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Introduction
Source : Jonathan Saffran Foer

Here we are. Here we are, gathered to celerbate the oldest continually practiced ritual in the Western world, to retell what is arguably the best known of all stories, to take part in the most widely practiced Jewish holiday. Here we are as we were last year, and as we hope to be next year. Here we are as night descends in succession over all the Jews of the world, with a book in front of us. 

Jews have a special relationship to books, and the Haggadah as been translated more widely, and reprinted more often than any other Jewish book. It is not a work of history or philosophy, not a prayer book, user's manual, timeline, poem, or palimpst - and yet it is all of these things. The Torah is the foundational text for Jewish law, but the Haggadah is our book of living memory. We are not merely telling a story here. We are being called to a radical act of empathy. Here we are, embarking on an ancient, perennial attempt to give human life - our lives - dignity. 

The need for new Haggadahs does not imply the failure of existing ones, but the struggle to engage everyone at the table in a time that is unlike any that has come before. Our translation must know our idion, our commentaries must wrestle withour conflicts, our design must respond to how our world looks and feels. This haggadah makes no attempt to redefine what a Haggadah is, or overlay any particular political or regional agenda. (It is called New American Haggadah not because there is anything uniquely American about it, but in the tradition of naming Haggadah after where it was made). Like all Haggadahs before it, this one hopes to excite the mind and heart. Like all Haggadahs before it, this one hopes to be replaced. 

Here we are: Individuals remembering a shared past and in pursuit of a shared destiny. The seder is a protest aganist despair. The universe might appear deaf to our fears and hopes, but we are not waiting for this moment for thousands of years - more than one hundred generations of Jews have been here as we are - and we will continue to wait for it. And we will not wait idly. 

As you read these words - as our people's ink-stained finders turn its wine-stained pages - new Haggadahs are being written. As as future Jews at future tables read  those   Haggadahs, other Haggadahs will be written. New Haggadahs will be written until there are no more Jews to them. Or until our destiny has been fulfilled, and there is no more need to say, "Next year in Jerusalem."

Introduction
by VBS
Source : VBS Haggadah
The first words in the creation of the universe out of the unformed, void and dark earth were God’s “Let there be light." Therein lies the hope and faith of Judaism and the obligation of our people: to make the light of justice, compassion, and knowledge penetrate the darkness of our time till the prophecy be fulfilled, ‘that wickedness vanish like smoke and the earth shall be filled with knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea’ (Isaiah 11:9). 

Baruch atah Adonai Elohaynoo melech ha-olam, asher keedshanoo b’meetzvotav v’tzeevanoo l’hadleek ner shel yom tov.

Praised are You, Lord our God, Whose presence fills the universe, Who has sanctified our lives through Your commandments and commanded us to kindle the festival lights. 

Baruch ata Adonai, Elohaynoo melech ha-olam, sheh’hech’eeyanoo v’keeyemanoo, v’heegeeanoo la-z’man ha-zeh.

Praised are You, Lord our God, Whose presence fills the universe, Who has given us life and strength and enabled us to reach this moment of joy. 

Introduction
Source : Image

At a friend's seder, I looked at the Seder plate and re-imagined the symbols as abstract concepts. This distillation made me recognize that, in order, they provide a template for the process of liberation. I created this "infographic" design to communicate the stages of any creative problem solving algorithm:

Beginning

Simplifying

Letting Go

Conflict

Building

Diversity

Celebrating

Each symbol can be the springboard (pun intended) of personal reflection:

Karpas: what are you going to do new? How are you going to grow?
Matzah: how can you simplify your life?
Maror: what is the biggest conflict/source of bitterness?
Zro'a: what sacrifice are you prepared to make?
Charoset: what is your biggest source of sweetness?
Orange: how can you be more inclusive?
Beitzah: what are you celebrating this year? 

Introduction
Source : Stosh Cotler, Bend the Arc

If people of faith want to show the world that #BlackLivesMatter, we have to show that they matter within our churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues. We must lend our moral courage and ethical imagination to support this powerful social movement that has emerged from Black communities, but calls on all of us to act.

Our country is experiencing a groundswell of activism that is shining a spotlight on police brutality and the myriad other ways in which racism harms Black communities and other communities of color. This groundswell is being powered by a revitalized racial justice movement with young people of color and LGBT people of color at its center -- and it's giving new shape to what a transformed American society could look like. In this moment of profound change and possibility, people of faith -- in our full diversity -- must work harder to raise the voices and follow the lead of the many Black people and other people of color in our communities. For white people of faith, that means learning how to become more effective allies in the struggle against racism -- and that struggle starts within our own faith communities.

Transformation is on the rise. People of faith have direct experience with the power of transformation. Let's apply that wisdom to this moment and support these young people of color as they lead us to the promised land. Only when every black life matters in America, will every life in America matter.

Introduction
Source : Original Illustration from Haggadot.com

Introduction
by g
Source : Emory Douglas (text from Wikipedia)

Emory Douglas (born May 24, 1943) worked as the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party from 1967 until the Party disbanded in the 1980s. His graphic art was featured in most issues of the newspaper The Black Panther (which had a peak circulation of 139,000 per week in 1970) As the art director, designer, and main illustrator for The Black Panther newspaper, he created images that became icons—representing black American struggles during the 1960s and 1970s.

Kadesh
Source : Original Illustration from Haggadot.com

Kadesh
Source : Design by Haggadot.com

Urchatz
by VBS
Source : VBS Haggadah
Slaves eat quickly, stopping neither to wash nor to reflect. Tonight, we are free. We wash and we express our reverence for the blessings that are ours.

Pass a bowl of water, a small cup and a towel around the table. Everyone pours three cupfuls over their fingers. There is no blessing over this washing.

Urchatz
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com
Water is refreshing, cleansing, and clear, so it’s easy to understand why so many cultures and religions use water for symbolic purification. We will wash our hands twice during our seder: now, with no blessing, to get us ready for the rituals to come; and then again later, we’ll wash again with a blessing, preparing us for the meal, which Judaism thinks of as a ritual in itself. (The Jewish obsession with food is older than you thought!)

To wash your hands, you don’t need soap, but you do need a cup to pour water over your hands. Pour water on each of your hands three times, alternating between your hands. If the people around your table don’t want to get up to walk all the way over to the sink, you could pass a pitcher and a bowl around so everyone can wash at their seats… just be careful not to spill!

Too often during our daily lives we don’t stop and take the moment to prepare for whatever it is we’re about to do.

Let's pause to consider what we hope to get out of our evening together tonight. Go around the table and share one hope or expectation you have for tonight's seder.

Karpas
Source : A.E. Housman

Stars, I have seen them fall,

But when they drop and die

No star is lost at all

From all the star-sown sky.

The toil of all that be

Helps not the primal fault;

It rains into the sea,

And still the sea is salt.

Karpas
Source : haggadot.com

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה.

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, borei p’ri ha’adamah.

Blessed are You, Lord, our God, Ruler of the universe, who creates the fruit of the earth.

Karpas
Source : Jews for Racial and Economic Justice

A small piece of onion, parsley, or boiled potato is dipped into saltwater and eaten (after reciting the blessing over vegetables). Dipping the karpas is a sign of luxury and freedom. The saltwater represents the tears of our ancestors in Mitzrayim (Egypt). This year may it also represent tears of Black parents and families mourning the loss of their Black youth at the hands of police brutality.
Yachatz
Source : Ritualwell.org

By Rabbi Melissa Klein, Rabbi Joanna Katz, Rabbi Julie Greenberg, Rabbi Jo Hirschmann, Susan Kaplow, Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell

This year, we add a padlock and a key to our seder plate.

Those of us who are blessed to live in our own homes tend to associate locks and keys with protection and access. Many of us have homes that keep us safe and that allow us to go in and out as we please. In contrast, for more than two million individuals who are incarcerated in the United States — the majority of whom are people of color — the lock represents the reality of being locked up and then locked out. Upon leaving prison with a felony conviction, these Americans “enter a hidden underworld of legalized discrimination and permanent social exclusion” (Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow, p. 13). They are locked out of jobs, housing opportunities, and in many places, voting rights. In Michelle Alexander’s words, “Today a criminal freed from prison has scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a freed slave or a black person living ‘free’ in Mississippi at the height of Jim Crow” ( The New Jim Crow, p. 141).

