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Introduction
Source : In Search of Freedom: A Passover Seder of Darfur © Rabbi Or N. Rose & Tamar Grimm, ajws.org

Opening Song: Go Down Moses (Let My People Go)

"Go Down Moses" is a African American spiritual that uses the Israelite liberation story to give voice to the pain, suffering, and hope of Black slaves in this country. The song was made famous by the great entertainer and activist, Paul Robeson. We have included the chorus and several stanzas below. 

When Israel was in Egypt's land 

Let my people go, 

Oppressed so hard they could not stand 

Let my people go. 

 

Go down, Moses, way down in Egypt's land 

Tell ol' Pharaoh, Let my people go... 

 

The Lord told Moses what to do, 

Let my people go, 

To lead the Hebrew children through, 

Let my people go.  

 

Go down, Moses, way down in Egypt's land 

Tell ol' Pharaoh, Let my people go…

 

We need not always weep and mourn, 

Let my people go, 

And wear these slavery chains forlorn, 

Let my people go. 

 

Go down, Moses, way down in Egypt's land 

Tell ol' Pharaoh, Let my people go. 

 

Kadesh
Source : In Search of Freedom: A Passover Seder of Darfur © Rabbi Or N. Rose & Tamar Grimm, ajws.org

Throughout the seder we will drink four cups of wine or grape juice (a symbol of wholeness—four seasons, four directions). In the Jewish tradition wine symbolizes bounty and joy. Today, we will use each cup as a call to action, knowing that millions of Darfuri men, women, and children are living in distress without the bounty or joy that so many of us experience in our daily lives.  Each time we refill our cups, we recommit ourselves to help improve the lives of all those who suffer from oppression, violence, and degradation. 

As we pour our first cup of wine, we focus on the need to provide humanitarian aid for the millions of genocide survivors who are languishing in displaced persons and refugee camps.  These people are in need of food, shelter, clothing, and medical supplies. On each table you will find a collection bowl.  In the spirit of this interfaith gathering, we encourage you to donate to one or more of the following humanitarian organizations active in Darfur: American Jewish World Service (www.ajws.org), Church World Service (www.cws.org), and Islamic Relief USA (www.irw.org). 

Karpas
Source : In Search of Freedom: A Passover Seder of Darfur © Rabbi Or N. Rose & Tamar Grimm, ajws.org

Long before the struggle upward begins, 

There is a tremor in the seed. 

Self-protection cracks, 

Roots reach down and grab hold. 

The seed swells, and tender shoots push up toward light. 

This is karpas (the green vegetable): Spring awakening growth. 

A force so tough it can break stone. 

And why do we dip karpas into saltwater—to remember the sweat and tears of our 

ancestors in bondage. 

-The Journey Continues: The Ma’yan Haggadah 

We pray that the people of Darfur will soon enjoy a new season of growth and prosperity, guided by the healing lights of justice and equality.   

We dip the parsley in the saltwater, recite a blessing, and eat the greens. 

Blessed are You Eternal One, Sovereign of the World, Who creates the fruit of the earth.  

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech Ha-olam, Borei p'ri ha-adamah

Maggid - Beginning
Source : In Search of Freedom: A Passover Seder of Darfur © Rabbi Or N. Rose & Tamar Grimm, ajws.org

The Genocide Intervention Network (GI-Net) has created a powerful and accessible activist tool called 1-800-Genocide.  When you dial this number, you will be connected to the offices of your state or national representatives or to The White House (Note: The White House does not accept calls after business hours). GI-Net also provides you with updated talking points so that you can urge your elected officials to take meaningful action to help end the genocide in Darfur.   Moses had his staff; we have our cell phones!     

Please have one person at your table make a call, using the speaker feature so that others can participate in the experience. 

Upon completion of the call, we fill our cups, recite a blessing, and drink the second cup.  

Blessed are You Eternal One, Sovereign of the world, Who creates the fruit of the vine.  

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech Ha-olam, Borei p'ri ha-gafen.

