficient

If we were to disarm the nations, but not prevent some people from starving while others wallowed in luxury

it would not be sufficient

If we were to make sure that no person starved, but we were not to free the daring poets from their jails,

it would not be sufficient 

If we were to free the poets from their jails, but not train people's minds so that they could understand the poets,

it would not be sufficient

If were were to educate all the people to understand the poets, but not teach the people to share in the community of human kind. 

If would not be sufficient! 



-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

Old & New Passover Symbols

Contributed by Haggadot
Source: Original Illustration from Haggadot.com




-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

Dayeinu!!!

Contributed by Rabbi Josh Franklin
Source: Rabbi Josh Franklin

Dayeinu

It would have been too much if only Columbine had been the single scar on the flesh of our country. Dayeinu!

It would have been too much if only the lecture halls at Virginia Tech had transformed into morgues. Dayeinu!

It would have been too much if only the innocence of Newtown’s young children had been savaged. Dayeinu!

It would have been too much if only Orlando’s nightclub had been drenched with the blood of innocent women and men. Dayeinu!

It would have been too much if only bullets had rained down upon a crowded plaza in Las Vegas. Dayeinu!

It would have been too much if only the fresh corpses of Parkland cried out from the grave. Dayeinu!

It would have been too much if even a single life was taken, because our tradition values every life as a world entire. Dayeinu!

Enough is Enough Dayeinu!



https://www.youtube.com/embed/8p1pabOX3fc


Day dayenu day dayenu! It's the best loved song from the Passover Seder and now you and your friends and family can learn the tune and a few verses with Jason Mesches. Practice up with this karaoke video and have a great Pesach!


-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

The Passover Symbols

Contributed by Jewish Boston
Source: The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

We have now told the story of Passover…but wait! We’re not quite done. There are still some symbols on our seder plate we haven’t talked about yet. Rabban Gamliel would say that whoever didn’t explain the shank bone, matzah, and marror (or bitter herbs) hasn’t done Passover justice.

The shank bone represents the Pesach, the special lamb sacrifice made in the days of the Temple for the Passover holiday. It is called the pesach, from the Hebrew word meaning “to pass over,” because God passed over the houses of our ancestors in Egypt when visiting plagues upon our oppressors.

The matzah reminds us that when our ancestors were finally free to leave Egypt, there was no time to pack or prepare. Our ancestors grabbed whatever dough was made and set out on their journey, letting their dough bake into matzah as they fled.

The bitter herbs provide a visceral reminder of the bitterness of slavery, the life of hard labor our ancestors experienced in Egypt.



Rachtzah

Rachtzah

Contributed by Jewish Boston
Source: The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

As we now transition from the formal telling of the Passover story to the celebratory meal, we once again wash our hands to prepare ourselves. In Judaism, a good meal together with friends and family is itself a sacred act, so we prepare for it just as we prepared for our holiday ritual, recalling the way ancient priests once prepared for service in the Temple.

Some people distinguish between washing to prepare for prayer and washing to prepare for food by changing the way they pour water on their hands. For washing before food, pour water three times on your right hand and then three times on your left hand.

After you have poured the water over your hands, recite this short blessing.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ  עַל נְטִילַת יָדָֽיִם

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al n’tilat yadayim.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who made us holy through obligations, commanding us to wash our hands.




Be patient.
Expand your sense of the possible.
Expect no more of anyone than you can deliver yourself.
Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.
Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.
Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.
Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that.
Understand humility.
Foster dignity.
Endure.

10 of the 25 "Principles of Adult Behavior" , by John Perry Barlow.




The blessing over the meal and matzah | motzi matzah | מוֹצִיא מַצָּה

The familiar hamotzi blessing marks the formal start of the meal. Because we are using matzah instead of bread, we add a blessing celebrating this mitzvah.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַמּוֹצִיא לֶֽחֶם מִן הָאָֽרֶץ

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, hamotzi lechem min ha-aretz.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who brings bread from the land.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתַָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מַצָּה

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al achilat matzah.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who made us holy through obligations, commanding us to eat matzah.

Distribute and eat the top and middle matzah for everyone to eat.




Q: What do you call someone who  derives pleasure from the bread of  affliction?

A: A matzochist.




Dipping the bitter herb in sweet charoset | maror  |מָרוֹר   

  In creating a holiday about the joy of freedom, we turn the story of our bitter history into a sweet celebration. We recognize this by dipping our bitter herbs into the sweet charoset. We don’t totally eradicate the taste of the bitter with the taste of the sweet… but doesn’t the sweet mean more when it’s layered over the bitterness?