We place the lock and key on our seder plate tonight to ally ourselves with those who are behind bars, with those who are labelled as felons in the community, and with the parents, children, and other family members of those who are locked up and locked out. The key represents our commitment, as Jews who know a history of oppression, to join the movement to end mass incarceration in the United States. The key reminds us of our potential to partner with the Source of Liberation to unlock a more promising, dignified future for us all.

The task may seem overwhelming, yet each of us can do our part to help transform the criminal justice system here in the United States. The first step to transformation is awareness, and thus we ask questions and learn from one another this seder night.

-----------------------

The material in this haggadah supplement may be challenging to process. We recommend allowing each person at the seder table to share reactions and feelings, as well as personal experiences, without interruption or judgment. By sharing in this way, we make the seder table a sacred space for connection and deepened understanding.

To view the full  Passover Haggadah Supplement: Crying Out Against Mass Incarceration, click here.

This clip is provided by Ritualwell.

Yachatz
True freedom requires sacrifice and pain. Most human beings only think they want freedom. The truth is they yearn for the bondage of social order, rigid laws, materialism. The only freedom man really wants is to be comfortable.

- Emma Goldman

Yachatz
by VBS
Source : Valley Beth Shalom Haggadah
We are free, but we remember when we were slaves. We are whole, but we bring to mind those who are broken. The middle matzah is broken, but it is the larger part which is hidden. Because the future will be greater than the past, and tomorrow’s Passover nobler than yesterday’s exodus. The prospects for the dreamed future are overwhelming to the point of making us mute. So it is in silence, without blessing, that we break and hide the matzah and long for its recovery and our redemption. 
Maggid - Beginning
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

Pour the second glass of wine for everyone.

The Haggadah doesn’t tell the story of Passover in a linear fashion. We don’t hear of Moses being found by the daughter of Pharaoh – actually, we don’t hear much of Moses at all. Instead, we get an impressionistic collection of songs, images, and stories of both the Exodus from Egypt and from Passover celebrations through the centuries. Some say that minimizing the role of Moses keeps us focused on the miracles God performed for us. Others insist that we keep the focus on the role that every member of the community has in bringing about positive change.

Maggid - Beginning
Source : Mary Oliver

"Instructions for living a life:

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.”

Maggid - Beginning
Source : Jews United for Justice, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice

The formal telling of the story of Passover is framed as a discussion with lots of questions and answers. The tradition that the youngest person asks the questions reflects the centrality of involving everyone in the seder. The rabbis who created the set format for the seder gave us the Four Questions to help break the ice in case no one had their own questions.

The questions we ask at a seder set in motion the telling of the story. The usual four questions begin with “Mah nishtanah halayla hazeh? – Why is this night different from all other nights?” But Rabbinic commentary tells us that any genuine question can serve the same purpose.

Tonight, we burn with questions. We collectively acknowledge that we are in a moment of crisis, that we have actively or passively contributed to this crisis, and that we must treat this moment with urgency. In order to do this thoughtfully, we must ask ourselves (at least) four questions:

  1. Why is racism a Jewish issue?
  2. How is police brutality connected to racism?
  3. Why on this night when we remember the oppression and resistance of Jews should we also think about the lives of people of color?
  4. I don’t want to accept that racism will always be present in our society. How can we fight racism in our own communities and at AU?
-- Four Questions
Source : traditional

מַה נִּשְׁתַּנָּה הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילות

Ma nishtana halaila hazeh mikol haleilot?

Why is this night different from all other nights?

:שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכלין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה  הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלּוֹ מצה  

Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin chameitz u-matzah. Halaila hazeh kulo matzah.

On all other nights we eat both leavened bread and matzah. Tonight we only eat matzah.

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מָרוֹר:

Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin shi’ar yirakot haleila hazeh maror.

On all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables, but tonight we eat bitter herbs.

ֶ שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אָֽנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּֽעַם אחָת  הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעמים:

Shebichol haleilot ain anu matbilin afilu pa-am echat. Halaila hazeh shtei fi-amim.

On all other nights we aren’t expected to dip our vegetables one time. Tonight we do it twice.

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין.  :הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָּֽנוּ מְסֻבין:

Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin bein yoshvin uvein m’subin. Halaila hazeh kulanu m’subin.

On all other nights we eat either sitting normally or reclining. Tonight we recline.

-- Four Questions
by E C
Source : Shared by Kohenet Ilana Joy Streit at http://www.ritualwell.org/ritual/ma-nishtana-what-needs-change

What needs to change so the world as it is can wake up? 

What needs to change so the world as it is can love us?

What needs to change right now so we can breathe? 

What needs to change so our sisters and brothers can be as free as we are? 

And what needs to change so that we can be free too? 

What needs to change in our voices, our postures, our pacing? 

What needs to change in howwe try to change our bodies? 

What needs to change in our newspapers and in our budgets? 

What needs to change in our language and in our bedrooms? 

What needs to change in how we look in the mirror? 

...

What needs to change so that I have a voice and you have ears? 

I know what needs to change and you know what needs to change and we will be the change.

-- Four Questions
-- Four Children
Source : Eli Lebowicz, Lebowicz@gmail.com

The Four Sons as represented by the Bluth boys from Arrested Development.
-- Four Children
Source : Pesach: A Season of Justice

This reading allows for much personal identification and further

interpretation in the text. A discussion can take place regarding with which of the four children each guest identifies most, followed by a consideration of which populations are currently “unable to ask,” who might be considered “simple,” and more. Examples for a new set of four children may include:

1. One who sees the pain of others and works to relieve suffering.

2. One who cares only about him/herself.

3. One who cares only about other Jews but not other populations.

4. One who doesn’t know where to begin.

-- Exodus Story
Source : Religious Action Center

In every generation, each of us should feel as though we ourselves had gone forth from Egypt.

In every generation, each of us should feel as though we ourselves had been freed from bondage.

In every generation, each of us should feel as though we ourselves fought for humane conditions in the workplace.

God may have freed us from bondage in Egypt with an outstretched arm, but redemption from injustice in the workplace, be it a non-living wage, oppression of undocumented workers, pay discrimination, substandard working conditions or wage theft, is within our own capacity. On this Pesach, let us remember the importance of labor unions and collective bargaining in our own history, and let us rededicate ourselves to fight for workers’ rights in our own generation.

The Egyptians ruthlessly imposed upon the Israelites the various labors that they made them perform. Ruthlessly they made life bitter for them with harsh labor at mortar and bricks and with all sorts of tasks in the field. ~ Exodus 1:13-14

