Our Story

There is a new story to be told, or rather an old one – long ignored. It is the story of the women of Passover. Every year, around a festive table prepared by women, Jewish families celebrate the heroism of men. The Haggadah, the traditional book ready around the family table, recounts the story of Exodus where Moses and Aaron are the courageous heros. We talk about the four sons. The Rabbis discuss the central themes of Judaism, the identification with the oppressed, the courage to fight tyranny, the giving of the moral law. While listening to these tales of male courage, daughters and mothers have silently asked, “Where were the women?”

All you have to do is look at the book of Exodus to learn about the female conspiracy against a male establishment: two midvwives, a mother, a daughter, and a princess – all working together to save a doomed child against a male dominated conspiracy. Women repeatedly risking lives so that unjust killing would not take place. All of these women are omitted from the official Passover Haggadot.

Let us remember Puah and Shifrah, the midwives to saved the baby Moses by not drowning this male child. The mother of Moses, Yocheved who placed him in a basket in the Nile. Batya, the daughter of Pharoh who took the child into her home, even though he was a Hebrew. And finally, Moses’ sister Miriam, who watched out for her brother Moses and made sure his mother came back into his life. All of these brave women defied the establishment to stand up for what was right.

The story of Passover is, among other things, the story of mass killings. In dramatic contrast are the women who acted peaceably, heroically and shrewdly to save life. A community of women who were the leaders of their time

Tonight we will share with you the story of the Sephardic woman through the ages. You will see that through expulsion, and extreme suffering – our Jewish Sephardic sisters were the glue that maintained Judaism through the ages – even in secret. Let’s us learn tonight about their story and honor their memories with story and song.

haggadah Section: Introduction