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by K S
Source :

As we light the candles and welcome the glow of Passover into our homes, we pray that all those suffering around the world find light in the darkness. We pray that our experience tonight helps us to ignite the spark of justice within each of us. We pray that we have the strength to carry forth this light into the world, creating a beautiful and bold flame that inspires others to work by our sides to pursue freedom and justice for all people.

Source : Laura & Salty Femme Haggadah
The  (Crowded) Vegan Seder Plate

The Seder Plate holds elements of the Seder story. This vegan Seder plate removes animal products, and adds the orange ensuring a space for women at this table.

  • Zeroa - for some a 'roasted bone', but on our plate a roasted beet that represents the Passover sacrifice offered while the Temple stood in Jerusalem (before 70 CE)
  • Beitza - for some a roasted egg, but for on our plate it is an avacado seed (or olives) representing both the Passover offering and the cycle of life and death.
  • Maror - A bitter herb (horseradish), which reminds us of the bitterness of enslavement.
  • Charoset - A mixture of fruit, nuts, wine and spices, which represents the mortar our ancestors used to build the structures in Mitzrayim (Egypt)
  • Karpas - A green vegetable (beet greens), which symbolizes hope and renewal.
  • Chazeret - A second bitter vegetable (parsley), again reminding us of the harshness of slavery
  • Orange - acknowledging the role of women in Jewish myths, community and society overall
  • Olive - For slavery to be truly over, for a people to be truly free, we must know that we can feed ourselves and our children, today, tomorrow, and into the following generations. In the lands of Israel and Palestine, olive groves provide this security. When olive groves are destroyed, the past and future is destroyed. Without economic security, a people can much more easily be conquered, or enslaved.
Source : Freedom and Justice Seder 2012/5768

Source: The Freedom Haggadah (Jewish Council on Urban Affairs & Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Congregation)

Passover celebrates the redemption of the Jews from enslavement in Egypt. This
traditional story of defiance against brutality and slavery has inspired countless men and
women to achieve freedom in our own times.
As the haggadah says, “B'khol dor v’dor chayav adam lirot et atzmo k’ilu hu yatza
mi’Mitzrayim,” – “from generation to generation, each of us is obligated to see ourselves
as though we personally had just been freed from slavery.” We must remember the past
to understand today and to protect our tomorrows.
Therefore, in each generation and each year, we retell the story of the exodus to our
children and to our grandchildren, in order that they, too, will understand the pain of
slavery and the value of freedom.
Our story is the story of all people who have ever been in bondage, and this story
compels us to work toward freedom for those who remain physically, spiritually, or
economically enslaved.i
Let us therefore celebrate our freedom and strengthen ourselves to join the fight against
injustice wherever it exists. In the words of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable
network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”ii
Please keep Dr. King’s words in mind as we go throughout our Seder. Our theme for the
night is justice for all, and we will reflect on the different ways in which we can work for a
more just city.

Source : Freedom and Justice Seder 2012/5768

This blessing is said whenever we do something for the first time or for the first time in a
while. Tonight is the first time this particular group has gathered together in community
to celebrate Pesach. Now is also a great time to welcome everyone who is at their first Seder!

Opening Prayer

All read the bold text together

Long ago at this season, our people set out on a journey.
On such a night as this, Israel went from degradation to joy.
We give thanks for the liberation of days gone by.
And we pray for all who are still bound.
Eternal God, may all who hunger come to rejoice in a new Passover.
Let all the human family sit at Your table, drink the wine of deliverance, eat the
bread of freedom:

Freedom from bondage/ and freedom from oppression
Freedom from hunger/ and freedom from want
Freedom from hatred/ and freedom from fear
Freedom to think/ and freedom to speak
Freedom to teach/ and freedom to learn
Freedom to love/ and freedom to share
Freedom to hope/ and freedom to rejoice
Soon, in our days/ Amen.iii

Source : Freedom and Justice Seder 2012/5768
Kadesh - Introduction

Four Cups, Four Promises

We drink four cups of wine during the Seder, each of which may be focused on a different intention. Traditionally, the four cups of wine are said to symbolize the four promises that God makes to the Israelites before redeeming them from slavery: Hotzeiti--“I will bring you forth from slavery.” Hitzalti—“I will save you.” Ga’alti-“I will redeem you.” Lakachti—“I will take you to me as a people.”iv

With each cup we move forward from slavery and oppression to freedom. These four promises remind us that the process of redemption is long and complex. It is not enough to be rescued from physical slavery. Redemption also entails relief from psychological bondage and the opportunity to live a full and rewarding spiritual life. As the Seder keeps the memory of our enslavement fresh in our hearts, we remind ourselves never to ignore the suffering of others, and never to stand idly by as others are oppressed. Tonight our four cups of wine will be dedicated to the ongoing struggle for freedom and justice, in the arenas of food justice, housing justice, economic justice, and immigrant justice.

