Hinay ma tov umah na’im shevet achim gam yachad.

How good and how pleasant it is for brothers and sisters to dwell together in unity. (Psalm 133)


A central symbol of the Passover seder—literally an “order”— is four cups of wine or grape juice, representing different stages of the seder. We move from gathering to hearing other people’s stories, then to sharing our own exodus narratives, and finally to song. Let us fill the first cup, the cup of gathering, and consider why we are here.

Refugees are people who escape war, violence, or persecution in their home countries and seek protection in other countries.

Their persecution may be based on race, religion, nationality, or political opinion. Nearly all Jews have ancestors who have been refugees. The Passover story tells of Jewish refugees who escaped slavery and threats against their lives in Egypt and sought protection in the land of Israel.

Since 2007, Israeli activists, progressive Jewish organizations, and African refugee and asylum seeker communities have united to hold a communal “Refugee Seder” in Israel each year. The participants celebrate a renewed commitment to working together for freedom. At this seder here today, we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Israel who pursue freedom.

We say the blessing and drink the cup of gathering.

Blessed is the creator of the fruit of the vine.

haggadah Section: Kadesh
Source: T'ruah's Refugee Seder