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Introduction
Source : Bevin

Welcome to our seder! We are doing this to create hope and connection so everyone here can feel more uplifted to change the world... 

Introduction

The idea for the Freedom Seder was hatched 51 years ago, and took place in Washington DC, eight days after the assasination of Dr. Martin Luther King. People in the city were rebeling, and a Jewish man and civil rights activist named Arthur Waskow was deeply affected by the military presence in the city brought on by the violence. A year later, he wrote is own Haggadah, and over 800 Washingtonians, black, white, jewish and christian, came together in a church for a solidarity gathering seder with his Haggadah. 

From a Washpo article about the event:

The huge crowd in 1969 sat at long tables in front of candles and matzah. They read from Waskow’s book, which invoked nuclear disarmament and police brutality as modern problems in need of solutions alongside the traditional “Dayenu” recitation of ancient problems that God solved, and listed King and Gandhi as “prophets” alongside Elijah. The worshipers raised their wine glasses and proclaimed not “L’chaim” but “Liberation now!” and sang a hymn common to black Christians and to Jews: “Go Down, Moses.”

Today we have gathered friends in the name of freedom and solidarity, rememberance of our ancestors to share a communal seder and meal and ask ourselves and our beloved guests.... 

What does freedom mean to you in 2019? 

Introduction

The Seder Plate

We place a Seder Plate at our table as a reminder to discuss certain aspects of the Passover story. Each item has its own significance.

Maror – The bitter herb. This symbolizes the harshness of lives of the Jews in Egypt.

Charoset – A delicious mix of sweet wine, apples, cinnamon and nuts that resembles the mortar used as bricks of the many buildings the Jewish slaves built in Egypt

Karpas – A green vegetable, usually parsley, is a reminder of the green sprouting up all around us during spring and is used to dip into the saltwater

Zeroah – A roasted lamb or shank bone symbolizing the sacrifice made at the great temple on Passover (The Paschal Lamb)

Beitzah – The egg symbolizes a different holiday offering that was brought to the temple. Since eggs are the first item offered to a mourner after a funeral, some say it also evokes a sense of mourning for the destruction of the temple.

Orange - The orange on the seder plate has come to symbolize full inclusion in modern day Judaism: not only for women, but also for people with disabilities, intermarried couples, and the LGBT Community.

Matzah

Matzah is the unleavened bread we eat to remember that when the jews fled Egypt, they didn’t even have time to let the dough rise on their bread. We commemorate this by removing all bread and bread products from our home during Passover.

Elijah’s Cup

The fifth ceremonial cup of wine poured during the Seder. It is left untouched in honor of Elijah, who, according to tradition, will arrive one day as an unknown guest to herald the advent of the Messiah. During the Seder dinner, biblical verses are read while the door is briefly opened to welcome Elijah. In this way the Seder dinner not only commemorates the historical redemption from Egyptian bondage of the Jewish people but also calls to mind their future redemption when Elijah and the Messiah shall appear.

Miriam’s Cup

Another relatively new Passover tradition is that of Miriam’s cup. The cup is filled with water and placed next to Elijah’s cup. Miriam was the sister of Moses and a prophetess in her own right. After the exodus when the Israelites are wandering through the desert, just as Hashem gave them Manna to eat, legend says that a well of water followed Miriam and it was called ‘Miriam’s Well’. The tradition of Miriam’s cup is meant to honor Miriam’s role in the story of the Jewish people and the spirit of all women, who nurture their families just as Miriam helped sustain the Israelites.

Introduction
Source : James Baldwin
“If the concept of God has any validity or any use, it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving."

-James Baldwin

Kadesh
Source : Dara Barlin

According to the Kabbalah, the book that represents Jewish Mysticism, every Jew is composite of two distinct souls. The first soul is the   Nefesh HaBehamit   which animates the body. This soul is complete with an infrastructure of powers ranging from pleasure and will to intellect and emotions. The second soul is the   Nefesh Elokit. This soul is described by Job as “a part of G‑d,” and exists both before its descent into the body and after the ascent from the body. 

