Passover For Secular And Humanistic Jews

Haggadah Section: Introduction

The holiday of Passover is one of the most celebrated holidays in the Jewish calendar. Some believe that’s because the holiday is primarily home-based and does not require membership or involvement in a synagogue or temple, although it can. The history of Passover, like most Jewish holidays, is multi-layered. It began with the celebration of spring, the rebirth of nature, and the birth of baby animals. The Exodus from Egypt was a later layer, which became the central and compelling story of the holiday. Although the story of the liberation of the Jews from Egypt is central in religious Judaism, remnants of the older nature holidays, both pastoral and agricultural, are easy to identify, such as the shank bone and the matzah.

Since the archaeological record is clear—there is no material evidence of the Exodus or corroborating documents of the story—Secular Humanistic Jews are left with the disturbing question: If the story isn’t true, can we and do we want to continue celebrating the holiday? The themes of this holiday are universal. It is not difficult to identify with a story of liberation. There are many other reasons why we can and do continue celebrating Passover. Celebrating the holiday connects us to the Jewish people and our traditions. The theme of liberation and freedom is universal and timeless. Telling the entire story, both the myth and the history, only enriches our celebration of the creative imagination of our people at this time of year.

Rabbi Miriam Jerris from the Society for Humanistic Judaism, March 2020

Source:  
Rabbi Miriam Jerris
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Secular Haggadah
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Table of contents
    Introduction
  • Welcome!
  • Passover For Secular And Humanistic Jews
  • The Humanistic Judaism Seder Plate
  • A Secular Humanistic Passover Blessing
    • Kadesh
  • Humanistic blessing on wine
  • First Cup Of Wine - The Cup of Freedom
    • Urchatz
  • Urchatz: Empowering the Silent
  • Hand Washing Coloring Page
    • Karpas
  • Secular Karpas
    • Yachatz
  • Breaking the Matzah
    • Maggid - Beginning
  • Why We Celebrate
  • Magid
  • A Historical Perspective
    • Commentary / Readings
  • A Modern Maggid
  • Orange
    • -- Four Questions
  • Arba Qushyot - Four Questions (English & Transliteration)
  • Our Four Questions
  • 4 questions & answers
    • -- Four Children
  • Four More Questions
  • Four Children
  • Fifth Child
    • -- Exodus Story
  • Entering Mitzrayim
  • Secular Maggid
    • -- Ten Plagues
  • Ten Plagues
    • -- Cup #2 & Dayenu
  • Second Cup
  • Dayenu
  • Humanist Dayenu
    • Rachtzah
  • Secular Rachtzah
    • Motzi-Matzah
  • Matsah - Unleavened Bread
    • Maror
  • Maror - The Bitter Herb
    • Koreich
  • Maror, Charoset, Korech: What To Do With Our Bitterness
  • Charoset In Gibraltar
    • Shulchan Oreich
  • Let's Eat!
    • Tzafun
  • Children and the Afikoman
  • Search for Afikomen
    • Bareich
  • Miriam's Cup by Miriam Jerris
  • Third Cup
  • Gratitude for the meal
    • Hallel
  • Elijah the Prophet
  • Fourth Cup Of WIne
    • Nirtzah
  • Land of Milk and Honey
  • Nirtsah - Fulfillment
    • Conclusion
  • Declaration of Revolutionary Love
    • Songs
  • We Shall Overcome
  • Bashana Haba'ah
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    Passover Guide

    Hosting your first Passover Seder? Not sure what food to serve? Curious to
    know more about the holiday? Explore our Passover 101 Guide for answers
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