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Passover is a ceremony of commandment and invitation; of instruction and reflection; of memory and action. 

Let us find in this evening togother renewed strength and joy in our gifts. 

Let us dance and sing and work together for the renewal of the earth and its people.

Source : KS
Honoring Indigenous Lands and Peoples

We acknowledge that we are on the traditional, ancestral and contemporary lands of Indigenous people.  We reside on land that was cared for and called home by the Dakota, Ojibwe and other Native peoples from time immemorial.  Ceded in the Treaties of 1837 and 1851, this land holds great historical, spiritual and personal significance for its original stewards.  By offering this land acknowledgment, we affirm tribal sovereignty and honor our relationship to the land and to each other.


Passover is such a time of remembrance and of community.  Let us take a moment to remember Rita and Stuart and those each of us hold close in our hearts as we remember.

For your life has lived in me,

Your laugh once lifted me,

Your word was gift to me.

To remember this brings painful joy.

‘Tis a human thing, love,

A holy thing,

To love what death has touched.


          Chaim Stern

Personal Mitzrayim

We learn in Exodus 14:10-16 that only Joseph and Caleb of the enslaved Israelites made it to the land of Israel. Most of those enslaved could not break that enslavement. What does this mean for us, that we must not only take B'nei Yisrael out of Egypt, we must also take Egypt out of B'nei Yisrael? We have left Egypt, but are we really yet free of what enslaved us?

Source : KS

Ceremonies are the way we remember to remember.  The way we focus our attention to awaken us to the sacredness of life.

Before we tell the story of the Exodus, a story of great suffering, of trial, of faith and hope for the future, let us reflect on this last year.  What in our own lives to we want to leave behind as we continue our life's journey?

Please write your reflection on a piece of paper.  


Note:  If you choose to burn it:  use an oven proof or stove top vessel; place it on a protectd surface; have water ready for dousing since their may be too much smoke.

Let us burn our personal chametz as we recite the blessing:

"All leaven or anything leavened which is in my possession, whether I have seen it or not, whether I have observed it or not, whether I have removed it or not, shall be considered nullified and ownerless as the dust of the earth."


The seder officially begins with a physical act: lighting the candles.  In Jewish tradition, lighting candles and saying a blessing over them marks a time of transition, from the day that is ending to the one that is beginning, from ordinary time to sacred time.  Lighting the candles is an important part of our Passover celebration because their flickering light reminds us of the importance of keeping the fragile flame of freedom alive in the world.

Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha'olam asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav, v'tzivanu l'hadlik ner shel Yom Tov.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has sanctified us with laws and commanded us to light the festival lights.

As we light the festival candles, we acknowledge that as they brighten our Passover table, good thoughts, good words, and good deeds brighten our days.


Galilee Diary by Marc Rosenstein    March 31, 2004

The 39th Passover

Once, we spent a year living in Beersheba and did a lot of hiking.


The Negev and Sinai during the winter and spring.  I wrote a


To spring in the desert.  Now that I live in the Galilee, I still love the

desert and feel that it has a spiritual atmosphere that is different

from the greener parts of the country.  Every few years, we sill read my response at our seder.

                Time present and time past

                Are both perhaps present in time future,

                And time future contained in time past.

  • T.S. Eliot


It is spring now in the desert.

Spring is very beautiful here;

It comes with a stark delicacy that refreshes the soul.

In the wake of the surging floods

Come the iris and cat’s claw and fragrant bloom.

Amid the lifeless rocks and blowing sand,

In sheltered valleys and open wastes,

Spring assaults the desolation and for a time, conquers it.


The coming of spring reminds me of my father,

Who was a slave, in Egypt.

It was in this season that they fled Egypt, you know.

Or at least that’s the way he told it.

He had plenty of stories—all the old men did.

But they are all dead now.

We buried them along the way, wherever we were camped.

My father’s tomb lies in some nameless wadi,

The marker probably swept away by winter floods.


He told fine stories of Egypt:

Of stone houses, of meat, of onions and garlic, of water in abundance;

Of stability, of roots;

Of great cities with massive towers he helped to build.