I have never declared a strike in all my life. I have done my share to prevent strikes, but there comes a time when not to strike is but to rivet the chains of slavery upon our wrists. Yes, Mr. Shirtwaist Manufacturer, it may be inconvenient for you if your boys and girls go out on strike, but there are things of more importance than your convenience and your profit. There are the lives of the boys and girls working in your business. ~ Samuel Gompers, AFL President (demanding better working conditions at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory one year before the 1911 fire there claimed the lives of 146 workers, mostly Jewish immigrant women)

~~~

Solidarity Forever sung to the tune of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic

When the union's inspiration through the workers' blood shall 

There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun

Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one

But the union makes us strong

[Chorus] Solidarity forever, Solidarity forever, Solidarity forever, for the union makes us strong!

It is we who plowed the prairies, built the cities where they trade

Dug the mines and built the workshops, endless miles of railroad laid

Now we stand outcast and starving 'mid the wonders we have made

But the union makes us strong

[Chorus]

They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn

But without our brain and muscle, not a single wheel can turn

We can break their haughty power, gain our freedom when we learn

That the union makes us strong

[Chorus]

-- Exodus Story
Source : Foundation For Family Education, Inc.

(Traditional spiritual)

When Israel was in Egypt land

Let My People go

Oppressed so hard they could not stand

Let My People go.

Go down, Moses

Way down in Egypt land

Tell old Pharaoh

To Let My People go.

-- Exodus Story
Source : JSNAP Passover Haggadah Insert

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 moment in the Passover story. After suffering for generations as slaves in Egypt, the Hebrews cross the Sea of Reeds and head into the desert with only matzah, the bread of affliction. Led by Miriam and Moses, the community seeks its freedom from slavery, oppression, and violence by wandering in the desert for forty years. Though this is a long struggle, the Hebrews’ persistence leads them to the Promised Land.

More contemporary examples demonstrate that forced migrations are not a thing of the past. In 1863 and ’64, the United States government forcibly removed the Navajo Nation from its ancestral homeland in Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado. Prior to this forced move, the US Army went to war with the Navajo and Apache tribes, destroying much of their community. The US Army, led by Kit Carson, then forced 8,500 Navajo people to march 400 miles to their internment in Bosque Redondo, a forty square-mile area. This is now known as the Navajo Long Walk.

Over 200 people died after walking through the harsh winter for two months. Many more perished after arriving in the barren Bosque Redondo reservation, where disease, crop failure, and poor irrigation made survival almost impossible. The Navajos also had their own “bread of affliction.” They were given meager rations of only flour and coffee beans, but because the coffee beans were unfamiliar to this community, they tried to boil them and starved.

After the Navajo were recognized as a sovereign nation under the Treaty of 1868, they returned to their homeland on the Arizona- New Mexico border (one of very few tribes who were allowed to do so). Though their lands were greatly reduced by the US Army and government, the Navajo worked hard to take care of their livestock and rebuild their community.

Can you draw parallels between the Jewish Exodus from Egypt and the Navajo Long Walk? What are the key similarities and differences between these histories? What do you know about the long-term effects of forced migration and persecution on contemporary American Indian communities?

As we observe Passover to commemorate the hardships of our ancestors, how can we act in solidarity with American Indian communities’ histories of persecution, forced migration, and genocide? 

-- Exodus Story
Source : The New Yorker

-- Exodus Story

Song of Miriam

By Rabbi Ruth Sohn

I, Miriam, stand at the sea and turn to face the desert stretching endless and still.
My eyes are dazzled —
the sky brilliant blue, sunburst sands unyielding white.
My hands turn to dove wings.
My arms reach for the sky and I want to sing the song rising inside me.
My mouth open, I stop.
Where are the words?
Where the melody?
In a moment of panic my eyes go blind.
Can I take a step without knowing a destination?
Will I falter? Will I fall? Will the ground sink away from under me?
The song still unformed — How can I sing?
To take the first step — to sing a new song —
to close one’s eyes and dive into unknown waters.
For a moment knowing nothing, risking all —
But then to discover the waters are friendly.
The ground is firm and the song rises again.
Out of my mouth come words lifting the wind,
and I hear for the first time the song that has been in my heart,
silent, unknown, even to me.

-- Exodus Story
by VBS
Source : VBS Haggadah

Menachem Mendel of Kotzk maintained that "whoever believes in miracles is a fool; and whoever does not believe in miracles is an atheist."

How can the idea of the miraculous be meaningful to us today? We may be guided by the biblical Hebrew term for miracle, nes, which means "sign." A miracle is an event that signifies something of significance, something that makes an important difference in my life or in the life of my community. A miracle is an intimation of an experience of transcending meaning. The sign-miracle does not refer to something beyond or contrary to logic or nature. It refers to events and experiences that make us take notice of the extraordinary in the ordinary, the wonder in the everyday, the marvel in the routine. Signs do not violate reason or nature. They are natural moments in our lives that we recognize as transforming.

—Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis 

-- Exodus Story
by HIAS
Source : HIAS Seder Supplement

To use at the beginning of the Maggid, the telling of the Passover story.

The heart of the Passover Seder is the Maggid, meaning storytelling. Maggid comes from the same root as Haggadah, which means telling. The Maggid tells the story of the Jewish people’s exodus from slavery in Egypt. During the Maggid, we say the words, “ (Arami oved avi). ” This phrase is sometimes translated as “My father was a wandering Aramean” and other times as “An Aramean sought to destroy my father.” Somewhere between the two translations lies the essence of the Jewish experience: a rootless people who have fled persecution time and time again.

At this point in the Seder walk with your guests to your front door and place a pair of shoes on your doorstep and read together:

“As we recite the words ‘Arami oved avi,’ we acknowledge that we have stood in the shoes of the refugee. Today, as we celebrate our freedom, we commit ourselves to continuing to stand with contemporary refugees. In honor of this commitment, we place a pair of shoes on our doorstep of this home to acknowledge that none of us is free until all of us are free and to pledge to stand in support of welcoming those who do not yet have a place to call home.”

Invite family and friends to join you by placing a pair of shoes on their doorstep as well. Encourage them this Passover to support welcoming the world’s refugees and stand up against the xenophobia and hatred being levied against these most vulnerable people. You might also direct them to the HIAS website for ways they can amplify their support.

from the HIAS Seder Supplement http://www.hias.org/passover2016-supplement

-- Exodus Story
Source : Original
1.      God, have You forgotten me? I have forgotten how to breathe. The air here is tight around me Each day presses in and tomorrow feels impossibly far away I long to feel Your wide, wide love To feel hard earth beneath my cracked feet, shade on my bent back, cool mist on my sun-scorched skin I long to hear sweet words For respite from the sting that forces me into this pit and keeps me here Day after day God, though my voice is barely a broken whisper, I am calling out In remembering You Please remember me Remember my family And our ancestors Bring us home to You Turn us back toward Your embrace And fold us in We have been lost so long And now, we are ready Find us Remember us At night we sing a secret song of breath and cooling shadows By day we squint our eyes and hope that when we open them You will be here, a hand on our brow A breath of wind at our backs We sing to You Please Hear our song Please Come and bring us home.
-- Ten Plagues
Source : http://zeek.forward.com/articles/118165/

By Avigayil Halpern

Blood: Young girls tuck tampons quickly into backpacks, secret them in purses, hide them in Ugg boots. It’s not blue dye that the river is running with, and periods are more trouble than the pamphlet in that goody bag from middle-school health class would leave one to believe. “It’s beautiful to be female,” we’re told, but nobody accounts for cramps and cramps and cramps and bloodied sheets and cramps. We are under no obligation to love our bodies, to delight in the “privilege” of femaleness, not when we are compelled to hide it.

Frogs: They hear our voices blurred into the high-pitched hum of a summer night, ribbet ribbet,like, ribbet. We are alive, vibrant, excited, communicating. We speak fast, sentences overlapping, as the men across the Shabbat table snicker at our pace and our tone. If they listened, they would hear us speak of politics. If they listened to our chirping, they would hear us planning our way into every crevice of their world. We will fill it with our voices.