Source : Freedom and Justice Seder 2012/5768
Kadesh The First Cup – FOOD JUSTICE

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

Recite the blessing over the wine.

The issue of food justice pertains to whether one can access food but more specifically, whether healthful foods are available to individuals and communities. Food deserts are not necessarily referring to an absence of food vendors in a community, but rather the
inaccessibility of fresh and unprocessed foods within the designated area.

The effects of food deserts disproportionately affect individuals who do not have the transportation or financial
resources necessary for travel to purchase fresh and perishable foods and as a result, disproportionately impact low income families and communities.vii

In DC specifically

  • One in seven D.C. households is struggling against hunger, with 14.5% of the residents being food insecure (DC Hunger Solutions, n.d.; Capital Area Food Bank, 2015).
  • DC Hunger Solutions (n.d.) estimates that 4.9% of that population suffers from very low food insecurity.

Who here at the table has groups that work with the hungry and food insecure in DC, MD, or VA they'd like to share?

Source : Freedom and Justice Seder 2012/5768
Urchatz - Washing Away What We Carry

Using the small bowl and the cup provided we pour fresh water over our hands.. washing them

In washing our hands, we symbolically cleanse ourselves of the year that was and prepare for the year to come. Let us now think of one part of last year we would like to leave behind, and one hope for the year to come. Let us also take a moment to think about the brave individuals who stand and fight those in power.


At this point in the Seder, it is traditional to eat a green vegetable dipped in saltwater. The green vegetable represents rebirth, renewal and growth; the saltwater represents the tears of enslavement. When everyone has a green vegetable dipped in salt water, we say

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh Ha’Olam borei p’ri ha’adamah.
Blessed is the One who sustains all life, and brings forth fruits from the earth.

from the #BlackLivesMatter supplement: Dipping the karpas is a sign of luxury and freedom. The saltwater represents the tears of our ancestors in Mitzrayim. 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.

Source : love and justice Haggadah by salty femmeFreedom and Justice Seder 2012/5768

Take the three matzot and break the middle one in 2 pieces Place the smaller piece of matzah between the two whole matzot. This small piece is called the lechem oni, the bread of affliction. Place the larger half, known as the Afikomen, in a large cloth or napkin, and set it aside. This will require 2 readers

Uncover the matzah and raise it for all to see.

Reader 1: Some do not get the chance to rise and spread out like golden loaves of challah, filled with sweet raisins and crowned with shiny braids.

Reader 2: Rushed, neglected, not kneaded by caring hands, we grow up afraid that any touch may cause a break. There are some ingredients we never receive.

Reader 1: Tonight, let us bless our cracked surfaces and sharp edges, unafraid to see our brittleness and brave enough to see our beauty.

Reader 2: Reaching for wholeness, let us piece together the parts of ourselves we have found, and honor all that is still hidden.

The breaking of the matzah reflects the words of the Chassidic Kotzker Rebbe: There is nothing more whole than a broken heart. If your own suffering does not serve to unite you with the suffering of others, if your own imprisonment does not join you with others in prison, if you in your smallness remain alone, then your pain will have been for naught.

Maggid - Beginning

Maggid, the heart of the Haggadah and the Seder, is the mitzvah or commandment to tell the Passover story as if we had experienced it ourselves. The unique ability given to humanity is the power of speech. Speech is the tool of building and construction. On Passover, speech is used to “build” humanity by communicating, connecting and encouraging each other. In our modern experience, slavery is a life where communication and personal connections are restricted.
On Passover, we get together to share stories [personal and communal, historical and modern] of the struggle to freedom and of our own lives. We also acknowledge the plight of others who are not yet free. Who would you encourage? Who do you know (or what group do you know) who are still not free?

Maggid - Beginning
Source : Freedom and Justice Seder 2012/5768

Recite the blessing over the wine.