How hard it must have been for my father

To change:

To move to a crude woolen tent

Pitched amidst the desolation.

To eat the flaky manna.

To drink rationed water.

To wander, ever wander, with the knowledge that if there were to be an end, a goal,

He would not live to see it.

It must have been very difficult to adjust.


It was in the spring, around when we celebrated the Pesach

That my father would think about the past.

Then he would tell his stories on the slightest provocation.

Strange stories, of miracles, of armies swallowed whole by the sea.

The rebellions against Moses and God.

The Golden Calf incident,

My father lived through them all.

He was actually there when God gave the law on Mount Sinai.

He used to pale a little when telling about it,

As though he could see the lightning, and feel the mountain quaking.


In the spring, indeed, it was on the eve of Pesach that my father

Put all his stories together.

When each family gathered around its fireplace, roasting the

Sacrificial lamb,

My father would lean back,

And with matzah and wine and bitter herb

He would tell all.

Of signs and miracles;

Of suffering and deliverance;

Of all that has transpired to put us where we are

And where we someday will be.

Yes, he had stories about that too.

Stories of milk and honey;

Of iron and brass;

Of oil and wine;

Of stability, stone houses, roots.


The Pesach isn’t the same now that my father and his cronies are gone.

We keep all the commandments, eat all the foods;

But the fire and life are gone from the stories.

I was not a slave.

I cannot conceive of the fear, the pain, the degradation.

My father’s stories conveyed a certain horror.

But how can I, who have known only the infinite and absolute freedom

Of the wilderness,

How can I convey to my children the marvel of redemption.


No, the stories are not the same without the original tellers,

Details gets lost;

The excitement fades.

Perhaps, indeed, my father failed in his duty to teach me;

Was it not incumbent upon him to tell the stories in such a way as

To make me a participant in them?

But no, that would have been a superhuman task,

A duty which even the greatest of storytellers could not fulfill.


As the past fades, so does the future.

As the stories of Egypt, of Exodus lose their richness and immediacy,

So the promise, the land, the stone houses

All withdraw into the future,

Pull back from the touch of our imagination.

And the desert stretches before and after.

I wonder how my children will observe the Pesach,

Will they thrill to the bloom of the desert,

Or will they know a softer spring,

Green and temperate?

And what stories will they tell

Will even an echo remain of what my father saw and told?

Can I succeed where even he but barely did?

Will my children have anything but strange formulas and wonder-tales

To tell?

If I cannot know slavery

Can my children know the heart of the stranger?

And what of the promise, the hope?

What of the stories of the end of this wandering?

Will my children inherit the future from me?

The desert knows time only cyclically.


The seasons have impact

But history has none.

All continues as before.

A generation,

Even forty years

Are as nothing.

The blasting, baking heat

Gives way to the raging, sudden floods.

Then the spring comes, with a stark delicacy

And a promise.

Source : KS

The entire story of the Haggadah is contained in the Seder plate; everything on it symbolizes an aspect of Exodus:

Zeroa, a roasted bone evokes the offering made at the Temple in ancient times.

Beitza, a boiled egg, symbolizes the circle of life and death.

Maror, a bitter herb, reminds us of the bitterness of enslavement.

Charoset, a mixture of fruit, nuts, wine and spices, represents the mortar our ancestors used to build the structures of Mitzrayim

Karpas, a green vegetable, symbolizes hope and renewal.

Chazeret, the bitter herb for the “sandwich” we eat later, following the custom established by Hillel the Elder, as a reminder that our ancestors “ate matzah and bitter herbs together.”

Source : KS

The four cups of wine used in the Seder symbolize four distinct promises made by God as told in Exodus 6:6-7.

  1.  Cup of Sanctification:  “I will bring you out of Egypt”
  2. Cup of Deliverance:  “I will deliver you from Egyptian slavery”
  3. Cup of Redemption:  “I will redeem you with My power”
  4. Cup of Restoration:  “I will take you as My people”

How do the promises mark different aspects of the physical and spiritual journey from slavery to peoplehood, from bondage, to freedom to revelation?

We stand, recite the blessing and enjoy the first cup.  L'chaim!

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, borei p'ri hagafen.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.