Lice: Squirming, fidgeting, wanting to crawl out of our skin. A teacher detains us in the hall to talk about our thighs – it’s supposed to be about the skirt, but the fabric that’s there isn’t the problem. The heels we wore to that interview hurt our nervous, trembling feet as we talk about our favorite books, our biggest challenges. We feel it, all over, all the time, itching in our souls as we adjust the tight-but-not-too-tight skirt.

Wild Animals: We clutch keys in our hand on the walk home, never feeling safe alone at night. Alone with a trusted male friend, the thought still occurs; after all, so many rapes are committed by those who are close. Who says we’ll be the one to avoid it? The numbers mean we’re never safe, always wondering, fearing we’ll be pounced on.

Cattle Pestilence: Herded into classrooms, desks in straight rows, filling out bubble after bubble with that pencil. We lose our humanity in ID numbers and testing tricks, cattle in high schools on Sunday morning. Do we need an extra calculator? How long is this section? Am I about to ruin my future? Phone rings, scores will be canceled. Don’t open the book until we’re told. d c a b a b b b b b b. Crap, that can’t be right.

Boils: Flawed, flawed skin. Primer, concealer, foundation, powder, contour, highlight. Remove with alcohol and oil. Exfoliate. Face wash. Moisturizer. How much does this cost? How much of this is toxic? We work to unlearn the idealization of perfect faces on glossy pages, and still cringe at the dark circles, the and that one zit near our nose. We fill landfills and souls with the garbage from our “beauty” routines, but we’re never satisfied, always something more we need to fix our “tainted” skin.

Hail: Fire and ice. Smart or likable. Hot or serious. Sexual or respectable. Mature or excited. Intellectual or fun. Strong or elegant. Choose.

Locusts: They descend on us, pick us bare, for the future of the Jewish people. We don’t align with denominations. We don’t look good in demographic surveys. We don’t care about continuity. We care about meaning, and that scares them. We do not exist to feed the future. We are not here to raise Jewish children. We are here to be Jews in our own right. Consume us, envelop us into your structure. There’ll be nothing left.

Darkness: We girls are still not welcomed into the halls of study, into the mazes of letters. We fight for the Talmud, and look blindly at the reading notation over and under the Torah text. We are left in the dark about how to sing those words, in the dark about the culture of Jews interpreting and creating our texts for thousands of years. We bring our flashlights, weaving our way through forms frozen, stagnated by the dark they themselves have created.

Death of the Firstborn: This is not our plague. We are not the firstborn. We are secondary, taken for granted, always in the ensemble but never given a starring role. We have been here for centuries, mothers and sisters and wives of the firstborn. We are the bat mitzvah girls given jewelry where our male friends got books. We are the teenagers given strange looks when we walk into the beit midrash and slide a volume of Talmud from the shelf. We are the stranger, higher voices singing the words of the Torah from the bima. We are reading it. It will be ours.

-- Ten Plagues
Source : JQ International GLBT Haggadah

With a finger, remove a drop of wine from your cup and wipe it on your plate, as each plague is mentioned...

Blood
Frogs
Lice
Wild Beasts
Blight
Boils
Hail
Locusts
Darkness
Slaying of the First Born

-- Ten Plagues
Source : Jews United for Justice

To persuade Pharaoh to let the Hebrew slaves go free, God brought ten plagues on the people of Egypt. In a traditional seder, we remove a drop of wine or juice from our glasses as we name each ancient plague, symbolizing that even as we celebrate our liberation, our joy is reduced by the suffering of the Egyptians. Tonight we remove a drop from our full cups after we read the names of ten Black lives lost to police violence:

Sean Bell

Kendrek McDade

Walter Scott

Rekia Boyd

Eric Garner

John Crawford III

Kimani Grey

Aiyana Stanley Jones

Tamir Rice

Michael Brown

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

בְּכָל־דּוֹר וָדוֹר חַיָּב אָדָם לִרְאוֹת אֶת־עַצְמוֹ, כְּאִלּוּ הוּא יָצָא מִמִּצְרָֽיִם

B’chol dor vador chayav adam lirot et-atzmo, k’ilu hu yatzav mimitzrayim.

In every generation, everyone is obligated to see themselves as though they personally left Egypt.

The seder reminds us that it was not only our ancestors whom God redeemed; God redeemed us too along with them. That’s why the Torah says “God brought us out from there in order to lead us to and give us the land promised to our ancestors.”

---

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who redeemed us and our ancestors from Egypt, enabling us to reach this night and eat matzah and bitter herbs. May we continue to reach future holidays in peace and happiness.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Drink the second glass of wine!

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : www.funnyordie.com

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

by Bradley Burston

Blessed are You,
Creator of the Second Chance,
Vendor of questions and plagues
Just this once, just for this cup,
Come on down. Take a seat.
Take a sip. Taste
Of this cup meant to bring an end to plagues and questions.
Roll them on your Sacred Tongue, taste as if chewing
Taste what we taste
Come on down.

We're ready to leave Egypt now. We've said our goodbyes and punched the clock for the last time.

We've done what you asked. We sang Dayenu, which means "You shouldn't have. You needn't have. You're too kind."

We did what you asked. We went through what we had, and we took with us only what we thought we really needed.

We have gone two cups. We're almost at the river. No longer slaves, not yet free. It's getting hard to focus. We're ready to eat. Come on down. Your children are hungry. Some of them are already thinking, Make it stop.

This cup, this is the end of Magid. This is the end of the Q and A, of Your chance to explain.

Blessed are You, who created us, each of us wise and wicked, innocent and too full of shame to know how to ask.

This is the night of second chances. Of reliving seders remembered, and of asking children to remember what they are living now.

Come on down. Taste what we taste. Hold your demands.

Not tonight. Not this week. We're busy this week. We're busy cleaning and making crumbs, debating the meaning and the ethnicity of beans. This week we are serving You.

Help us, God, to remember that freedom begins the day Pesach ends.

Blessed are You, Creator of the human trait of rebellion, and, thus, inventor of freedom.

Next week, next month, may we take with us out of Egypt only what we really need. May we take with us out of Egypt the idea that we get freedom when we give freedom.

May You, and we, let all who are hungry come and eat.

Blessed are You, our Lord, our God who runs the world and sets the rules of nature, and who creates this fruit of the vine.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
From singing Dayenu we learn to celebrate each landmark on our people's journey. Yet we must never confuse these way stations with the goal. Because it is not yet Dayenu. There is still so much to do in our work of tikkun olam, repairing the world.

When governments end the escalating production of devastating weapons, secure in the knowledge that they will not be necessary, Dayenu.

When all women and men are allowed to make their own decisions on matters regarding their own bodies and personal relationships without discrimination or legal consequences, Dayenu.

When children grow up in freedom, without hunger, and with the love and support they need to realize their full potential, Dayenu.

When the air, water, fellow creatures and beautiful world are protected for the benefit and enjoyment of all and given priority over development for the sake of profit, Dayenu.

When people of all ages, sexes, races, religions, sexual orientations, cultures and nations respect and appreciate one another, Dayenu.

When each person can say, "This year, I worked as hard as I could toward improving the world so that all people can experience the joy and freedom I feel sitting here tonight at the seder table," Dayenu v'lo Dayenu - It will and will not be enough.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

Reader: The plagues and our subsequent redemption from Egypt are but one example of the care God has shown for us in our history. Had God but done any one of these kindnesses, it would have been enough – dayeinu.

All:

Ilu ho-tsi, ho-tsi-a-nu,
Ho-tsi-a-nu mi-Mitz-ra-yim,
Ho-tsi-a-nu mi-Mitz-ra-yim,
Da-ye-nu!

.. CHORUS:
.. Dai, da-ye-nu,
.. Dai, da-ye-nu,
.. Dai, da-ye-nu,
.. Da-ye-nu, da-ye-nu, da-ye-nu!
..
.. Dai, da-ye-nu,
.. Dai, da-ye-nu,
.. Dai, da-ye-nu,
.. Da-ye-nu, da-ye-nu!

Ilu na-tan, na-tan la-nu,
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-Sha-bat,
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-Sha-bat,
Da-ye-nu!

.. (CHORUS)

Ilu na-tan, na-tan la-nu,
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-To-rah,
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-To-rah,
Da-ye-nu!

.. (CHORUS)

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : Michelle Shain