This means that our loved ones who have passed are actually still alive, existing on another plane at levels of joy and adventure that we cannot even imagine with our Earth-tied minds. That is why we use the term POTSA instead of dead when describing a person gone from this life.  It is an acronym that stands for Passed On To Something Awesome, which requires us to think about the person’s soul now in its most fabulous state of being, rather than focusing on our deep sadness for their loss in our life. It also opens the possibility that these souls are still with us, cheering us on and guiding us closer towards our own self-actualization. This shift honors their current existence and offers a more accurate portrayal of the multi-layered reality of the Universe, while bringing us more feelings of freedom and joy down here where we continue to live on Earth. 

Based on this concept, we’d like to honor all of the souls who have POTSA, and bring them into our space tonight. Please call out the names of loved ones who have left the Earth, inviting them to share in wine and matzo with us and engage in this special experience with us.

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

All Jewish celebrations, from holidays to weddings, include wine as a symbol of our joy – not to mention a practical way to increase that joy. The seder starts with wine and then gives us three more opportunities to refill our cup and drink.

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.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who chose us from all peoples and languages, and sanctified us with commandments, and lovingly gave to us special times for happiness, holidays and this time of celebrating the Holiday of Matzah, the time of liberation, reading our sacred stories, and remembering the Exodus from Egypt. For you chose us and sanctified us among all peoples. And you have given us joyful holidays. We praise God, who sanctifies the people of Israel and the holidays.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
 שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam,
she-hechiyanu v’key’manu v’higiyanu lazman hazeh.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything,
who has kept us alive, raised us up, and brought us to this happy moment.

Drink the first glass of wine!

Urchatz

What does freedom feel like in our bodies? Now we wash our hands, and remember that Passover is a holiday of sensation as much as it is the telling of the story of how we were once slaves and now we are free. The bitterness of the herbs, the crack of the matzah, the bloom of spring, sensations are important when we celebrate this holiday. What does freedom mean to you in today's world?

3min facilitated discussion, one person per table report back!

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

Passover, like many of our holidays, combines the celebration of an event from our Jewish memory with a recognition of the cycles of nature. As we remember the liberation from Egypt, we also recognize the stirrings of spring and rebirth happening in the world around us. The symbols on our table bring together elements of both kinds of celebration.

We now take a vegetable, representing our joy at the dawning of spring after our long, cold winter. Most families use a green vegetable, such as parsley or celery, but some families from Eastern Europe have a tradition of using a boiled potato since greens were hard to come by at Passover time. Whatever symbol of spring and sustenance we’re using, we now dip it into salt water, a symbol of the tears our ancestors shed as slaves. Before we eat it, we recite a short blessing:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה

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

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruits of the earth.

We look forward to spring and the reawakening of flowers and greenery. They haven’t been lost, just buried beneath the snow, getting ready for reappearance just when we most needed them.

-

We all have aspects of ourselves that sometimes get buried under the stresses of our busy lives. What has this winter taught us? What elements of our own lives do we hope to revive this spring?

Karpas

Dip your green vegetable in your saltwater to celebrate spring while listening to Rites of Spring. 

Karpas

Dara's story of her rite of spring.

Does anyone else have any stories about a time they created or felt joyous spring passage in times of darkness?

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

There are three pieces of matzah stacked on the table. We now break the middle matzah into two pieces. The host should wrap up the larger of the pieces and, at some point between now and the end of dinner, hide it. This piece is called the afikomen, literally “dessert” in Greek. After dinner, the guests will have to hunt for the afikomen in order to wrap up the meal… and win a prize.

We eat matzah in memory of the quick flight of our ancestors from Egypt. As slaves, they had faced many false starts before finally being let go. So when the word of their freedom came, they took whatever dough they had and ran with it before it had the chance to rise, leaving it looking something like matzah.

Uncover and hold up the three pieces of matzah and say:

This is the bread of poverty which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. All who are hungry, come and eat; all who are needy, come and celebrate Passover with us. This year we are here; next year we will be in Israel. This year we are slaves; next year we will be free.

These days, matzah is a special food and we look forward to eating it on Passover. Imagine eating only matzah, or being one of the countless people around the world who don’t have enough to eat.

What does the symbol of matzah say to us about oppression in the world, both people literally enslaved and the many ways in which each of us is held down by forces beyond our control? How does this resonate with events happening now?

-- Four Questions

By Audre Lorde

For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
futures
like bread in our children’s mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours;
 
For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.
 