Homelessness in DC

The District of Columbia has experienced a significant increase in homelessness and poverty in the last few years as evidenced by the following:

-- Four Questions
Source : Freedom and Justice Seder 2012/5768

Reader:  In the Seder, it is traditional that the youngest child who is able to ask recites the four questions. While we include the youngest to engage them, they also engage us. The “whys” of the innocent compel us to answer truthfully, not only about past injustices but about the inhumanity and inequity in our own world as well.

During Maggid every year, we retell and teach to our children the story of our freedom and the fulfillment of promises made to the Jewish people. In remembering our own liberation, we commit to work toward the liberation of those who remain oppressed.

Find the youngest attendee(s) to recite:

Mah nishtanah ha-lahylah ha-zeh mi-kol ha-layloht, mi-kol ha-layloht?
Why is this night different from all other nights, from all other nights?
She-b'khol ha-layloht anu okhlin chameytz u-matzah, chameytz u-matzah. Halahylah
ha-zeh, ha-lahylah ha-zeh, kooloh matzah.

On all other nights, we may eat chametz and matzah, chametz and matzah. On this
night, on this night, only matzah.

Reader: When we were slaves in Egypt, our mothers in their flight from bondage in Egypt did
not have time to let the dough rise. In memory of this, we eat only matzah, not
bread, during Passover. We remember those who make our bread. This matzah
represents our rush to freedom. We remember those who have been forced from
their homes.

She-b'khol ha-layloht anu okhlin sh'ar y'rakot, sh'ar y'rakot. Ha-lahylah ha-zeh,
ha-lahylah ha-zeh, maror.

On all other nights, we eat many vegetables, many vegetables. On this night, on this
night, maror.

Reader: We eat maror, the bitter herbs, to remind us how bitter our ancestors' lives were
made by their enslavement in Egypt. We remember workers who face workplace
abuses and indignities. We eat the bitter herbs to make us mindful of the bitter
struggle that so many immigrants face today, and in solidarity commit to ending
these injustices.

She-b'khol ha-layloht ayn anu mat'bilin afilu pa'am echat, afilu pa'am echat.
Ha-lahylah ha-zeh, ha-lahylah ha-zeh, sh'tay p'amim.

On all other nights, we do not dip even once. On this night, on this night, twice.

Reader:  The first time, we dip our greens in salt water to taste the bitterness of enslavement.
We also dip to remind ourselves of all life and growth, of earth and sea, which gives
us sustenance and comes to life again in springtime. The second time, we dip the
maror into the charoset. The charoset reminds us of the mortar that our ancestors
mixed as slaves in Egypt, just as today, immigrants work in unsafe conditions for
unjust wages. Our charoset is made from fruit and nuts, to show us that our
ancestors were able to withstand the bitterness of slavery because it was sweetened
by the hope of freedom. It is this shared hope that unites us here today.

She-b'khol ha-layloht anu okhlin bayn yosh'bin u'vayn m'soobin, bayn
yosh'bin u'vayn m'soobin. Ha-lahylah ha-zeh, ha-lahylah ha-zeh, koolanu

On all other nights, we eat either sitting or reclining, either sitting or reclining. On this
night, on this night, we all recline.

Reader: Avadot hayinu. We were slaves. Long ago, the wealthy Romans rested on couches
during their feasts. Slaves were not allowed to rest, even while they ate. We recline
today as a celebration of our freedom and to remind ourselves that we, like our
ancestors, can overcome bondage in our own time. We recline to remind ourselves
that rest and rejuvenation are vital to continuing our struggles for freedom in a world
where many are still enslaved. But the next day we get back up and continue the
struggle for justice.

From #BlackLivesMatter supplement:

We ask that this year you consider what it means to recline when so many are not yet free from oppression. This is not a simple question, and so there is no simple answer. In solidarity, you may choose not to recline. Or perhaps we can rest tonight in order to let go of the weight of our fears — our fear of others; of being visible as Jews; of committing to work outside of what is familiar and comfortable — so that we may lean into struggle tomorrow.

To Consider- An Excerpt from Rabbi Arthur Waskow’s “The Freedom Seder”
“But these are not the only questions we could ask. Any question is a way in. And
every question is an act of freedom. So let us ask new questions, our own

-- Four Children

The Seder story tells of four types of young people or four ways that young people respond to the story of our struggle for freedom and unity.

