I write this year’s Prologue as Israel is going to the polls to decide whether to replace its present right-wing prime minister with the Zionist Union, a center-left political alliance. Whatever the outcome, chances are that Israel’s recent history of fractured politics and short-lived coalitions will probably continue. But why am I writing about Israel? you might ask. Aren’t there enough issues here at home for us to deal with? Perhaps it is because of the disturbing rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, which has caused me to recognize - perhaps for the first time - the necessity of a Jewish homeland. For what would we do if that same anti-Semitism developed here? Where would we go? Similarly, should European Jews move to Israel? Would they be safer there?

Thus the age-old Jewish dilemma; where can we be secure? Sadly, the 19th century Zionist dream of Israel as a secular, social democratic country has given way to the increasing influence of rabidly Anti-Arab, misogynist religious zealots; the nightmare of the seemingly unrelenting Occupation; and a Middle East in intensifying turmoil with a rapidly spreading Islamic fundamentalism so deeply antagonistic to the modern world that its practitioners are ready to blow themselves up in a misguided fantasy about reversing the course of history.

What a mess. And what are American Jews supposed to do? Not think about it? Maybe, but not tonight, not at Seder when we are gathered to think about what it means to be Jewish and to remember that because we were once slaves in Egypt, it is our obligation to work for the freedom of all others. One thing seems clear; there is no solution in bombs. Only the long, hard work of building a world of justice and equality will create a world of peace. But we seem so far from this ideal. In fact, it seems almost hopeless.

And yet, Seder is intended to renew our hope and every year that we have done Seder together, this is what has happened. We have left renewed, the dark clouds of recent history lifted, if only for a moment. So let us commit ourselves to this evening, to this Seder, where we can share our longing for a different world, one in which Jews come back to our ancient mandate, that we should be a light onto the world. Let us come together and remind ourselves and each other that in community, there is strength; in sharing, there is human connection; and in reciting the Seder story - as Jews are doing all over the world - we will make it come true or at least, not as far away as it seems right now.

haggadah Section: Introduction
Source: The Judy Chicago / Donald Woodman Haggadah