Maimonides urged us to care for our bodies so that we would be free to concentrate our energies on God. In the modern world, one of the greatest threats to our physical health is mental stress. Stress causes insomnia, digestive problems, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, depression, memory impairment and countless other complications. As women, we are particularly vulnerable to the stress caused by multiple and exhausting commitments to our families, friends, jobs and communities. This year, let us learn how to say “Enough!”    

If we agree to serve one volunteer committee, but not two or three… דַּיֵּנוּ

If we work 45 hours in a week, but not 60… דַּיֵּנוּ

If we serve two courses for Shabbat dinner, but not three or four… דַּיֵּנוּ

If we buy a dessert, instead of making one from scratch… דַּיֵּנוּ

If we wash the floor every other Friday morning, instead of every Friday morning… דַּיֵּנוּ

If we clear away the clutter, but don’t dust the shelves… דַּיֵּנוּ

If we buy a gift certificate, instead of spending hours searching for the perfect gift… דַּיֵּנוּ

If we usually schlep to the less expensive supermarket, but not always… דַּיֵּנוּ

If we take on one of the big projects coming up at work, but not all of them… דַּיֵּנוּ

If we go to one of the events organized by our friends this week, but not all them… דַּיֵּנוּ

If we do what we can, and then go to bed at a reasonable hour… דַּיֵּנוּ

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : JSNAP Passover Haggadah Insert

In the Passover story, Miriam the prophetess is a true community organizer, leading her people across the Red Sea in song and dance and helping them to feel the power of liberation! Miriam knows that their power lies in the full diversity of the community. Everyone, man or woman, can be a great leader. Another story is told about Miriam and her brother Aaron challenge Moses’ prophetic authority asking: “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” (Numbers, 12:2). Like women throughout history, Miriam bears the brunt of the penalty for her and Aaron’s actions. While Aaron is left unpunished, Miriam suffers leprosy and is sent to live outside of the camp for a week. Though G-d and Moses instruct the community to continue in the wilderness, they refuse and insist on waiting until Miriam returns. This story illustrates the power of fierce women in our communities, demonstrating that gender diversity is critical on our long path to liberation.

The example Miriam sets is reflected in the work that women organizers are doing all over the country, including those in Native American communities. Winona LaDuke is a fiery Anishanaabe Native rights and environmental activist who founded the White Earth Land Recovery Project in Minnesota and the international Indigenous Women’s Network. Winona's calls for action against destruction of sacred land have made tremendous impacts on both indigenous people and the world at large. She speaks to women’s experience and, like Miriam, maintains a feminist perspective in her work. She writes:

“We, collectively, find that we are often in the role of the prey, to a predator of society, whether for sexual discrimination, exploitation, sterilization, absence of control over our bodies, or being the subjects of repressive laws and legislation in which we have no voice. This occurs on an individual level, but equally, and more significantly on a societal level. It is also critical to point out at this time, that most matrilineal societies, societies in which governance and decision making are largely controlled by women, have been obliterated from the face of the Earth by colonialism, and subsequently industrialism. The only matrilineal societies which exist in the world are those of Indigenous nations. We are the remaining matrilineal societies, yet we also face obliteration.”

Like Miriam, Winona and the organizations she helped to form provide spaces for indigenous women to develop political consciousness and a powerful national voice. During Passover, we can all be moved by Miriam and Winona’s work and strive to be concious of creating inclusive communities as we cross from slavery to freedom. 

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

אִלוּ הוֹצִיאָנוּ מִמִצְרַים

אִלוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַשַׁבָּת

אִלוּ נַָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַתּוֹרָה

Ilu ho-tsi, ho-tsi-a-nu,
Ho-tsi-a-nu mi-Mitz-ra-yim,
Ho-tsi-a-nu mi-Mitz-ra-yim,
Da-ye-nu!

.. CHORUS:
.. Dai, da-ye-nu,
.. Dai, da-ye-nu,
.. Dai, da-ye-nu,
.. Da-ye-nu, da-ye-nu, da-ye-nu!
..
.. Dai, da-ye-nu,
.. Dai, da-ye-nu,
.. Dai, da-ye-nu,
.. Da-ye-nu, da-ye-nu!

Ilu na-tan, na-tan la-nu,
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-Sha-bat,
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-Sha-bat,
Da-ye-nu!

.. (CHORUS)

Ilu na-tan, na-tan la-nu,
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-To-rah,
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-To-rah,
Da-ye-nu!

.. (CHORUS)

Had He brought all, brought all of us, brought all of us
out from Egypt,
then it would have been enough. Oh, dayenu.

Chorus:
Da-da-yeinu_____, da-da-yeinu_____, da-da-yeinu_____,
dayeinu, dayeinu, dayeinu.

(repeat)

Had He given, given to us, given to us all the Sabbath,
then it would have been enough. Oh, dayenu.

Chorus

Had He given, given to us, given to us all the Torah,
then it would have been enough. Oh, dayenu.

Chorus

Rachtzah
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

As we now transition from the formal telling of the Passover story to the celebratory meal, we once again wash our hands to prepare ourselves. In Judaism, a good meal together with friends and family is itself a sacred act, so we prepare for it just as we prepared for our holiday ritual, recalling the way ancient priests once prepared for service in the Temple.

Some people distinguish between washing to prepare for prayer and washing to prepare for food by changing the way they pour water on their hands. For washing before food, pour water three times on your right hand and then three times on your left hand.

After you have poured the water over your hands, recite this short blessing.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ  עַל נְטִילַת יָדָֽיִם

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al n’tilat yadayim.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who made us holy through obligations, commanding us to wash our hands.

Motzi-Matzah
Source : Phil Neuman + Others

Time to eat matzah.  As each of you breaks off four pieces of matzah for your plate, ponder this:

Matzah is literally free of all additives, externalities and superficial good looks -- it is bread without the hot air. It represents the bare essentials.

Everything we pursue in life can be divided into necessities and luxuries. To the extent that a luxury becomes a necessity we lose an element of our freedom by being enslaved to a false need.

On Passover we can focus on the essence and leave the externalities behind.

Now, take one of the pieces of matzah and say:

Baruch ata Adonai Elohinu melech ha'olam hamotzi lechem min ha'aretz.

Which means:

We bless you, Lord our God, God of the world, who brings forth bread from the land.

And add:

Baruch ata Adonai Eloheinu melech ha'olam asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav v'ztivanu al achilat matzah.

Which means:

We bless you, Lord our God, God of the world, who has sanctified us with commandments and commanded us concerning the eating of matzah.

Eat the piece of matzah.

Maror
Source : http://www.utzedek.org/socialjusticetorah/uri-ltzedek-food-a-justice-haggadah-supplement.html

By: Rabbi David Jaffe

In Talmud Bavli Pesachim 115b, Rava teaches, "[One who] swallows the matzah [without chewing] has fulfilled the obligation [of eating matzah]. [However, one who] swallows the maror [without chewing] does not fulfill the obligation [of eating maror]." Rashbam explains that even though ideally one should taste the matzah, after the fact, even swallowing without tasting is a form of eating and thus one has fulfilled the mitzvah. Maror is different. Actually tasting the maror, and not just eating it, is the essence of the mitzvah because the maror should remind us of how our lives were embittered by the oppression of the mitzrim. (See also Shulchan Aruch, Orech Chayyim 475:3; Mishnah Berurah 475: 29, 30.)

We need to slowly chew our horseradish or romaine lettuce, letting the burning juices sink into our tongues and open our sinuses!  We live in a fast food culture. Except on Shabbat, our meals are often rushed; an efficient meal is something we can finish in under five minutes or eat while doing something else. The ba'alei mussar teach that the yetzer harah's main strategy is to keep us busy, moving so fast that we absorb neither our own reality nor the reality of the world around us.

There is so much suffering in the world, both our own and others', such as the migrant workers who harvest our food, exposing themselves to dangerous pesticides while being paid less than a living wage. They contract illnesses and do not have the health insurance needed to heal. Subsistence farmers in Central and South America are forced by economic need to produce only one type of crop and no longer have the ability to feed their own families. Or, closer to home, a relative may be silently suffering health problems, family strife, or economic vulnerability. This halachah is teaching us that suffering is something to be absorbed and felt if it is to have a cathartic and motivating impact. Our business urges us not to look, not to dwell, not to really feel. However, it is that bitter taste of suffering that makes it impossible for us to accept things the way they are. We must act, we must reach out, we must make change!  

Maror
Source : JewishBoston.com