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מרוֹר

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al achilat maror.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who made us holy through obligations, commanding us to eat bitter herbs.




Eating a sandwich of matzah and bitter herb | koreich | כּוֹרֵךְ

When the Temple stood in Jerusalem, the biggest ritual of them all was eating the lamb offered as the pesach or Passover sacrifice. The great sage Hillel would put the meat in a sandwich made of matzah, along with some of the bitter herbs. While we do not make sacrifices any more – and, in fact, some Jews have a custom of purposely avoiding lamb during the seder so that it is not mistaken as a sacrifice – we honor this custom by eating a sandwich of the remaining matzah and bitter herbs. Some people will also include charoset in the sandwich to remind us that God’s kindness helped relieve the bitterness of slavery.



Koreich

Mixing the Bitter and the Sweet

Contributed by Andrea Steinberger
Source: Rabbi Andrea Steinberger

Korech:  Mixing the Bitter and the Sweet

One of my favorite moments of the seder comes just before dinner is served.  It is called Korech.  It is also known as the Hillel sandwich.  It is the moment when we eat maror (the bitter herbs) and the charoset (the sweet apple and nut mixture) on a piece of matzah.  What a strange custom to eat something so bitter and something so sweet all in one bite.  I can taste it now, just thinking about it, and the anticipation is almost too much to bear.  I dread it, and I long for it all at the same time.  Why do we do such a thing?  We do it to tell our story.

The Jewish people tells our story through our observance of Jewish holidays throughout the year.  The holidays of Passover, Chanukah and Purim remind us just how close the Jewish people has come to utter destruction and how we now celebrate our strength and our survival with great joy, remembering God’s help and our persistence, and our own determination to survive. 

We also tell the story throughout our lifetime of Jewish rituals.  The breaking of a glass at a Jewish wedding reminds us that even in times of life’s greatest joys we remember the sadness of the destruction of the Temple.  When we build a home, some Jews leave a part unfinished to remember that even when building something new, we sense the times of tragedy in the Jewish people.  And on Passover we mix the sweet charoset with the bitter maror, mixing bitter and sweet of slavery and freedom all in one bite.

Throughout each year and throughout our lifetimes, we challenge ourselves to remember that even in times of strength, it is better to sense our vulnerability, rather than bask in our success.  We all have memories of times in which bitter and sweet were mixed in our lives, all in the same bite.  Judaism says, sometimes life is like that.  We can celebrate and mourn all at the same time.  And somehow, everything will be ok.  What is your korech moment?

 




Eating the meal! | shulchan oreich | שֻׁלְחָן עוֹרֵךְ

Enjoy! But don’t forget when you’re done we’ve got a little more seder to go, including the final two cups of wine!




At a traditional seder, there is a cup of wine left on the table for the prophet Elijah. Toward the end of the night, the door is opened for Elijah, symbolizing that all are welcome at the seder, all can take refuge here.

In this spirit, consider symbolically setting aside a table setting or opening the door to the 60 million refugees and displaced people around the world still waiting to be free — for all those who deserve to be welcomed in not as strangers but as fellow human beings.



Shulchan Oreich

Pineapple for the Seder Plate

Contributed by Danielle Goldberg
Source: Personal Addition to the Seder Plate- Danielle Goldberg

Pineapple- Pineapples by nature are sweet and sour, so too is life if you face the effects of depression and anxiety. The pineapple has a hard and prickly shell that one must work through to receive the rewards of its sweet and acidic fruit. Let this be a symbol of those locked in the inner shell of depression, anxiety or any other illness that detracts from the joys of living life to the fullest. “May the source of all deliver all who suffer from their own personal Mitzrim Egypts (narrow places).”- ברוך אתה אל רואי לספק את כל הסובלים מִצְרַיִם שלהם



Finding and eating the Afikomen | tzafoon | צָפוּן

The playfulness of finding the afikomen reminds us that we balance our solemn memories of slavery with a joyous celebration of freedom. As we eat the afikomen, our last taste of matzah for the evening, we are grateful for moments of silliness and happiness in our lives.



Bareich

Bareich

Contributed by Jewish Boston
Source: The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

Refill everyone’s wine glass.