One response reflects wisdom, expressing a real concern and interest. This interest inspires us to tell our stories, fully and openly.

Another response is to be rejecting and disrespectful, to say, "What does this have to do with me?" This disrespect provokes us to confront the person with the destructiveness of his/her response, how it just continues the cycle of hatred and prejudice.

A third response is a "simple" one, puzzled but interested, "What is this all about?" This response is best answered by a simple straight-forward statement of our goal: mutual respect and harmony among people of different colors, religions, and ethnic
backgrounds, and by a "simple" story of our efforts to achieve this goal.

A fourth type of response is one of total lack of awareness, of not even knowing that all of this effort is going on. ln the face of this complete lack of awareness, we need to take the first step, patiently opening up the issue of inter-group conflict and the struggle for justice.

Now is the time for us to share our stories, to reach out to each other through our own words and the words of our peoples' poets and writers, [prophets and leaders].

-- Exodus Story
Source : Freedom and Justice Seder 2012/5768
The Passover Story

Passover celebrates the redemption of the Jewish people. According to the biblical story, the Jews served as slaves in Egypt, where they built storehouses and palaces for Pharaoh. Pharaoh made their lives miserable by setting strict taskmasters over them and by decreeing that all newborn Jewish boys be killed.
Through Moses, a son of an Israelite slave raised by Pharaoh’s daughter, God redeemed the Jewish people from slavery and led them through the wilderness for forty years on the way to the Promised Land.
To many, the biblical story of Passover today represents all liberation struggles, past and present. Every year at the Seder table, as we tell the ancient story, we also remember the liberation struggles still under way and commit ourselves to these

To Consider- Exodus / 2:23-25 שְׁמוֹת
The children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried,
And their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage.
And God heard their groaning, and God remembered the covenant
With Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
And God saw the children of Israel,
And God took cognizance of them.

How do we apply the idea of a covenant to our modern society? What does it mean that first God heard and then remembered; saw the children of Israel and only then became aware of them?

There is a link between hearing and remembering, seeing and knowing. Tonight, let us listen to each other’s stories of immigration and remember our historical journeys to be free. Let us look around at this diverse, multifaith community gathered for the Seder and know our current covenant, our responsibilities, to ourselves and to each other, to
ensure our entire community is free.

God's concern for justice grows out of His compassion for man. The prophets do not speak of a divine relationship to an absolute principle or idea, called justice. They are intoxicated with the awareness of God's relationship to His people and to all men. Justice is not important for its own sake; the validity of justice and the motivation for its exercise lie in the blessings it brings to man. For justice, as stated above, is not an abstraction, but a value. Justice exists in relation to a person, and is something done by a person. An act of injustice is condemned, not because the law is broken, but because a person has been hurt. What is the image of a person? A person is a being whose anguish may reach the heart of God. “You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. If you do afflict them, and they cry out to Me, I will surely hear their cry. . . If he cries out to Me, I will hear,
for I am compassionate.” (Exodus 22:22-23, 27).

When Cain murdered his brother Abel, the words denouncing his crime did not proclaim:
“You have broken the law.” Instead, we read, “And. . . the Lord said: What have you done?
The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.” (Genesis 4:10)

Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) was one of the greatest Jewish theologians and activists of the 20th century. A professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and author of numerous books and articles, he was deeply involved in the civil rights struggles of the 1960s. A famous photo (shown left) captures Heschel walking arm-in-arm with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the civil
rights march in Selma, Alabama.

Their work for civil rights and social justice strengthened the connection between the Jewish and African American Communities. Remembering the story of the Jewish people and past struggles to overcome oppression, Abraham Heschel and other Jewish leaders recognized their obligation to be aware of others and their ongoing struggles for
It is in this same way, that we remembering the compassion shown to us by God in the
Passover Story, we commit to work for a more just world, free from all forms of captivity.

To Consider-
While the Temple stood in Jerusalem (before 70 CE), Jews celebrated Passover by slaughtering, roasting and eating a lamb. This ritual served as a reminder of the night before the exodus from Egypt when, according to the Torah, the Israelites slaughtered and ate lambs and spread the blood of these lambs on their doorposts as a sign to God not to slaughter the firstborn sons in these homes.
The lamb eaten during Temple times was to be consumed completely. As most families were not large enough to finish an entire animal by themselves, families would join together and share a lamb. This ritual thus emphasized the need for community – no individual or family could celebrate Passover alone, but rather needed other families to
make their celebrations complete. Similarly, we celebrate Passover by coming together in community, sharing stories and traditions and committing ourselves, as a community, to working toward liberation for all who are oppressed.