Dipping the bitter herb in sweet charoset | maror  |מָרוֹר   

  In creating a holiday about the joy of freedom, we turn the story of our bitter history into a sweet celebration. We recognize this by dipping our bitter herbs into the sweet charoset. We don’t totally eradicate the taste of the bitter with the taste of the sweet… but doesn’t the sweet mean more when it’s layered over the bitterness?

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מרוֹר

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al achilat maror.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who made us holy through obligations, commanding us to eat bitter herbs.

Koreich
Source : JewishBoston.com

Eating a sandwich of matzah and bitter herb | koreich | כּוֹרֵךְ

When the Temple stood in Jerusalem, the biggest ritual of them all was eating the lamb offered as the pesach or Passover sacrifice. The great sage Hillel would put the meat in a sandwich made of matzah, along with some of the bitter herbs. While we do not make sacrifices any more – and, in fact, some Jews have a custom of purposely avoiding lamb during the seder so that it is not mistaken as a sacrifice – we honor this custom by eating a sandwich of the remaining matzah and bitter herbs. Some people will also include charoset in the sandwich to remind us that God’s kindness helped relieve the bitterness of slavery.

Koreich
Source : Original Illustration from Haggadot.com

Koreich
Source : http://www.thejewishcollection.com/passoverjokes.pdf

It seems a group of leading medical people have published data that indicates that Seder participants should NOT partake of both chopped liver and charoses. It is indicated that this combination can lead to Charoses of the Liver. 

 
Koreich
Source : Aurora Levins Morales

“This time we cannot cross until we carry each other. All of us refugees, all of us prophets. No more taking turns on history’s wheel, trying to collect old debts no one can pay. The sea will not open that way. This time that country is what we promise each other, our rage pressed cheek to cheek until tears flood the space between, until there are no enemies left, because this time no one will be left to drown and all of us must be chosen. This time it’s all of us or none.”

-Aurora Levins Morales

Shulchan Oreich
Source : JewishBoston.com

Eating the meal! | shulchan oreich | שֻׁלְחָן עוֹרֵךְ

Enjoy! But don’t forget when you’re done we’ve got a little more seder to go, including the final two cups of wine!

Tzafun
Source : JewishBoston.com

Finding and eating the Afikomen | tzafoon | צָפוּן

The playfulness of finding the afikomen reminds us that we balance our solemn memories of slavery with a joyous celebration of freedom. As we eat the afikomen, our last taste of matzah for the evening, we are grateful for moments of silliness and happiness in our lives.

Tzafun
no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.

you only run for the border when you see the whole city running as well.

no one would leave home unless home chased you, fire under feet, hot blood in your belly.

it's not something you ever thought about doing, and so when you did - you carried the anthem under your breath, waiting until the airport toilet to tear up the passport and swallow, each mouthful of paper making it clear that you would not be going back. you have to understand, no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.

who would choose to spend days and nights in the stomach of a truck unless the miles travelled meant something more than journey.

and if you survive and you are greeted on the other side with go home blacks, refugees dirty immigrants, asylum seekers sucking our country dry of milk, dark, with their hands out smell strange, savage - look what they've done to their own countries, what will they do to ours?

for now, forget about pride your survival is more important. i want to go home, but home is the mouth of a shark home is the barrel of the gun and no one would leave home unless home chased you to the shore unless home tells you to leave what you could not behind, even if it was human. no one leaves home until home is a damp voice in your ear saying leave, run now, i don't know what i've become.

Hallel
Source : JewishBoston.com

The Cup of Elijah

We now refill our wine glasses one last time and open the front door to invite the prophet Elijah to join our seder.

In the Bible, Elijah was a fierce defender of God to a disbelieving people. At the end of his life, rather than dying, he was whisked away to heaven. Tradition holds that he will return in advance of messianic days to herald a new era of peace, so we set a place for Elijah at many joyous, hopeful Jewish occasions, such as a baby’s bris and the Passover seder.

אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַנָּבִיא, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַתִּשְׁבִּיאֵלִיָּֽהוּ, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ,אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַגִּלְעָדִי

בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵֽנוּ יָבוֹא אֵלֵֽינוּ

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד

Eliyahu hanavi
Eliyahu hatishbi
Eliyahu, Eliyahu, Eliyahu hagiladi
Bimheirah b’yameinu, yavo eileinu
Im mashiach ben-David,
Im mashiach ben-David

Elijah the prophet, the returning, the man of Gilad:
return to us speedily,
in our days with the messiah,
son of David.

Hallel
Source : Jconnect Seattle's Liberal Seder

The fourth cup of wine is poured

We now draw our attention to the two empty cups on the table--one of which is for Elijah the Prophet, and the other for Miriam the Prophetess. Tradition teaches us that each of these biblical characters plays an important task of bringing redemption.It is said that that Elijah the Prophet visits the homes of Jewish families on Passover, to check to see if we are all truly ready to welcome the stranger, and are thus prepared to enter as a people into the messianic age. To Elijah we each offer a little bit of wine from our own cups, as a symbolic gesture of our readiness for redemption.

To honor Miriam the Prophetess, we each pour not wine, but water into a cup. According to tradition, Miriam sustained the Israelites in the desert with water from her well, and to this day her life-giving waters still flow into wells everywhere,sustaining us all as we work to bring redemption and wait for Elijah.

And so we open the door, pass around the Elijah’s and Miriam’s cups so that everyone can contribute to them, and sing together their songs of redemption:

Hallel
Source : Abraham Joshua Heschel Quote, Design by Haggadot.com

Hallel
Source : http://thesunmagazine.org/issues/401/to_say_nothing_but_thank_you
by  JEANNE LOHMANN

All day I try to say nothing but thank you,  breathe the syllables in and out with every step I take through the rooms of my house and outside into a profusion of shaggy-headed dandelions in the garden where the tulips’ black stamens shake in their crimson cups.

I am saying thank you, yes, to this burgeoning spring and to the cold wind of its changes. Gratitude comes easy after a hot shower, when my loosened muscles work,  when eyes and mind begin to clear and even unruly hair combs into place. 

Dialogue with the invisible can go on every minute,  and with surprising gaiety I am saying thank you as I  remember who I am, a woman learning to praise something as small as dandelion petals floating on the steaming surface of this bowl of vegetable soup, my happy, savoring tongue.

Nirtzah
Source : http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2013/03/20/a-poem-on-the-impossibility-of-passover/

On the Impossibility of Passover

by Robert Cohen


‘On Passover we celebrate as if we ourselves have been set free’

On my journey
To the Promised Land
My feet have become entangled
In the roots of upturned trees

Across the Jordan
I see homes turned to rubble
By the strong hand and the outstretched arm
Blocking the path to righteousness

Deliverance is held up at the checkpoint
Freedom chooses hunger
To make its case

And what is there left to celebrate
With timbrels and dancing?

I ask my questions
Eat bitter herbs
And count the plagues that we have sent

Cleansed
Refugeed
Absenteed
Unrecognised
Occupied
Besieged
Walled
Segregated
Sewaged over
Passed over

Grafitti on the Separation Wall in the West Bank. Credit: Robert Cohen

We have melted our inheritance
To cast a new desert idol
And the words from Sinai
Are crushed beneath its hooves

There is no Moses to climb the mountain a third time
Elijah is detained indefinitely
The mission is lost
Freedom is drowned
And the angels gather to weep

It is the first night of the Feast of Freedom
I open the Haggadah
Place olives on the Seder plate
And confront the impossibility of Passover

This year in Mitzrayim
This year in the narrow place

Nirtzah
Source : JQ International GLBT Haggadah

In every generation, we all should feel as though we ourselves had gone forth from Egypt, as it is written: “And you shall explain to your child on that day, it is because of what God did for me when, I, myself, went forth from Egypt.” (Exodus 13:8)

We end our Passover Seder by saying in unison:

May slavery give way to freedom.
May hate give way to love.
May ignorance give way to wisdom.
May despair give way to hope.
Next year, at this time, may everyone, everywhere, be free!

Next year in Jerusalem!

!לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בִּירוּשַָׁלָיִם

L’Shanah HaBa’ah B’Yerushalayim! 

Nirtzah
Source : Design by Haggadot.com

Commentary / Readings
Source : Daniel Brenner

I read the haggadah backwards this year


I read the haggadah backwards this year

The sea opens, the ancient Israelites slide back to