We now say grace after the meal, thanking God for the food we’ve eaten. On Passover, this becomes something like an extended toast to God, culminating with drinking our third glass of wine for the evening:

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, whose goodness sustains the world. You are the origin of love and compassion, the source of bread for all. Thanks to You, we need never lack for food; You provide food enough for everyone. We praise God, source of food for everyone.

As it says in the Torah: When you have eaten and are satisfied, give praise to your God who has given you this good earth. We praise God for the earth and for its sustenance.

Renew our spiritual center in our time. We praise God, who centers us.

May the source of peace grant peace to us, to the Jewish people, and to the entire world. Amen.

The Third Glass of Wine

The blessing over the meal is immediately followed by another blessing over the wine:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Drink the third glass of wine!




Leader:
With the third cup of wine we remember God’s promise to redeem the Israelites with an outstretched arm. With this cup we turn our thoughts to those not being offered a helping hand. Scant resources are allocated within the criminal justice system to provide alternatives to incarceration and prepare incarcerated individuals for successfully reentering society.
The criminal justice system has become the primary strategy by which we address many of the challenges facing members of low income and minority communities, including drug addiction, mental illness, behavioral issues at schools, and limited access to employment. However, we have designed the criminal justice system as a maze that is easy to enter and difficult to leave.
Many of these individuals enter the criminal justice system after committing a non-violent drug offense, and then are put on a path that goes straight to prison and does not address the issues that cause people to cycle in and out of the corrections system.
Two-fifths of drug offenders are rearrested for the same charge. This speaks to the physiological nature of drug addiction and the need to address it as a medical condition requiring treatment, rather than a crime requiring incarceration. We need to redesign our criminal justice system so that non-violent drug offenders are diverted to alternative treatment programs that address drug addiction, mental illness, and job access.
Across the entire prison population, the vast majority of people will return to society, but will leave prison severely ill prepared to do so. Reflecting a lack of in-prison treatment services and the level of societal exclusion, studies have shown that incarceration actually increases the risk of reoffending. xxvi In part due to the limited availability of funding, 60% of Maryland prisoners do not participate in treatment and educational programming each year. Our criminal justice system warehouses people in prison, punishes them, and then returns them to our society worse off than when they left.

Recite together:

Baruch ata adonai, eloheinu melech ha’olam, borei pri hagafen.

ברוך אתה י-י אלוקינו מלך העולם בורא פרי הגפן

(Drink the third cup. Refill immediately.)




Singing songs that praise God | hallel | הַלֵּל

This is the time set aside for singing. Some of us might sing traditional prayers from the Book of Psalms. Others take this moment for favorites like Chad Gadya & Who Knows One, which you can find in the appendix. To celebrate the theme of freedom, we might sing songs from the civil rights movement. Or perhaps your crazy Uncle Frank has some parody lyrics about Passover to the tunes from a musical. We’re at least three glasses of wine into the night, so just roll with it.

Fourth Glass of Wine

As we come to the end of the seder, we drink one more glass of wine. With this final cup, we give thanks for the experience of celebrating Passover together, for the traditions that help inform our daily lives and guide our actions and aspirations.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Drink the fourth and final glass of wine! 




The Cup of Elijah

We now refill our wine glasses one last time and open the front door to invite the prophet Elijah to join our seder.

In the Bible, Elijah was a fierce defender of God to a disbelieving people. At the end of his life, rather than dying, he was whisked away to heaven. Tradition holds that he will return in advance of messianic days to herald a new era of peace, so we set a place for Elijah at many joyous, hopeful Jewish occasions, such as a baby’s bris and the Passover seder.

אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַנָּבִיא, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַתִּשְׁבִּיאֵלִיָּֽהוּ, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ,אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַגִּלְעָדִי

בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵֽנוּ יָבוֹא אֵלֵֽינוּ

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד

Eliyahu hanavi
Eliyahu hatishbi
Eliyahu, Eliyahu, Eliyahu hagiladi
Bimheirah b’yameinu, yavo eileinu
Im mashiach ben-David,
Im mashiach ben-David

Elijah the prophet, the returning, the man of Gilad:
return to us speedily,
in our days with the messiah,
son of David.



Hallel

Fill Somone's Cup

Contributed by Baumann Aizenstein Family
Source: adapted from The Refugee Crisis Haggadah by Repair the World

We are going to conclude our dinner tonight with a celebratory toast - a l’chaim.

Rather than filling our own cup tonight, though, and focusing on us as individuals, let’s fill someone else’s cup and recognize that, as a family and group of friends, we have the resources to help each other and those in our community if we are willing to share our resources and collaborate – whether those resources are time, money, skills, or any of the other gifts we bring to one another.