This year parts of the #blacklivesmatter supplement will be incorporated into the Haggadah as part of that continuing work, committing ourselves to end oppressions.

-- Ten Plagues
The Ten Plagues

As we recite each plague, we dip a finger in our wineglass and spill out one drop
of wine, thereby acknowledging that our own joy is diminished by the memory of
Egyptian suffering.

When Moses first approached Pharaoh to request that the Israelites be set free,
Pharaoh refused, saying that he did not recognize the God of the Jewish people. God
responded by sending a series of ten plagues. After each of these, Moses again asked
Pharaoh to free the people, and each time Pharaoh refused—or agreed, only for God to
harden his heart. Finally, after the tenth and worst plague – the killing of the first-born
sons of Egypt– Pharaoh let the Israelites go.
Even as we are grateful for our freedom, we are pained by the knowledge that our
freedom came from the suffering of the Egyptian people. The tradition reminds us that
whenever people are oppressed, the oppressors suffer as well.

Blood | dam |דָּם

Frogs | tzfardeiya |צְפַרְדֵּֽעַ

Lice | kinim |כִּנִּים

Beasts | arov |עָרוֹב

Cattle disease | dever |דֶּֽבֶר

Boils | sh’chin |שְׁחִין

Hail | barad |בָּרָד

Locusts | arbeh |אַרְבֶּה

Darkness | choshech |חֹֽשֶׁךְ

Death of the Firstborn | makat b’chorot |מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת

Contemporary Plagues
Please take this time to think of a modern plague with the people at
your table. There are note cards on the table to write it down and each
table’s will be read aloud.

We remember the suffering of the Egyptians during each of the ten plagues. At this
time we acknowledge the modern issues that continue to plague our society and cause
suffering. As we remember these plagues, we remember those who continue to suffer.

Source : Freedom and Justice Seder 2012/5768

In Jewish practice, it is customary to perform a ritual washing of one’s hands before
consuming a meal that includes bread or matzah. We wash away the dirt of prejudices
and negative stereotypes of "other people" which cause so much hurt and pain in
our world.xix

After we wash our hands, we recite the blessing:

בָּ רוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדַיִם

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha’Olam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav
v’tzivanu al n’tilat yadayim.

Blessed are you, Sovereign of the Universe, who has sanctified us with your
commandments and commanded us to wash our hands.


On the one hand, the matzah reminds us of our slavery in Egypt. For this reason, matzah is called “lechem oni” “the bread of our affliction.” At the same time, the matzah reminds us of our liberation, for it was only at the moment of escape from slavery that our ancestors baked matzah to bring with them on their journey.

In symbolizing both oppression and liberation, the matzah reminds us to celebrate our
liberation, and to continue fighting the oppression that remains.
We each break off a piece of matzah and together recite:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַמּוֹצִיא לֶחֶם מִן הָאָרֶץ

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Ha’Olam hamotzi lechem min ha’aretz.
Blessed are you, Sovereign of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מַצָּה

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha’Olam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav
v’tzivanu al achilat matzah.

Blessed are you, Sovereign of the Universe, who has sanctified us with your
commandments and commanded us to eat matzah.

Source : Jewish Council on Urban Affairs Justice and Freedom Seder 2008/5768

We take a piece of the bitter herb from the Seder plate and
prepare to eat it.
This is a reminder of the bitterness of slavery. As we eat the
maror, let us remember the bitterness that many immigrants still

We say together:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל אֲכִילַ ת מָרוֹר.

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha’Olam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotavv’tzivanu al achilat maror.
Blessed are you, Sovereign of the Universe, who has sanctified us with your
commandments and commanded us to eat maror.

To Consider- Rabbenu Asher, Pesachim 2:19 (from the Talmud)
Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachmani said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan, “Why is Egypt
compared to Maror?” Like Egypt at first it is soft, but in the end it is hard. Similarly, the
Egyptians first acted softly, but in the end were hard. In the beginning, they dealt gently
with the Israelites, but in the end, they imposed hard labor on them.

