Like many ancient religions, Judaism utilizes the symbol of fire in many of its rituals. Every Sabbath and holiday is greeted by the lighting of candles. The two candles traditionally lit to welcome the Sabbath are said to be in honor of the words “shamor (guard)” and “zachor (remember),” the two verbs used in the Ten Commandments to describe our observance of the Sabbath. Today we also light two candles, in honor of the words “shamor” and “zachor.” With the light of our candles we promise to zachor (remember) our community members who are trapped in the criminal justice system, and to shamor (guard) our community against future injustice.
(A representative from each table lights the table’s two candles.)
May it be Your will our God and God of our ancestors that You bless us with light and joy, goodness and peace, fairness and justice.
B‘chol Dor Va’dor
In every generation the Haggadah tells us that each person is required to see themselves as if they personally experienced the exodus from Egypt. In every generation we must feel the pain of our ancestors’ slavery and the overwhelming joy of their eventual freedom.
In every generation Jews have fought for justice. From the battles of Hanukkah for religious freedom to Abraham Joshua Heschel’s march in Selma with Martin Luther King, Jr., we have worked together for the fulfillment of the psalmist’s vision “justice shall flourish like the palm tree and thrive like a cedar in Lebanon.”
In every generation our people have struggled for justice and fairness. Today we are still fighting. Our struggle for criminal justice reform will help to end the systematic racial discrimination of our current system and create a safer society for us all.
Avadim hayinu l’pharoh b’Mitzraim
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