Many of us around the table may already share our resources in different ways - volunteering in our communities, providing pro bono services, donating to charities, or by advocating or lobbying officials. For others we may still be exploring the ways we’re hoping to share our resources and are looking for outlets to do so.

We are now going to fill our 4th cup of wine and I want to invite you to fill someone else’s cup instead of your own. As you fill someone else’s cup, let’s share with each other our answer to the following:

How can I help in changing the world?




Leader: With the fourth cup of wine we remember God’s promise to take the Israelites as God’s own people. Just as God took on the Israelite people, we pledge to look out for the different members of our community. As citizens of the United States we share certain rights of citizenship, such as a social safety net, equal access to employment, student aid, and jury service. However, these rights are denied to those who have felony convictions. As a united community we must protest the permanent second-class citizenship imposed on those who have already paid their debt to society. And we must further protest how African Americans are disproportionately made second-class citizens, resulting in our current civil rights crisis.

Maryland and the federal government bar individuals with felony convictions from serving on juries, one of the most fundamental rights of American democracy. While Maryland restores voting rights to individuals with felony convictions, many states do not, with 1 in 7 African Americans across the country disenfranchised due to a felony conviction. It is estimated that more African American men are disenfranchised today than in 1870, the year the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified prohibiting laws that deny the right to vote on the basis of race.

The federal government permanently bars those convicted of drug offenses from receiving cash assistance and food stamps during their lifetime, unless their state opts out. Thirteen states have maintained this lifetime ban, while Maryland has partially opted out, shortening the ban to one year after the conviction. While an improvement over other states, any ban on receiving benefits is counterproductive. People suffering from drug addiction often need public benefits to access treatment, as the benefits can be used to subsidize the cost of the services.

The Housing Authority of Baltimore City bans individuals with felony convictions for three years after release from incarceration.xxx The federal government’s “One Strike and You’re Out” policy requires all public housing agencies to evict a tenant if any guest or member of the household engages in any drug related activity on or off the premises. This fear of eviction often leads families to reject requests from relatives returning from prison who are looking for a place to temporarily live. As a result of not being able to obtain housing, many returning citizens experience homelessness, lose custody of their children, and are unable to benefit from the support of living with their family members. 

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Beyond the formal forms of discrimination, the permanent label of felon and criminal bring a painful sense of shame and stigma. As one incarcerated women described her experience:

When I leave here it will be very difficult for me in the sense that I’m a felon. That I will always be a felon...for me to leave here, it will affect my job, my education...custody [of my children], it can affect child support, it can affect everywhere—family, friends, housing...People that are convicted of drug crimes can’t even get housing anymore...Yes, I did my prison time. How long are you going to punish me as a result of it? And not only on paper, I’m only on paper for ten months when I leave here, that’s all the parole I have. But, that parole isn’t going to be anything. It’s the housing it’s the credit reestablishing...I mean even to go into the school, to work with my child’s class—and I’m not a sex offender—but all I need is one parent who says, “Isn’t she a felon? I don’t want her with my child.” 

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Recite together:

Baruch ata adonai, eloheinu melech ha’olam, borei pri hagafen.

ברוך אתה י-י אלוקינו מלך העולם בורא פרי הגפן

(Drink the fourth cup.) 



Nirtzah

Nirtzah

Contributed by Jewish Boston
Source: The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

Nirtzah  marks the conclusion of the seder. Our bellies are full, we have had several glasses of wine, we have told stories and sung songs, and now it is time for the evening to come to a close. At the end of the seder, we honor the tradition of declaring, “Next year in Jerusalem!”

For some people, the recitation of this phrase expresses the anticipation of rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem and the return of the Messiah. For others, it is an affirmation of hope and of connectedness with  Klal Yisrael, the whole of the Jewish community. Still others yearn for peace in Israel and for all those living in the Diaspora.

Though it comes at the end of the seder, this moment also marks a beginning. We are beginning the next season with a renewed awareness of the freedoms we enjoy and the obstacles we must still confront. We are looking forward to the time that we gather together again. Having retold stories of the Jewish people, recalled historic movements of liberation, and reflected on the struggles people still face for freedom and equality, we are ready to embark on a year that we hope will bring positive change in the world and freedom to people everywhere.

In  The Leader's Guide to the Family Participation Haggadah: A Different Night, Rabbi David Hartman writes: “Passover is the night for reckless dreams; for visions about what a human being can be, what society can be, what people can be, what history may become.”

