From Oppression to Liberation:
For the Pursuit of Reproductive Justice in this Generation
The four cups of wine we drink this evening are symbols of our freedom and God's presence in our lives. But, as the seder ritual reminds us, freedom is an ongoing journey. True freedom can only be enjoyed when all our sisters, brothers and others are freed of the many burdens that would delay or deny their inherent dignity. As women, we still know the shackles of oppression all too well. In modern society, we still experience the exploitation of women and girls in our workplaces, medical facilities, and even governing bodies. By allowing this oppression to continue, we fail to recognize the holiness and moral agency present in all of God’s children.
Tonight, we retell the story of the Exodus and consider how it applies to our lives today. We are reminded that there is still bitterness in the world and iniquity in our homes and communities: politicians seeking to control women's reproductive destinies; perpetrators of domestic and sexual violence seeking to control women’s bodies; and societal barriers seeking, perhaps inadvertently, to limit a woman’s ability to recognize her full potential. These examples and others are today’s plagues; they remind us of the constraints Pharaoh placed on our Israelite ancestors.
At tonight’s seder, instead of feeling despair, we envision - and commit to achieving - a society in which every person exerts full autonomy over their own reproductive and sexual life. At tonight’s seder, we celebrate the values that lead us to work toward reproductive justice. This expanded social justice framework acknowledges the different systems of oppression that impact our lives and impede our ability to truly make our own decisions about our reproductive and sexual health. We renew our commitment to not only safeguard our legal rights to access the care we need but to go further, ensuring every person’s ability to meaningfully do so regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, income and other unique life circumstances. We pledge to leave the next generation a society in which reproductive freedom has truly been reached.
The readings in this resource packet seek to inspire our commitment to reproductive justice. They are designed to be read before you drink each of the four cups of wine.
Let us tonight honor those who are working tirelessly to bring us out of this metaphoric Egypt and pledge to renew our own fight toward achieving justice and freedom for all.
Coordinated by the following: Jewish Women International, National Council of Jewish Women, Religious Action Center
of Reform Judaism in association with Women of Reform Judaism, and Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
For more information on reproductive justice, please visit www.rac.org/reproductive-rights-and-womens-health.
For all Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism resources, please visit rac.org/Passover.
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