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(Adapted from Machar Congregation)

Take turns reading. Each person is invited to read a grouped set of lines - or to pass.

The tale of our people's first quest for freedom
from slavery in Egypt was written so long ago
that no one knows how much of it is fact and how much is fiction.
Like all good stories, however, its moral lessons are valid and important.

It is written that long ago, during a time of famine,
the ancient Israelites traveled to Egypt.
According to this legend, the Israelites at that time were all in a single family -
Jacob and his children.

One of Jacob's sons was Joseph.
He was so wise that the ruler of Egypt - the Pharaoh -
made Joseph a leader over all the people of Egypt.

But as time passed, another Pharaoh became the ruler of Egypt.
He did not remember Joseph and his wise leadership.
This new Pharaoh turned the Israelites into slaves,
and burdened them with heavy work and sorrow.

After the Israelites were in Egypt for over 400 years, a man arose among them named Moses.

God told Moses that he had been chosen to bring the message of freedom to the Israelites, and to warn Pharaoh that God would bring plagues on the Egyptians if he did not let the slaves go free. Moses was such a humble man that he could not imagine being God's messenger, but God promised Moses that he would have help: help from his brother, Aaron, and help from God.

With this assurance, Moses went to Pharaoh and demanded:
Let my people go!

Pharaoh refused. It was only then that God brought ten plagues on the Egyptians. Each one frightened Pharaoh, and each time he promised to free the slaves. But when each plague ended, Pharaoh did not keep his word. It was only after the last plague, the death of the firstborn of the Egyptians, that Pharaoh finally let the Israelites go. And so it is written that God brought us forth out of Egypt, with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with great terror and with signs and with wonders.

At our Passover Seder, we celebrate the story of Moses
and the people he led out of slavery 3000 years ago.
We celebrate the struggle of all people to be free.
Throughout the centuries, the story of Moses and the exodus from Egypt
has inspired Jews and non-Jews in times of persecution and hardship.

Let us remember that the thirst for freedom exists in all people.
Many centuries after the legendary time of Moses,
African people were brought to the Americas as slaves.
These slaves longed for freedom,
and they were inspired by the story of Moses and the ancient Israelites.

When the slaves in America sang "Go Down Moses,"
they were thinking of their own leaders who were working to end slavery.
Let us now sing that beautiful song.

-

GO DOWN MOSES

When Israel was in Egypt land, Let my people go!
Oppressed so hard they could not stand, Let my people go!

CHORUS:
Go down Moses,
Way down in Egypt land, Tell old Pharaoh
Let my people go.


When Moses took them from their toil, Let my people go!
He led them all to freedom's soil Let my people go!

(CHORUS)


haggadah Section: -- Exodus Story