What can  we  do to fulfill our reckless dreams? What will be our legacy for future generations?

Our seder is over, according to Jewish tradition and law. As we had the pleasure to gather for a seder this year, we hope to once again have the opportunity in the years to come. We pray that God brings health and healing to Israel and all the people of the world, especially those impacted by natural tragedy and war. As we say…

לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בִּירוּשָׁלָֽיִם

L’shana haba-ah biy’rushalayim

NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!



Conclusion

Declaration of Revolutionary Love

Contributed by Shalom Bond
Source: Revolutionary Love Project, http://www.revolutionarylove.net/

We pledge to rise up in Revolutionary Love.

We declare our love for all who are in harm’s way, including refugees, immigrants, Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, LGBTQIA people, Black people, Latinx, the indigenous, the disabled, and the poor. We stand with millions of people around the globe rising up to end violence against women and girls (cis, transgender and gender non-conforming) who are often the most vulnerable within marginalized communities. We vow to see one another as brothers and sisters and fight for a world where every person can flourish.

We declare love even for our opponents. We vow to oppose all executive orders and policies that threaten the rights and dignity of any person. We call upon our elected officials to join us, and we are prepared to engage in moral resistance throughout this administration. We will fight not with violence or vitriol, but by challenging the cultures and institutions that promote hate. In so doing, we will challenge our opponents through the ethic of love.

We declare love for ourselves. We will practice the dignity and care in our homes that we want for all of us. We will protect our capacity for joy. We will nurture our bodies and spirits; we will rise and dance. We will honor our mothers and ancestors whose bodies, breath, and blood call us to a life of courage. In their name, we choose to see this darkness not as the darkness of the tomb – but of the womb. We will breathe and push through the pain of this era to birth a new future.




Who knows one?

At some seders, people go around the table reading a question and the answers in one breath. Thirteen is hard!

Who knows one?

I know one.

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows two?

I know two.

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows two?

I know two.

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows four?

I know four.

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows five?

I know five.

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows six?

I know six.

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows seven?

I know seven.

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows eight?

I know eight.

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows nine?

I know nine.

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows ten?

I know ten.

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows eleven?

I know eleven.

Eleven are the stars

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows twelve?

I know twelve.

Twelve are the tribes

Eleven are the stars

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows thirteen?

I know thirteen

Thirteen are the attributes of God

Twelve are the tribes

Eleven are the stars

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth




Chad Gadya

חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא

דְזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי

חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא

Chad gadya, chad gadya

Dizabin abah bitrei zuzei

Chad gadya, chad gadya.

One little goat, one little goat:

Which my father brought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The cat came and ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The dog came and bit the cat

That ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The stick came and beat the dog

That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The fire came and burned the stick

That beat the dog that bit the cat

That ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The water came and extinguished the

Fire that burned the stick

That beat the dog that bit the cat

That ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The ox came and drank the water

That extinguished the fire

That burned the stick that beat the dog That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The butcher came and killed the ox,

That drank the water

That extinguished the fire

That burned the stick that beat the dog That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The angle of death came and slew

The butcher who killed the ox,

That drank the water

That extinguished the fire

That burned the stick that beat the dog That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The Holy One, Blessed Be He came and

Smote the angle of death who slew

The butcher who killed the ox,

That drank the water

That extinguished the fire

That burned the stick that beat the dog That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.



Songs

Miriam's Song

Contributed by Heather
Source:


And the women dancing with their timbrels followed Miriam as she sang her song.

Sing a song to the One whom we’ve exalted, Miriam and the women danced and danced the whole night long.

And Miriam was a weaver of unique variety, the tapestry she wove was one which sang our history, with every strand and every thread she crafted her delight,

A woman touched with spirit she dances toward the light.

Chorus

And Miriam the prophet took her timbrel in her hand, And all the women followed her just as she had planned, And Miriam raised her voice in song She sang with praise and might, We’ve just lived through a miracle, we’re going to dance tonight.

When Miriam stood upon the shores and gazed across the sea,

the wonder of this miracle she soon came to believe,

whoever thought the sea would part with an outstretched hand,

and we would pass to freedom and march to the Promised Land.

Chorus

And Miriam the prophet took her timbrel in her hand, And all the women followed her just as she had planned, And Miriam raised her voice in song She sang with praise and might, We’ve just lived through a miracle, we’re going to dance tonight.