Egypt like Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk

Freedom to slavery

That’s the real story

One minute you’re dancing hallelujah with the prophetess

the next you’re knee deep in brown in the basement of some minor pyramid

 

The angel of death comes back to life

two zuzim are refunded. 

When armies emerge from the sea like a returning scuba expedition

the Pharoah calls out for fresh towels.

The bread has plenty of time to rise.


I read the hagaddah backwards this year,

left a future Jerusalem,

scrubbed off the bloody doorposts,

wandered back to Aram.

 

- Daniel Brenner

Commentary / Readings
Source : Pitching My Tent: On Marriage, Motherhood, Friendship & Other Leaps of Faith
EVERY JEWISH FAMILY produces a unique version of the Passover seder—the big ritual meal of traditional foods, served after and amid liturgy, storytelling, and song. We’re all surprised at each other’s customs: You eat lamb? You don’t sing “Chad Gad Ya”? And yet, virtually every seder does share a few common elements. Matzoh crumbs all over the floor. Wine stains on the tablecloth. A seder plate containing the traditional symbols of the holiday: a roasted shank bone and hardboiled egg, recalling the days of the Temple sacrifices; horseradish and salt water for the bitterness of oppression; parsley for spring; haroset, a mixture of wine, nuts, and fruit symbolizing mortar and the heavy labor performed by the Israelite slaves. And for lots of us, an orange. The ancient Hebrews who fled into the wilderness didn’t know from citrus fruit, and there certainly weren’t any Valencias on Grandma’s seder plate. Starting in the 1980s, the new holiday symbol has been showing up on an ever-increasing number of Passover tables. The custom originated with the teacher and writer Susannah Heschel, who first set it out as a symbol of inclusion for lesbian and gay Jews, and in following years for all those who have been marginalized in the Jewish community. Thanks largely to the Internet, Jewish women adopted the fruit as a symbol of their inclusion, and now there are oranges on seder plates all over the world, as well as alternative stories about how they got there in the first place. Regardless of its genesis, that orange now makes several subtle spiritual and political statements. For one thing, it represents the creative piety of liberal Jews, who honor tradition by adding new elements to the old. The orange also announces that those on the margins have fully arrived as coauthors of Jewish history, as does the presence of another new ritual item, the Miriam’s Cup, which acknowledges the role of Moses’ sister, the singer-songwriter-prophet, in the story. The orange is a living part of the ancient pedagogic strategy of Passover. We are commanded to teach our children about the Exodus from Egypt in a manner so vivid that everyone at the table—but especially the kids—remembers (not merely imagines but actually remembers) what it feels like to be a hungry, hunted slave. The seder makes memory manifest, tangible, and solid as Grandpa’s kiddush cup. Just like the shank bone, the orange is there so that someone under the age of thirteen will ask, “What’s that thing doing on the seder plate?” The orange is there so that Mom or Dad can say, “I’m so glad you asked that question. The orange is a symbol of the struggle by Jews who used to be ignored by our tradition—like gays and lesbians, and women, and Jews by choice—to become full partners in religious and community life. The orange is a sign of change, too, because now all kinds of Jews are rabbis and cantors and teachers and leaders. And the orange is a mark of our confidence in the Jewish future, which means that someday maybe you too will bring something new to the seder plate.” The orange on the seder plate is both a playful and a reverent symbol of Judaism’s ability to adapt and thrive. It also celebrates the abundant diversity of creation. After all, God, who made the heavens and the earth, and dinosaurs and lemurs and human beings, is clearly a lover of variety and change—not to mention oranges.
Commentary / Readings
Source : Sue Swartz, compiled in Velveteen Rabbi's Haggadah by Rachel Barenblat

For the chief musician, on common instrument: a song of rebellion.

Praise rising up. Praise unlawful assembly.
Praise the road of excess and the palace of wisdom.
Praise glass houses. Praise the hand that cradles the stone.
Praise refusal of obedience. Praise the young on Raamses Street.
Praise Galileo. Praise acceleration.
Praise bombshells and en masse.
Praise sit-down strikes. Praise outside agitators.
Praise Red Emma. Praise her pistol and praise her restraint.
Praise living your life. Praise Joan of Arc.
Praise wayward daughters. Praise their wayward sons.
Praise the power of indulgence.
Praise Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses. Praise the nail
and the printing press. Praise the First Amendment.
Praise free verse. Praise yellow sunflowers.
Praise red wheelbarrows and transcendental leanings.
Praise illicit beauty. Praise the poets of Guantanamo.
Praise the poets of Burma. Praise the noisy streets.
Praise those who tear down walls and climb fences.
Praise Letters from Prison. Praise those who say yes.
Praise the bound notebook and what is within.
Praise Legal Aid attorneys. Praise kitchen-table conspiracies.
Praise insomnia. Praise our hunger. Praise days
we are the bread. Praise farmers’ markets.
Praise Al Gore and quantum physics.
Praise Schrödinger and his cat. Praise jumping in.
Praise talking snakes. Praise history & run-on sentences.
Praise what are the odds? Praise purposeful wandering.
Praise the best minds of any generation. Praise John Brown.
Praise Newt Gingrich. Praise enough is enough.
Praise Walt Whitman and the self. Praise the body’s
wild intelligence. Praise ACT UP and Vagina Monologues.
Praise getting satisfaction. Praise Gertrude Stein.
Praise cross-dressing. Praise untouchables,
partisans and riffraff. Praise slackers. Praise those
who talk back. Praise sympathy for the devil.
Praise the oldest profession. Praise mothers of the disappeared.
Praise mothers of the found. Praise mothers not yet mothers.
Praise not looking away. Praise realists and Cubists.
Praise prohibitionists & remorse. Praise hitting your head
against the wall. Praise giving peace a chance.
Praise Zionist conspiracies. Praise free elections.
Praise Selma, Alabama and early voting. Praise mutiny.
Praise backyard whiskey and those who cook with fire.
Praise Priscilla the Monkey Girl. Praise her admirers.
Praise Freud and Marx and Sinatra. Praise Earhardt.
Praise those who remember what they are told to forget.
Praise agnostics. Praise what we are not supposed to praise.
Praise the electrical storm and the still small voice.
Praise all the proverbs of hell. Praise those
who see it coming. Praise those who do it anyway.
Praise whatever happens next.

Commentary / Readings
Source : AJWS

Written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt

On Passover, Jews are commanded to tell the story of the Exodus and to see ourselves as having lived through that story, so that we may better learn how to live our lives today. The stories we tell our children shape what they believe to be possible—which is why at Passover, we must tell the stories of the women who played a crucial role in the Exodus narrative.

The Book of Exodus, much like the Book of Genesis, opens in pervasive darkness. Genesis describes the earth as “unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep.” In Exodus, darkness attends the accession of a new Pharaoh who feared the Israelites and so enslaved them. God alone lights the way out of the darkness in Genesis. But in Exodus, God has many partners, first among them, five brave women.

There is Yocheved, Moses’ mother, and Shifra and Puah, the famous midwives. Each defies Pharaoh’s decree to kill the Israelite baby boys. And there is Miriam, Moses’ sister, about whom the following midrash is taught: [When Miriam’s only brother was Aaron] she prophesied… “my mother is destined to bear a son who will save Israel.” When [Moses] was born the whole house… filled with light[.] [Miriam’s] father arose and kissed her on the head, saying, “My daughter, your prophecy has been fulfilled.” But when they threw [Moses] into the river her father tapped her on the head saying, “Daughter, where is your prophecy?” So it is written, “And [Miriam] stood afar off to know what would be[come of] the latter part of her prophecy.”

Finally, there is Pharaoh’s daughter Batya, who defies her own father and plucks baby Moses out of the Nile. The Midrash reminds us that Batya knew exactly what she doing: When Pharaoh’s daughter’s handmaidens saw that she intended to rescue Moses, they attempted to dissuade her, and persuade her to heed her father.

They said to her: “Our mistress, it is the way of the world that when a king issues a decree, it is not heeded by the entire world, but his children and the members of his household do observe it, and you wish to transgress your father’s decree?”

But transgress she did.

These women had a vision leading out of the darkness shrouding their world. They were women of action, prepared to defy authority to make their vision a reality bathed in the light of the day. Retelling the heroic stories of Yocheved, Shifra, Puah, Miriam and Batya reminds our daughters that with vision and the courage to act, they can carry forward the tradition those intrepid women launched.

While there is much light in today’s world, there remains in our universe disheartening darkness, inhumanity spawned by ignorance and hate. We see horrific examples in the Middle East, parts of Africa, and Ukraine. The Passover story recalls to all of us—women and men—that with vision and action we can join hands with others of like mind, kindling lights along paths leading out of the terrifying darkness.