Source : Jewish Council on Urban Affairs Justice and Freedom Seder 2008/5768

The charoset reminds us of the mortar and of the pain of slavery. However, as we eat it
we taste it’s sweetness. This sweetness gives us hope that the future will bring
redemption and justice to all people.
We make sandwiches out of maror and charoset, to remind us of the mortar our
ancestors used to construct huge monuments for Pharaoh in Egypt.

As you we eat this sandwich, we consider the signs of hope for a more just future that
can be seen in your community.

Source : Jewish Council on Urban Affairs Justice and Freedom Seder 2008/5768

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָפֶן

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech Ha-olam boreh p’ri ha-gafen.
Blessed is the Source, who fills all creation and brings forth the fruit of the vine.

The United States current immigration system is broken.  We first started discussing this cup as an issue of immigant justice far before the current administration - even then we discussed individuals detained, and the state of their imprisonment.

To Consider-
Political theorists and post-modern scholars of the immigration experience invite us to place ourselves “actively” in the role of the exile, to empathize with the marginalized, to think like the refugee. This is not a new idea. In fact, through this interactive, ritual retelling of our ancient enslavement and exile that Jews are commanded to experience each year, we reaffirm our commitment to remember
not only our own past, but to place ourselves in the shoes of The Stranger and to fight for justice for all people who have been excluded, expatriated or expelled

Tying Immigration Justice to Prison Justice to Food Justice

Roughly half of U.S. farm workers are undocumented immigrants.
Source: "Cultivating Fear: The Vulnerability of Immigrant Farmworkers in the US to Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment," by Human Rights Watch.

The Justice Department has prosecuted seven cases of slavery since 1997, liberating over 1,000 farm workers from forced labor, according to Holly Burkhalter of the International Justice Mission.

Though three in 10 farm worker families earn wages below the federal poverty line, over the previous two years only 15 percent reported using Medicaid, 11 percent used the federal Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, and just 8 percent used food stamps.
Source: "At the Company's Mercy: Protecting Contingent Workers From Unsafe Working Conditions," by the Center for Progressive

Source : Jewish Council on Urban Affairs Justice and Freedom Seder 2012

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָפֶן

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech Ha-olam boreh p’ri ha-gafen.
Blessed is the Source, who fills all creation and brings forth the fruit of the vine.

With the ongoing national economic struggles, many have become more aware of existing economic inequalities. Maryland just passed laws to move to a minimum wage of $15 but it will be implemented over a series of years (by 2025).

Elijah’s Cup
At this point in the Seder, we open the doors to welcome Elijah the Prophet. This special cup of wine is for Eliyahu Hanavi, Elijah the Prophet, a friend of the poor and the oppressed. According to tradition, Elijah appears as a poor man to see if he will be accepted and well-treated. This cup reminds us to make a commitment to open our homes and our time to those who are in need.

Miriam’s Cup

We find a second cup filled with water, in honor of Miriam, Moses’ sister. According to midrash (rabbinic legend), as long as Miriam was alive, a well of water followed the Israelites through the wilderness. In the biblical story of the exodus, after the people have safely crossed the Sea of Reeds, Miriam leads the women in songs of praise.

According to the midrash, Sh’mot Rabbah 1:12,
it was “by the merit of the women” that the Jews
were redeemed from slavery in Egypt. Pharaoh
decreed that the Israelite men should sleep in
the fields and not at home. With this law,
Pharaoh hoped both to increase the slaves’
productivity (by eliminating commuting time) and
to stop the Jews from procreating.

However, the midrash says that the women used
to go out to the fields at night, seduce their
husbands, and become pregnant. The women
would then give birth secretly and hide the
babies from the Egyptians. In the Bible, women such as the midwives Shifra and Puah, and Moses’ mother and sister, Yocheved and
Miriam, play crucial roles in defying Pharaoh’s orders to kill all newborn Jewish boys.
With Miriam’s Cup, we celebrate women’s past and present leadership in social justice
movements and rededicate ourselves to working toward the liberation of all women.

Eliyahu haNavi / Miriam haNeviyah
All sing
Elijah the prophet, come soon to us, heralding the messianic era.
Miriam the prophet, strength and song in her hand
Dance with us to increase worldly song
Dance with us to fix the world
She will soon bring us to the waters of redemption

Shulchan Oreich
Shulchan Orech

As you eat, some food for thought:
As we prepare to enjoy the Passover meal, we take a moment to celebrate a recent
victory. During the meal, we welcome you to discuss any of these readings or on the
themes of struggle and freedom.