Miriam's Cup

We fill Miriam's Cup with water

Source : Albuquerque Jewish Community Women’s Seder: In Celebration of Women, Our Everyday Miracles.

We pass Miriam’s cup round the table and each pour into it some drops of water. Just as each shares in the cup, so, too, the presence of each person adds something unique to this seder.

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha’olam she’hakol nihiyeh bidvaro.

May the cup of Miriam refresh and inspire us as we embark on our journey through this Haggadah. May we fill it with memories of our past and hopes for our future.

Praised are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe, at whose word all things come into existence. (Drink water)

Source : Valley Beth Shalom Haggadah abridged

Elijah's Cup

The prophet Elijah symbolizes the dreams of the Jewish people. Elijah challenged the injustice of the powerful and overthrew worship of idols. He healed the sick and protected the helpless. At the end of his days, Elijah was carried off to heaven in fiery chariot.  Legend relates that Elijah returns to earth each day to carry forward the work of bringing justice and peace. Elijah enters the world each day in disguise, waiting for someone to do him a simple act of kindness.That one, caring act will trigger the redemption of the world.

This cup is Elijah's cup. In setting this cup at our table, we invite Elijah to join us, and we bring his passion for justice into our lives. But the cup is empty. No one has yet stepped forward to fill it.

We pass Elijah's cup from person to person at the table, each person pouring a little wine into Elijah's cup from our own cups, until it is filled. In this way we recognize that we must act together, each contributing our best talents and energies, to bring Elijah's promise to the world.

Eliyahu ha-tish-bee.

Eliyahu, Eliyahu, Eliyahu ha-gee-ladee.

Beem’hay’rah b’yamay’nu Yavo ay’laynu Eem mashiach ben daveed



When the seder falls on a Saturday evening, we continue with this special version of  Havdalah  before the  Shehecheyanu  is recited

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, borei m'orei ha-eish.

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, hamavdil bein kodesh l'chol, bein or l'choshech, bein Yisrael laamim, bein yom hash'vi-i l'sheishet y'mei hamaaseh. Bein k'dushat Shabbat lik'dushat yom tov hivdalta. V'et yom hash'vi-i misheishet y'mei hamaaseh kidashta. Hivdalta v'kidashta et amcha Yisrael bik'dushatecha. Baruch atah Adonai, hamavdil bein kodesh l'kodesh.

Blessed are You, Adonai Our God, Sovereign of the universe, Creator of the fire's light.

Blessed are You, Adonai Our God, Sovereign of the universe. You distinguish between holiness and dailiness, between light and darkness, between Israel and the nations, between the seventh day and the six days of creation, between the holiness of the Sabbath and the holiness of the Festival Days. You sanctify the seventh day from the six days of Creation. You distinguish and make holy your people Israel. Blessed are You, Our God, who distinguishes between holiness and holiness.


We recite the  Shehecheyanu,  thanking God for allowing us to reach this day.


Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, shehecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higianu laz’man hazeh.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, for giving us life, for sustaining us, and for enabling us to reach this season.

Source : Original


We will wash our hands twice during our seder: now, with no blessing, to get us ready for the rituals to come; and then again later, we’ll wash again with a blessing, preparing us for the meal.

Too often during our daily lives we don’t stop and take the moment to prepare for whatever it is we’re about to do. Let's pause as we wash our hands to consider what we hope to get out of our time together. 

Source : AJWS

We must acknowledge this pain and suffering and allow ourselves the space to grieve. Yet, as the karpas ritual beckons, we must also look toward the future with a sense of hope and possibility. Passover arrives on the precipice of spring, when new growth is just around the corner. All over the world, resilience, strength, compassion and innovation will grow from under this tragedy. We honor the tears, but we also bless the hope. Raise the karpas, dip it in saltwater and say:

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei peri ha-adama. We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruits of the earth. This Passover, may the brightness of our hope break through our tears and strengthen us in this moment together.

Source : Tikkun Haggadah

Break the middle matzah on the matzah plate.

We break the matzah and hide one part (the Afikomen). We recognize that liberation is made by imperfect people, broken, fragmented — so don’t wait until you are totally pure, holy, spiritually centered, and psychologically healthy to get involved in tikkun (the healing and repair of the world). It will be imperfect people, wounded healers, who do the healing as we simultaneously work on ourselves.