Commentary / Readings
Source : Bend the Arc's 50 Years After Selma

By Alicia Garza, Co-Founder of the #BlackLivesMatter

Solidarity is a verb, not an adjective.

Solidarity requires that we act in accordance with our deepest purpose and longings. Much can be learned from a long tradition of radical solidarity between Jewish and Black communities. Today, shifts in our political conditions raise the important question: what are the opportunities for solidarity right now, in an increasingly complicated world where anti-Black racism threatens to erode our legacies?

Within the Jewish community, the increasing prevalence of Black Jewish people from across the diaspora is providing new answers to this question at a time when the fight for Black liberation has again taken center stage. According to the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, a Black person is killed in this country every 28 hours by police, security officers or vigilantes. #BlackLivesMatter challenges us to leverage and activate our legacies of radical solidarity in new ways to eradicate anti-Black racism inside and outside of our communities.

This political moment isn’t just about supporting the liberation of all Black lives—this political moment is about eradicating structural racism so that we can liberate the very humanity of all of us.

Commentary / Readings
Source : Audre Lorde, From Homophobia and Education (New York: Council on Interracial Books for Children, 1983).

I cannot afford the luxury of fighting one form of oppression only. I cannot afford  to believe that freedom from intolerance is the right of only one particular group. And I cannot afford to choose between the fronts upon which I must battle these forces of discrimination, .wherever they appear to destroy me. And when they appear to destroy me, it will not be long before they appear to destroy you.

Commentary / Readings
Source : Yehudah Amichai

Not the peace of a cease-fire,

not even the vision of the wolf and the lamb,

but rather

as in the heart when the excitement is over

and you can talk only about a great weariness.

I know that I know how to kill,

that makes me an adult.

And my son plays with a toy gun that knows

how to open and close its eyes and say Mama.

A peace 

without the big noise of beating swords into ploughshares,

without words, without

the thud of the heavy rubber stamp: let it be

light, floating, like lazy white foam.

A little rest for the wounds—

who speaks of healing?

(And the howl of the orphans is passed from one generation

to the next, as in a relay race:

the baton never falls.)

Let it come 

like wildflowers,

suddenly, because the field

must have it: wildpeace.

Songs
Source : JewishBoston.com
Who knows one?

At some seders, people go around the table reading a question and the answers in one breath. Thirteen is hard!

Who knows one?

I know one.

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows two?

I know two.

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows two?

I know two.

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows four?

I know four.

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows five?

I know five.

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows six?

I know six.

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows seven?

I know seven.

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows eight?

I know eight.

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows nine?

I know nine.

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows ten?

I know ten.

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows eleven?

I know eleven.

Eleven are the stars

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows twelve?

I know twelve.

Twelve are the tribes

Eleven are the stars

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows thirteen?

I know thirteen

Thirteen are the attributes of God

Twelve are the tribes

Eleven are the stars

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Songs
Source : JewishBoston.com

Chad Gadya

חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא

דְזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי

חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא

Chad gadya, chad gadya

Dizabin abah bitrei zuzei

Chad gadya, chad gadya.

One little goat, one little goat:

Which my father brought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The cat came and ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The dog came and bit the cat

That ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The stick came and beat the dog

That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The fire came and burned the stick

That beat the dog that bit the cat

That ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The water came and extinguished the

Fire that burned the stick

That beat the dog that bit the cat

That ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The ox came and drank the water

That extinguished the fire

That burned the stick that beat the dog That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The butcher came and killed the ox,

That drank the water

That extinguished the fire

That burned the stick that beat the dog That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The angle of death came and slew

The butcher who killed the ox,

That drank the water

That extinguished the fire

That burned the stick that beat the dog That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The Holy One, Blessed Be He came and

Smote the angle of death who slew

The butcher who killed the ox,

That drank the water

That extinguished the fire

That burned the stick that beat the dog That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

Songs
Source : Unknown

What happened to the tortoise?
The tortoise, the tortoise
A breadfruit fell on the tortoise
The tortoise, the tortoise

What happened to the breadfruit?
The tortoise, the tortoise
A stake pierced the breadfruit
The tortoise, the tortoise

What happened to the staff?
The tortoise, the tortoise
Termite ate up the staff
The tortoise, the tortoise

What happened to the termite?
The tortoise, the tortoise
A fowl ate the termite
The tortoise, the tortoise

What happened to the fowl?
The tortoise, the tortoise
A kite/hawk carried the fowl
The tortoise, the tortoise

What happened to the kite/hawk?
The tortoise, the tortoise
A gun killed the kite/hawk
The tortoise, the tortoise

What happened to the gun?
The tortoise, the tortoise
Fire burnt the gun
The tortoise, the tortoise

What happened to the fire?
The tortoise, the tortoise
Water quenched the fire
The tortoise, the tortoise

What happened to the water?
The tortoise, the tortoise
The ground soaked up the water
The tortoise, the tortoise

What happened to the ground?
The tortoise, the tortoise
The Lord (Chukwu Abiama) created the ground
The tortoise, the tortoise

What happened to Chukwu Abiama?
The tortoise, the tortoise
Nothing happened to Chukwu Abiama
The tortoise, the tortoise

Songs

And the women dancing with their timbrels followed Miriam as she sang her song.

Sing a song to the One whom we’ve exalted, Miriam and the women danced and danced the whole night long.

And Miriam was a weaver of unique variety, the tapestry she wove was one which sang our history, with every strand and every thread she crafted her delight,

A woman touched with spirit she dances toward the light.

Chorus

And Miriam the prophet took her timbrel in her hand, And all the women followed her just as she had planned, And Miriam raised her voice in song She sang with praise and might, We’ve just lived through a miracle, we’re going to dance tonight.

When Miriam stood upon the shores and gazed across the sea,

the wonder of this miracle she soon came to believe,

whoever thought the sea would part with an outstretched hand,

and we would pass to freedom and march to the Promised Land.

Chorus

And Miriam the prophet took her timbrel in her hand, And all the women followed her just as she had planned, And Miriam raised her voice in song She sang with praise and might, We’ve just lived through a miracle, we’re going to dance tonight.

Songs
Source : Bob Marley

Old pirates, yes, they rob I;
Sold I to the merchant ships,
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit.
But my hand was made strong
By the 'and of the Almighty.
We forward in this generation
Triumphantly.
Won't you help to sing
These songs of freedom? -
'Cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our minds.
Have no fear for atomic energy,
'Cause none of them can stop the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look? Ooh!
Some say it's just a part of it:
We've got to fulfil de book.

Won't you help to sing
These songs of freedom? -
'Cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our mind.
Wo! Have no fear for atomic energy,
'Cause none of them-a can-a stop-a the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look?
Yes, some say it's just a part of it:
We've got to fulfill the book.
Won't you help to sing
These songs of freedom? -
'Cause all I ever had:
Redemption songs -
All I ever had:
Redemption songs:
These songs of freedom,
Songs of freedom.

Songs

Take Us Out of Mitzrayim (Sung to the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game")

Take us out of Mitzrayim,

Free us from slavery

Bake us some matzah in a haste

Don't worry 'bout flavor,

Give no thought to taste.

Oh it's rush, rush, rush, to the Red Sea

If we don't cross it's a shame,

For it's ten plagues,

Down and you're out

At the Pesah history game