Source : By Lauren Plattman and Leslie Klein. Adapted by Brandi Ullian.
Where's the Afikomen?

Tzafun, which literally means “hidden,” is the part of the Seder where we seek what is not obvious, when we look for something other than what is in front of our faces. It is also when we return to that which was broken earlier in the evening and make it meaningful. In this way, Tzafun serves as the organizing principle of the second half of our Seder, where we ask ourselves what world we want to see, when we commit ourselves to making our vision real.

Searching and finding the matzoh is a tradition for the children to search for and find the afikomen, and when they do, they are given a reward by the adults. The act of leaving the table and searching for the matzoh represents the Israelites coming out of Egypt and searching for freedom; the finding of the afikomen in exchange for a prize represents finding redemption and, in exchange, receiving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.

Searching for the afikomen is also a very spiritual part of the Seder. In contrast with the strict order of the preparation and dinner, we can go and search for the afikomen without any rules or regulations. (Well, some rules: no tipping furniture, going in bedrooms or breaking anything!) It is up to us as individuals -- or a group -- to find the afikomen, relying only on our instincts and faith that we will achieve our goal.

[Leader: Collect the afikomen and distribute pieces to all guests.]

Leader says: "Afikomen" means "dessert."  In ancient times, the paschal lamb was the last food to be eaten. It its place, we now partake in this piece of Afikomen, with which our meal is completed. 

[Everyone: Eat the piece of matzoh.]


We offer thanks for the communal meal


At this point in the Seder, “we give thanks,” offering songs and words of joy at our
liberation. Even as we remember how much work there is to do, we celebrate the
accomplishments of the past year.
פִּ תְחוּ לִי שַׁעֲרֵי צֶדֶק, אָבאֹ בָם
Open for me the gates of righteousness, and I will enter therein.

(Psalms 118:19, included in the traditional Hallel liturgy)

Source : Jewish Council on Urban Affairs Justice and Freedom Seder 2012

In the words of the Ramban (Rabbi Moshe Ben Nachman, 1194-1270), “Since God will
not perform this sign or miracle in every generation to refute the evil sinner or rebel, we
are commanded to make a continuous remembrance and sign to that which our eyes
have seen, and to impart it to our children and children's children... to the last
From the order of the service, to the symbolic Seder plate, to the ritual retelling of
the flight from Egypt, to the taste of the foods, the sounds of the prayers and songs on
our lips and in our ears –the Seder sets the stage for active remembering that is
embedded in the consciousness of every Jew not only on this day but every day.
Tonight, our guests have brought the stories of their immigration and their struggle to
the Seder table.
Let all that we have seen and heard and tasted and shared stay with us until we meet
again next year.
And, as we place ourselves in the role of the Stranger and the outsider, let us pledge
not only to remember but to remedy…
Our Seder is now completed, but our work is not. This year, we celebrate
Passover in a city and a world in which many are still oppressed. L’SHANA
HA’BA’A B’YERUSHALAYIM – next year in Jerusalem!

Next year, may we celebrate Passover in
a world that is more just and righteous!

Commentary / Readings

i Adapted from the Camp Kinderland 2003 Hagaddah.
ii “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., April 16, 1963.
iii From Velveteen Rabbi’s “Hagaddah for Pesach,” Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, 2001.
iv Exodus 6:6-7
v Mari Gallagher Research and Consulting Group, 2006.
vi Mari Gallagher Research and Consulting Group, 2011.
vii Farm to Food Desert- Chicago Reader, Topher Gray, August 19, 2010.
viii U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, 2012.
ix The Velveteen Rabbi’s Haggadah for Passover
x Council for Unity Passover Lesson Plan, the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, New
xi Adapted from The Shalom Center Haggadah, Pesach 2004
xii DePaul University 2010.
xiii Council for Unity Passover Lesson Plan, the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, New
xiv Immigrant Rights Freedom Seder Haggadah, Jewish Community Action, 2010.

xvi Ibid.
xvii Ibid.
xviii “The Four Types of Young People,” Unity Seder Haggadah, the Jewish Board of Family and
Children's Services, New York, 1997.
xix “Hand Washing,” Unity Seder Haggadah, The Jewish Boar of Family and Children’s Services, New
York, 1997
xx Rabbi Moshe Ben Nachman, Shemot 13:16.