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Introduction
Welcome

Welcome to Friendship Seder 2020 and beyond. Hopefully we can keep this Haggadah going, as long as there aren't any timely jokes or mentions of exes. Get ready for a night of questions + marshmallows, hunger + horseradish, singing + yelling, play readings + Matthew McConaughey impressions, 4 cups of wine + someone always crying, and more. 

In the northern hemisphere, Passover coincides with the beginning of spring which is a time of renewal, regrowth and regeneration. It's also a time to tell winter a true "bye bye" as we are ready to dust ourselves off and rejoin the world of the living. What a better time to examine how the past 12 months have gone and commit new promises to ourselves and the world? Passover als coincides with Aries season, a sign known for their courage, honesty and generosity. Let's keep these traits in mind as we work through this year's seder. How fitting that the seder ends in a song about a lil goat?

Before we start, let's uphold one tradition we’ve now adopted from Sophie Busby's family. Every year, her family starts the seder by inviting someone who couldn’t be here for whatever reason. They could be far away, they could have passed away, they could be fictional characters, celebrities or unattainable crushes. Let's go around and share who we want to invite.

BLESSING ON THE FLOWERS

Passover is a holiday of renewal, of growth, of new birth and everything that spring has to offer. It has become tradition mainly in queer seders to bring flowers, sticks, and stones to symbolize what has lined the paths which brought us here today. Flowers obviously represent the beauty and growth we've experienced, while sticks and stones represent the challenges (yes, it's super cliche but *shrug emoji*). So let's take a look at this very handsome bouquet while  Blowing the Fluff Away  by Robyn Sarah is read:

The sprig of unknown bloom you sent last fall

spent the long winter drying on my wall,

mounted on black. But it had turned to fluff

some months ago. Tonight I took it down

because I thought that I had had enough

of staring at it. Brittle, dry and brown,

it seemed to speak too plainly of a waste

of friendship, forced to flower, culled in haste.

So, after months of fearing to walk past

in case the stir should scatter it to bits,

I took it out to scatter it at last

with my own breath, and so to call us quits.

—Fooled! for the fluff was nothing but a sheath,

with tiny, perfect flowers underneath.

Introduction
Candle Lighting

Traditionally in Judaism, women were not obligated to perform positive time-bound commandments (ones telling you to do a specific task at a specific time) like candle lighting. However, in early rabbinic times candle lighting -  hadlakat ha'ner -  became one of the three  mitzvot  that Jewish women were allowed to do, along with making ritualistic hallah (from dough which a tiny bit was set aside as sacrifice) and keeping  niddah  (a period of time between menstruation and cleansing in the mikvah when women can't fuck). When you take the first hebrew letters of each commandment, it spells  HaNaH, who was one of our biblical mothers. Some say women were commanded to take part in these  mitzvot  as a form of punishment for what Eve did and if they don't, they'll die during childbirth. In lighting these candles, let's instead celebrate the women and femmes who came before us who sought knowledge and power, even if it literally killed them.

Hannah Szenes was a young Nazi resistance fighter. The Nazis captured her and brought Hannah’s mother to her. They said that if Hannah didn’t reveal the names of the resistance movement, her mother would be killed. Hannah told her mother that she could not betray the resistance. Her mother replied that by not giving in to the oppressor, Hannah had proved her love. Hannah Szenes was captured, tortured, and put to death at the age of 20. She wrote this poem in prison in Budapest before her execution:

Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.

Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret fastness of the heart.

Blessed is the heart with the strength to stop its beating for honor’s sake.

Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.

May the light of the candles we kindle together tonight bring radiance to all who still live in darkness. May this season, marking the deliverance of our people from Pharaoh, rouse us against anyone who keeps others in servitude. In gratitude for the freedom we enjoy, may we strive to bring about our own liberation and the liberation of all people everywhere.

 Lighting these candles, we create the sacred space of the Festival of Freedom; we sanctify the coming-together of our community.