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Introduction
Source : SEDER FOR THE EARTH: Facing the Plagues & Pharaohs of Our Generation, Shalom Center

** By meeting each other: In each table-group, people say their names and in one sentence, no more, explain why they have chosen to come to this Seder.

** By joining our voices:

[All sing:]

Circle 'round for freedom,
Circle 'round for peace;
For all of us imprisoned,
Circle for release.
Circle for the planet,
Circle for each soul;
For the children of our children,
Keep the circle whole.
--- Linda Hirschhorn

** By creating light
[All say together:]
We are the generation/That stands between the fires./Behind us is the flame and smoke/That rose from Auschwitz and from Hiroshima,/From the burning of our Towers/In jet fuel lit by rage,/ From the torching of our forests for the sake of fast hamburger; / Before us is the nightmare of a Flood of Fire: /The scorching of our planet/From a flood of greenhouse gases,/Or the blazing of our cities/In thermonuclear fire/Or the glare of gunfire/Exploding in our children. / It is our task to make from fire/Not an all-consuming blaze/But the light in which we see each other;/Each of us different,/All of us made in the image of God.

We light this fire to see more clearly/That the earth, the human race,/are not for burning./We light this fire to see more clearly/The rainbow in our many-colored faces.

Blessed are you, YHWH our God, Breathing Spirit of the Universe, who gives us light that we may become a light for peace and freedom and healing for all peoples and our planet.

Blessed are you, Yah, Breathing Spirit of the Universe, who has breathed life into us, lifted us up, and carried us to reach this moment.
[Light candles at each table.]

Kadesh
Source : SEDER FOR THE EARTH: Facing the Plagues & Pharaohs of Our Generation, Shalom Center

We will drink from four cups of grape juice to honor FOUR STAGES on the path of LIBERATION. These cups are (1) Becoming aware of oppression, (2) Opposing oppression, (3) Imagining alternatives, (4) Accepting personal and communal responsibility to act.

** First: the cup of awareness: learning to recognize the reality of oppression.
[Pour cups of grape juice.]

Kadesh
Source : Rabbi Arthur Waskow

The First Cup: We drink to Ending Racism and Poverty, and Birthing Racial and Economic Justice

We begin with the teaching of Dr. Martin Luther King 50 years ago, on the evening before his death. He came to Memphis, Tennessee to support the striking sanitation workers of the city, and he spoke to a gathered crowd:

“The issue is the refusal of Memphis to be fair and honest in its dealings with its public servants, who happen to be sanitation workers. One thousand, three hundred sanitation workers are on strike. Now we're going to march again, and force everybody to see that there are thirteen hundred of God's children here suffering, sometimes going hungry, going through dark and dreary nights wondering how this thing is going to come out. And we've got to say to the nation: We know how it's coming out. For when people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory.”

This oppression of workers is nothing new. It is at the heart of the story of Pharaoh and the Exodus, 3,000 years ago:

“Now a new king arose over Mitzrayim, the Tight and Narrow Space [Egypt]. He said to his people, ‘Here, this people, the Godwrestling folk, the children of Israel, is many more than we and might make war against us. Come now, let us use our wits against it. So the Tight and Narrow Place made the Godwrestlers subservient with crushing-labor; they embittered their lives with hard servitude in clay and in bricks and with all kinds of servitude in the field, all their serfdom in which they made them subservient with crushing-labor. (Exodus 1: 13-14 )

And so all of us remember and taste within ourselves the bitterness of slavery and the oppression of workers.

[Everyone takes a piece of raw horseradish.]

All join to say: “Blessed are You, Creative Interbreathing Spirit of the Universe, Who brings forth the fruit of the earth—the bitter and the sweet.”

[Eat a chunk of horseradish.]

[The community sings “Go Down Moses,” African-American spiritual.]

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 old Pharaoh: Let My people go!

The pillar of cloud shall clear the way, Let My people go; A fire by night, a shade by day, Let My people go. Go down, Moses, way down in Egypt’s land, Tell old Pharaoh: Let My people go!

As Israel stood by the water-side, Let My people go; At God’s command it did divide, Let My people go. Go down, Moses, way down in Egypt’s land, Tell old Pharaoh: Let My people go!

When they had reached the other shore, Let My people go; They sang the song of freedom o’er, Let My people go. Go down, Moses, way down in Egypt’s land, Tell old Pharaoh: Let My people go!

Oh, set all Earth from bondage free, Let all My peoples go; And let all life be free to Be, Let air and water flow. Go down, Moses, way down in every land, Tell ALL Pharaohs: Let My creation grow

And in our generation?

