Four Questions about Modern Slavery
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Four Questions about Modern Slavery
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.
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...
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?
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