Koreich
Source : In Search of Freedom: A Passover Seder of Darfur © Rabbi Or N. Rose & Tamar Grimm, ajws.org

Witness to Destruction

What I found most powerful on that trip was a story that I heard from several people in hiding about their struggle to find drinkable water. When men would go to the wells the Janjaweed would shoot them; when women would go to the wells the Janjaweed would rape them.  So they decided to send their young children, ages 6 or 7, to fetch water, hoping that the Janjaweed would ignore them.  It made me wonder what I would do as a parent of three young children—would I send my kids to these wells knowing they would be met by gunmen… but if I didn’t send them, how would we get water?  To this day, I do not have a clear answer.

-Nicholas Kristof   

Matzah, also known as the “bread of affliction,” leaves our mouths dry and parched.  But rather than quench our thirst with water we taste the bitter herbs (maror), remembering the pain and anguish of our ancestors in Egypt and all those who suffer under the tyranny of contemporary Pharaohs.  

We place a small amount of horseradish on the matzah, recite a blessing, and eat the matzah. 

Blessed are You Eternal One, Sovereign of the world, Who brings forth bread from the earth.  

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech Ha-olam, Ha-mozi lekhem min ha-aretz.  

Bareich
Source : In Search of Freedom: A Passover Seder of Darfur © Rabbi Or N. Rose & Tamar Grimm, ajws.org

One of the hallmarks of the seder is the welcoming of Elijah the prophet into our homes for the latter part of the evening.  Why Elijah?  Because according to biblical and rabbinic lore, it is Elijah who will herald the coming of the messiah.  It is Elijah who will announce to the world that the ongoing struggle for liberation and justice has finally come to an end, and that lasting freedom and peace are upon us.   

As we begin to wind down the ritual meal, we call on Elijah to help us move closer to redemption.  It is customary at the sederto open the door for the prophet, greet him with song, and fill a cup of wine for him.  This cup of wine is not drunk like the other four cups, but is left on the table as a sign of hope for the future. 

While in most homes, the seder leader fills Elijah’s cup from a bottle of wine, the Hasidic sage, Rabbi Naftali Tzvi Horowitz, insisted that every participant around the table pour some wine from his/her glass into the special cup of redemption.  This symbolizes the need for each and every one of us to participate in the healing and transformation of the world. 

At this time, we invite you to help fill the cup of Elijah at your table.  As you do so, please share with the others one way in which you are going to use your unique talents and skills to help end the genocide in Darfur.  

Hallel
Source : In Search of Freedom: A Passover Seder of Darfur © Rabbi Or N. Rose & Tamar Grimm, ajws.org

As we pour our fourth cup of wine, we focus on the need to raise awareness about the ongoing crisis in Darfur. Please take a moment to think of five people you can speak to about the genocide in Western Sudan, sharing with them information about local and national events, and action steps they can take both individually and communally.  

After completing this brief exercise, we fill our cups, recite a blessing, and drink the fourth cup of wine. 

Blessed are You Eternal One, Sovereign of the world, Who creates the fruit of the vine.  

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech Ha-olam, Borei p'ri ha-gafen

Nirtzah
Source : In Search of Freedom: A Passover Seder of Darfur © Rabbi Or N. Rose & Tamar Grimm, ajws.org

The Passover seder traditionally concludes with the words “Next Year in Jerusalem,” 

representing the age-old hope for the coming of the Messiah, the ingathering of the Jewish people in their homeland, and peace among the nations.   

In this spirit, we conclude our seder with the words, 

Next Year Without Genocide! 

Commentary / Readings
Source : In Search of Freedom: A Passover Seder of Darfur © Rabbi Or N. Rose & Tamar Grimm, ajws.org

A Prayer for the People of Darfur

By Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks

O God of peace, who commands us to seek peace, send peace to the people of Darfur. 

O God of compassion, who hears the cry of the afflicted, hear the cry of the victims, the bereaved, the injured, and all those who live their days in fear. 

Rouse the hearts of the leaders of the world to put an end to the bloodshed, the violence, the rape, the starvation, and the terror that has ravaged and endangered an entire population. 

Be with those who are working for peace, or tending the sick, or bringing food to the hungry, or shelter to the homeless, or hope to those who are close to despair. 

O God of justice and love, let us not be indifferent to the cry of the persecuted and the tears of those who have seen their homes, their families, and their communities destroyed. 

And may their plea and their plight reach the ears and hearts of those who have it in their power to bring peace to a troubled region and aid to a devastated people. 

Oseh shalom bimromav—may You who makes peace in Your high places help us make peace down here on earth.