“I met with many people barely surviving on Skid Row in Los Angeles, I witnessed a San Francisco police officer telling a group of homeless people to move on but having no answer when asked where they could move to, I heard how thousands of poor people get minor infraction notices which seem to be intentionally designed to quickly explode into unpayable debt, incarceration, and the replenishment of municipal coffers, I saw sewage-filled yards in states where governments don’t consider sanitation facilities to be their responsibility, I saw people who had lost all of their teeth because adult dental care is not covered by the vast majority of programs available to the very poor, I heard about soaring death rates and family and community destruction wrought by opioids, and I met with people in Puerto Rico living next to a mountain of completely unprotected coal ash which rains down upon them, bringing illness, disability and death.”

- Philip Alston, United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

[Everyone gets “sheet” of matzah. Someone reads:]

“Why do we eat this pressed-down bread?“ Because it begins as the bread of affliction, the bread of a pressed-down people—but becomes the bread of Freedom when we hasten toward Resistance. Hasten to bake it without time for the bread to rise, For then we lived and now we live, as Dr. King taught, in the “fierce urgency of NOW!”—swiftly moving toward our liberation.”

[Each person breaks the matzah and hands one piece to a neighbor.]

“Why do we break and share the matzah?”

“Because if we do not share it, it remains the bread of affliction; when we share it, it becomes the bread of freedom.”

Together say: “Blessed are You, Breathing-Spirit of the world, who through sun and soil, seed and human sweat, brings forth this bread from the Earth.”

[All eat the matzah given them by someone else.]

Karpas
Source : SEDER FOR THE EARTH: Facing the Plagues & Pharaohs of Our Generation, Shalom Center

** By celebrating the earth and spring:

[Use a chant without words to keep energy focused as people pass around a basin to wash and dry the hands.] Take pieces of parsley or mint, dip them in salt water, pass them around the table, and say: Blessed are you, YHWH our God, Breathing Spirit of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the earth. Barukh atah YHWH elohenu ruakh ha-olam boray p'ri ha a-da-mah. [Everyone then eats this piece of parsley. From here on, invite people to munch on carrots, celery, and other fruit or vegetables.]

[Someone speaks:] If we cannot take joy in the return of spring, how can we be happy in utopia? The Song of Songs brings us the springtime when flowers rise up against winter, the juices of love arise from the depths of depression, and the night-time of history gives way to the sunlight of Eden, the garden of delight:

Come with me, my love, come away,/For the long wet months are past,/The rains have fed the earth/And left it bright with blossoms./ Birds wing in the low sky,/Dove and songbird singing/In the open air above,/Earth nourishing tree and vine,/Green fig and tender grape,/Green and tender fragrance./Come with me, my love, come away. [The reader passes a blossom from the flowers on the table — if possible on a living plant — to everyone. All sniff and look carefully at their flowers. All sing either verses in Hebrew from the Song of Songs, or the English song "Morning has Broken"] (Chorus) Do-di li va-a-ni lo Ha-ro-eh ba-sho-sha-nim (Repeat)

Mi zot olah Min hamidbar Mi zat olah M'kituret mor Mor u-livonah Mor u-livonah

(Chorus)

Uri tzafon u-vo-i teyman Uri tzafon u-vo-i teyman

(Chorus)

Morning Has Broken

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Morning has broken like the first morning; Blackbird has spoken like the first bird. Praise for the singing! Praise for the morning! Praise for them springing fresh from the Word. Sweet the rain's new fall sunlit from heaven, Like the first dew fall on the first grass. Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden, Sprung in completeness where Your feet pass.

Yachatz
Source : SEDER FOR THE EARTH: Facing the Plagues & Pharaohs of Our Generation, Shalom Center

By breaking bread and setting it aside:
[Someone at each table: Break the middle matzah or other bread of the poor in two. Put the larger piece aside, leaving the smaller on the plate. Uncover the remaining piece of bread, lift up the dish and say:]
This is the pressed-down bread of the oppressed that our forebears ate in the Tight and Narrow Land (Mitzrayim, Egypt, where the Israelites were enslaved), and this [lift up some other bread of the poor—tortilla, flatbread, etc.] is the bread of the oppressed today. Let all who are hungry eat, and all who are in need come and celebrate the Passover.
[Put the matzah and bread back, covered, on the plate. Then lift the larger piece and say the following.]

Why do we break this bread in two? Because if we hold on to the whole loaf for ourselves, it remains the bread of oppression. If we break it in order to share it, it becomes the bread of freedom.

In the world today, there are still some who are so pressed-down that they have not even this bread of oppression to eat. There are so many who are hungry that they cannot all come and eat with us tonight. Therefore we say to them, we set aside this bread as a reminder that we owe you justice and a share of the earth's fruitfulness, and that we will work to make the sharing real.

In the same way, if we human beings try to gobble up all the abundance of the world and leave nothing for the other forms of life to eat and breathe and drink, the abundance withers away into the death of many life-forms and despair for ourselves.

If we renew the earth's abundance for other life-forms besides ourselves, the earth will flourish and all beings will have enough to eat. Share your bread with the hungry, says YHWH, the Breath of Life.

This year we share in a world of greed and war, but we pledge to work during this coming year so that we can share and celebrate in a world at 

peace.

