I work at a holocaust museum. And in as many moments and sometimes beautiful hours between maniacally editing press releases and social media posts as I can, my team and I think endlessly about what we can do to end antisemitism. Obviously, we will never succeed, but we have to do something. I’ve also thought about what a Haggadah themed around antisemitism would look like - we also talk a lot at the holocaust museum about how to make it not a bummer.

Of course, we have to address genuine centuries of traumas from expulsions to pogroms to the holocaust itself - we sit with those things today, as though we ourselves were the hebrews making our way out of a narrow place. But within that, I think the parts we can find that aren't bummers are about dreaming. Hoping. Being there for each other. Getting romantic about the big picture. Asking questions, as we are mandated to this evening.

Questions we ask at the museum to be less of a bummer I think quite apply to the Seder and the exodus story, too: How will we feel when we're liberated? What does ending antisemitism/oppression look like? What gives us hope and energy? 

My current answers are:  

  • Collective resistance 

  • Storytelling

  • Welcoming and trust

  • Magic and spirituality 

Especially as we tell the Exodus story, I hope we'll keep these themes in mind - what powers does storytelling hold? When we resist collectively, each person can play a different role - what role do you play? What kind of child are you? How is the Exodus a collective project, just like the Seder? How is community defined? How are the characters building trust with each other while also practicing resistance? And in that process, as magic was used to prove to the oppressors that the oppressed had the same access to divinity and skill -- how can miracles and awe bring us closer to liberation? 

haggadah Section: Introduction
Source: Ariel Kates