This book is a haggadah,which means “telling.” Tonight we will be having a seder, which means“order”. Through this traditionally ordered ritual, we will retell the story of the Israelites’ journey out of Egypt, eat special foods that symbolize Pesach's many messages, and teach each other the traditions of Pesach, first celebrated more than 3,000 years ago.
An ancient rabbinic text instructs us, “Each person in every generation must regard himself or herself as having been personally freed from Egypt” for the seder to be successful.That is, tonight’s Seder is not just the retelling of an ancient story. Rather, we are asked to actually experience and acknowledge the bitterness of oppression and the sweetness of freedom so we may better understand the hope and courage of all men and women, of all generations, in their quest for liberty, security, and human rights.
Yet while the theme of freedom is universal, this haggadah also reflects our own special family: a family of mixed Jewish, humanist, and Christian beliefs; a family built through interracial adoption; a family with young, active, hungry boys, who will happily take part in theseder so long as the wait isn't too long for matzoh balls.
This haggadah also attempts to relate the traditional story of passover to the modern world around us. For in the words of Audre Lorde: I cannot afford the luxury of fighting one form of oppression only. I cannot afford to believe that freedom from intolerance is the right of only one particular group. And I cannot afford to choose between the fronts upon which I must battle these forces of discrimination, wherever they appear to destroy me. And when they appear to destroy me, it will not be long before they appear to destroy you.
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