Maggid - Beginning
Source : SEDER FOR THE EARTH: Facing the Plagues & Pharaohs of Our Generation, Shalom Center

{At each table, someone pours juice from the Cup of Elijah, sitting untasted in the center of the table, into each person's glass. All say together:] I take responsibility to become the Prophet Elijah, "turning the hearts of the parents to the children and the hearts of the children to the parents, lest the earth be utterly destroyed."

Barukh atah YHWH elohenu ruakh ha-olam boray p'ri eytz. Blessed are You, YHWH our God, Who creates the fruit of the vine. {All drink the fourth cup, the cup of personal and communal commitment to action.]

"God has allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over, and I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promised Land.

— Dr. Martin Luther King, April 3,1968, the night before his death.

[All sing:]

Circle 'round for freedom, Circle 'round for peace; For all of us imprisoned, Circle for release. Circle for the planet, Circle for each soul; For the children of our children, Keep the circle whole. --- Linda Hirschhorn / Rob Glover

Tzafun
Source : SEDER FOR THE EARTH: Facing the Plagues & Pharaohs of Our Generation, Shalom Center

At the end of the meal the children are invited to hunt for the Afikoman (the piece of matzah that was hidden earlier) and it is redeemed from the children who have found it, since it is necessary to have this taste of matzah as the last taste at the end of the meal. One way of redeeming it is to ask the children to name an organization that is working for social justice, freedom, peace, or healing of the earth, and the adults agree to contribute to that group in accordance with their own means.] [The Afikoman is distributed among the Seder company, and every one eats a bite of it.]

Hallel
Source : SEDER FOR THE EARTH: Facing the Plagues & Pharaohs of Our Generation, Shalom Center

[Sing this translation of psalm 149 to the tune of "Michael Row the Boat Ashore."] Praise Yah in the heavens, halleluyah. Praise God in the heights, halleluyah. Praise God, all you angels, halleluyah. Praise Yah, all you hosts, halleluyah. Praise God, sun and moon, halleluyah. Praise Yah, you stars of light, halleluyah. Praise God, you high heavens, halleluyah. All that flows in all the world, halleluyah.

Let them all praise God's Name, halleluyah. For God spoke and they appeared, halleluyah. With God they take their stand, halleluyah. God's rhythm none can break, halleluyah. Praise Yah from the earth, halleluyah. You sea-monsters and all deeps, halleluyah. Fire, hail, snow, and steam, halleluyah. Stormy wind to do God's word, halleluyah. Mountains high and small hills, halleluyah. Trees of fruit and cedars too, halleluyah. Wild beasts and quiet flocks, halleluyah. Creeping things and winged birds, halleluyah. Leaders and officials, halleluyah. Societies and peoples, halleluyah. Young men and women, too, halleluyah. Let us praise the holy Name, halleluyah. For God's Name includes us all, halleluyah. God's radiance shines out, halleluyah. And God lifts the people's hearts, halleluyah. For all who wrestle God, halleluyah. For all who bring God close, halleluyah.

Commentary / Readings
Source : SEDER FOR THE EARTH: Facing the Plagues & Pharaohs of Our Generation, Shalom Center

[All sing:] O Freedom! O Freedom! O Freedom over me! And before I'd be a slave I'd be buried in my grave And go home to my Lord and be free! No more killing...No more hunger ...No more pollution..., etc.

[Someone says:] We join at the time of Passover to connect our separate stories in the telling of new freedom. Our telling cannot end tonight. We must name and number the different tribes to carry on the journey. We have a wilderness of change to cross before we can enter a new time of greater justice, greater freedom, greater peace, and deeper healing. To begin this process, on this very night we will exchange our addresses and we will talk about the actions we feel drawn to take. [Hand around a paper for name, organization, address, phone. Email. One person might start the process by suggesting an action. Allow time for conversation.]

Songs
Source : SEDER FOR THE EARTH: Facing the Plagues & Pharaohs of Our Generation, Shalom Center

[Sing newer anti-oppression songs]

I NEVER WAS

©Linda Hirschhorn 2009 (Inspired by Pastor Martin Niemoller)

First they came for the Communists I stood by silently I never was a Communist

What did it matter to me

What did it matter to me

Then they came for the Union Men and I stood silently I never was a Union Man What did it matter to me

What did it matter to me

Cry out cry out its still going on today your neighbor is an Immigrant they’re coming to take him away

And when they came for Gays and Jews I just closed my eyes I wasn’t Gay and I wasn’t a Jew so I stood silently by

What did it matter, how could it matter, why should it matter to me

Cry out cry out its still going on today your neighbor is a Muslim they’re coming to take her away

And now I hear they’re coming soon they’re coming soon for me there’s no one left who might cry out cry out to set me free

No one of us is truly safe until we all are free no one of us can truly say it matters not to me Cry out cry out its still going on today who is your next door neighbor why have they gone away

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