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Take turns reading aloud before Dayeinu:
Dayeinu . It would have been enough. But would it have been enough? If God had only parted the sea but not allowed us to cross to safety, would it have been enough? If we had crossed to freedom and been sustained wandering through the wilderness but not received the wisdom of Torah to help guide us, would it have been enough?
What is enough?
As we sing the traditional “ Dayeinu ” at the Passover Seder, we express appreciation even for incomplete blessings. We are reminded that, in the face of uncertainty, we can cultivate gratitude for life’s small miracles and we can find abundance amidst brokenness. Just as the story of our own people’s wandering teaches us these lessons time and time again, so, too, do the stories of today’s refugees. The meager possessions they bring with them as they flee reflect the reality of rebuilding a life from so very little.
For Um, the blessing of being alive in Jordan after escaping violence in Homs in the company of her husband with only the clothes on her back – Dayeinu : it would have been enough.
For Dowla, the wooden pole balanced on her shoulders, which she used to carry each of her six children when they were too tired to walk during the 10-day trip from Gabanit to South Sudan – Dayeinu : it would have been enough.
For Farhad, the photograph of his mother that he managed to hide under his clothes when smugglers told him to throw everything away as he escaped Afghanistan – Dayeinu : it would have been enough.
For Sajida, the necklace her best friend gave her to remember her childhood in Syria – Dayeinu : it would have been enough.
For Muhammed, scrolling through the list of numbers on his cell phone, his only connection to the people he has known his whole life – Dayeinu : it would have been enough.
For Magboola, the cooking pot that was small enough to carry but big enough to cook sorghum to feed herself and her three daughters on their journey to freedom – Dayeinu : it would have been enough.
Even as we give thanks for these small miracles and incomplete blessings in the world as it is, we know that this is not enough. We dream of the world as it could be. We long for a world in which safe passage and meager possessions blossom into lives rebuilt with enough food on the table, adequate housing, and sustainable jobs. We fight for the right of all people fleeing violence and persecution to be warmly welcomed into the lands in which they seek safety, their strength honored and their vulnerability protected. When these dreams become a reality, Dayeinu : it will have been enough.
There are three pieces of matzah stacked on the table. We now break the middle matzah into two pieces. The host should wrap up the larger of the pieces and, at some point between now and the end of dinner, hide it. This piece is called the afikomen, literally “dessert” in Greek. After dinner, the guests will have to hunt for the afikomen in order to wrap up the meal… and win a prize.
We eat matzah in memory...
In washing our hands,
we also think of those who don't get to share
in the basic human right of abundant, clean water
of people deprived of water
by the weather
in Somalia, in India, in Texas
and those deprived of water
by human action
in places like Flint, Michigan
as well as those whose homes have been ravaged
by wind and water
in Colombia, in...
Imagine you are standing on the bank of the sea of reeds and you look forward and all you see is water. Suddenly, you look behind you and you see the Egyptian army quickly approaching you. The Israelites pled to Moses and Moses spoke to God. God told Moses, raise your staff over the water and I will split the seas. So Moses did, and nothing happened.
Suddenly a man named Nachshon started walking into the water. ...
"For me, the recent meaning of Passover in my life has been a reclaiming of the seder ceremony away from the patriarchal tradition. My children may remember the seders of their early childhood, conducted by their grandfather entirely in Hebrew, incomprehensible to most in attendance, unvarying from year to year, except for how long it took until the children were sent away from the table for giggling. Before that, there...
Use this piece in tandem with the telling of the Exodus story. Think about the connection between the Jewish story of Exodus from Egypt to more contemporary examples of persecution and forced migration. How did the formation of the territory now known as the United States depend upon the forced migration of people already residing on the land?
The Hebrews’ Exodus from Egypt is a climactic...
Once upon a time, during a famine our ancestor Jacob and his family fled to Egypt where food was plentiful. His son Joseph had risen to high position in Pharaoh’s court, and our people were well-respected and well-regarded, secure in the power structure of the time.
Generations passed and our people remained in Egypt. In time, a new Pharaoh ascended to the throne. He found our difference threatening, and...
The Plagues happened at the same time as a massive volcano eruption. The volcano Santorini sent ash in to the air effecting the surrounding area. The ash is found in Cairo and the Nile River, proven by testing the composition of the ash. This volcanic eruption happened between 1500-1650BC while the Plagues happened between 1400-1550BC. So it fits there.
1st Plague. River ran red LIKE blood. But there is a...
This symbolic washing of the hands recalls the story of Miriam's Well. Legend tells us that this well followed Miriam, sister of Moses, through the desert, sustaining the Jews in their wanderings. Filled with mayim chayim, waters of life, the well was a source of strength and renewal to all who drew from it. One drink from its waters was said to alert the heart, mind and soul, and make the meaning of Torah become...
The answers to the first three questions are drawn from Michelle Alexander’s groundbreaking book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (2010). Excerpts are cited with “NJC” and the page number.
Why does America have the highest incarceration rate of any developed nation in the world?
Many factors have...
ALL: Tonight we might have put an oyster on our Seder plate.
While I didn’t particularly want to put something traif atop that most kosher of dishes, this Passover falls on the first anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. And since BP, the leaseholder of the failed well, seems intent with its new television ads...
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WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT THIS AS A JEW?
The Jewish people has been a refugee people since biblical times. In the United States, we know the devastating consequences of turning away refugees. Less than a century ago, refugees fleeing the Holocaust were marked as security threats to the U.S., denied entry, and sent back to Europe to be brutally murdered. Furthermore, the value of welcoming, protecting, and loving the...