And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
of indigestion
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
 
So it is better to speak
remembering
we were never meant to survive.

-- Four Questions

The four questions of Passover are a formal way of asking why we celebrate passover, consume matzah and bitter herbs, and why we recline instead of sit up during the Passover meal. Then we tell the story of how God helped Moses lead our people out of slavery and into freedom. 

Instead of this formality, we'd like you to turn to your neighbor and engage in the first of four short disscussions around our four freedom questions. 

1. Who is free in 2019? Please consider what freedom means, and consider sentient beings beyond humans... such as animals and plants.  (4 min)

2. What challenges are inhibiting full access to freedom in 2019 (4 min)

3. What would people need to do differently to improve all being's access to freedom? (4 min)

4. What is one thing you would be willing to do differently to help improve access to freedom in your life? (4 min)

Ella Baker 

Even if segregation is gone, we will still need to be free; we will still have to see that everyone has a job. Even if we can all vote, but if people are still hungry, we will not be free…Singing alone is not enough; we need schools and learning…Remember, we are not fighting for the freedom of the Negro alone, but for the freedom of the human spirit, a larger freedom that encompasses all of mankind.
~ Ella Baker, (Source: Ransby, Barbara. Ella Baker & The Black Freedom Movement)

-- Exodus Story
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 : 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 : The Passover Seder, Rabbi Arthur Gilbert

Rachtzah
Source : Original

Motzi-Matzah
Source : JewishBoston.com

The blessing over the meal and matzah | motzi matzah | מוֹצִיא מַצָּה

The familiar hamotzi blessing marks the formal start of the meal. Because we are using matzah instead of bread, we add a blessing celebrating this mitzvah.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַמּוֹצִיא לֶֽחֶם מִן הָאָֽרֶץ

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, hamotzi lechem min ha-aretz.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who brings bread from the land.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתַָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מַצָּה

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

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

Distribute and eat the top and middle matzah for everyone to eat.

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 : Original

Koreich

In this stage of the seder, we are called to make a hillel sandwich, combining the bitter herbs and sweet charoset on a piece of matzah. It reminds us that the sweetness of freedom and the bitterness of slavery go hand in hand, and we must remember that not all of us our free. 

It's important to understand that the freedom and safety of the jewish community does not come from opressing others and creating an apartheid state in the middle east. Borders and walls do not make any of us safer, and the sooner we understand this the sooner we will all be free. 


Revolution by DAM 

It takes revolution to find a solution

Wars are begun by the victorious
They plan the war and rewrite history
We are all soldiers in a game of chess
The King makes all our moves
I, a soldier will get rid of him
But alone I can’t change this Hell to Heaven

It takes revolution to find a solution

This situation reminds me of Apartheid and Nelson Mandela
Didn’t he say Gandhi flowers don’t always work
So to all the people of love and peace
How can we have co-existence when we don’t even exist

It takes revolution to find a solution

You broke my legs but I’m still walking
You closed my eyes but I can still see
I see therefore I fear my destiny
I see therefore I feel danger and the fear it causes

It takes revolution to find a solution

Fighting for your rights
Will always be met with confrontation
Never fear as this will only strengthen the fight
It nourishes the rebel tree
Come sit up in this tree and you will see
A freedom that will carry us over mountains
But many more mountains will await us

It takes revolution to find a solution

To change the situation we need a revolution
The refugee camps need a revolution
To fight racism we need a revolution
In our city we need a revolution
To fight this propaganda we need a revolution

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

What brings you joy? How can you share that joy with others? Talk amongst yourselves. 

Bareich

We refill our glasses again, and give thanks for the meal and the company. What are you thankful for so far in 2019? What is one hard and complicated thing you've learned about yourself so far in 2019 and why are you thankful for this?

Hallel

What are you favorite songs about freedom?

Freedom soundtrack:

Hallel

Who are your prophets of freedom? Who is a prophet of freedom that you know personally in your life? What have they taught you about being more free?

“Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake. It is not easy. It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one. The road goes upward towards the light; but the laden traveler may never reach the end of it.”


― Ursula K. LeGuin, The Tombs of Atuan

Nirtzah

Octavia Butler quote:

"All that you touch you change. All that you change, changes you. The only lasting truth is change. God is change."

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.