Maggid - Beginning
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah,

Pour the second glass of wine for everyone.

The Haggadah doesn’t tell the story of Passover in a linear fashion. We don’t hear of Moses being found by the daughter of Pharaoh – actually, we don’t hear much of Moses at all. Instead, we get an impressionistic collection of songs, images, and stories of both the Exodus from Egypt and from Passover celebrations through the centuries. Some say that minimizing the role of Moses keeps us focused on the miracles God performed for us. Others insist that we keep the focus on the role that every member of the community has in bringing about positive change.

Maggid - Beginning
Source : Design by

-- Four Questions
Source : Original Illustration from
Four Questions

-- Four Questions
-- Four Questions
Four questions

-- Four Questions
Source : KS summarized from handout of unknown source
On all other nights, we eat  chametz  (leavened foods) and matzah. Why on this night, only matzah?

If we cannot control our own time, we are not free.  Matzah represents the forced hurrying of the slave.

Our tradition took this symbol of slavery, of hurry, and made into the symbol of Passover freedom, the bread of affliction.  The "hurry up, slave" message of matzah becomes a declaration of freedom for all humanity.

Let us not rush through our lives. 

Let us work for freedom.

-- Four Questions
Source : Primo Levi

Tell me:  how is this night different

From all other nights?

How, tell me, is this Passover

Different from other Passovers?

Light the lamp, open the door wide

So the pilgrim can come in, Gentile or Jew;

Under the rags perhaps the prophet is concealed.

Let him enter and sit down with us;

Let him listen, drink, sing and celebrate Passover;

Let him consume the bread of affliction.

The Pascal Lamb, sweet mortar and bitter herbs.

This is the night of differences

In which you lean your elbow on the table,

Since the forbidden becomes prescribed,

Evil is traslated into good.

We spent the night recounting

Far-off events full of wonder,

And because of all the wine

The mountains will skip like rams.

Tonight they exchange questions:

The wise, the godless, the simple-minded and the child.

And time reverses its course,

Today flowing back into yesterday,

Like a river enclosed at its mouth.

Each of us has been a slave in Egypt,

Soaked straw and clay with sweat,

And crossed the sea dry-footed.

You too, stranger.

This year in fear and shame,

Next year in virtue and justice.


Primo Levi, Auschwitz survivor and noveslist, Italy

-- Four Children
Source : Love and Justice Haggadah

It is a tradition at the Seder to include a section entitled “the Four Children.” We have turned it upside down, to remind us that as adults we have a lot to learn from youth. From the U.S. to South Africa to Palestine, young people have been, and are, at the forefront of most of the social justice movements on this planet. If there is a mix of ages of people at your seder, perhaps some of the older people would like to practice asking questions, and the younger folks would like to respond:

The Angry Adult – Violent and oppressive things are happening to me, the people I love and people I don’t even know. Why can’t we make the people in power hurt the way we are all hurting? Hatred and violence can never overcome hatred and violence. Only love and compassion can transform our world. 

Cambodian Buddhist monk Maha Ghosananda, whose family was killed by the Khmer Rouge, has written:  It is a law of the universe that retaliation, hatred, and revenge only continue the cycle and never stop it. Reconciliation does not mean that we surrender rights and conditions, but means rather that we use love in all our negotiations. It means that we see ourselves in the opponent -- for what is the opponent but a being in ignorance, and we ourselves are also ignorant of many things. Therefore, only loving kindness and right-mindfulness can free us.

The Ashamed Adult – I’m so ashamed of what my people are doing that I have no way of dealing with it?!? We must acknowledge our feelings of guilt, shame and disappointment, while ultimately using the fire of injustice to fuel us in working for change. We must also remember the amazing people in all cultures, who are working to dismantle oppression together everyday. 

Marianne Williamson said:  “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually who are you not to be? You are a child of G-d. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of G-d that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

The Fearful Adult – Why should I care about ‘those people’ when they don’t care about me? If I share what I have, there won’t be enough and I will end up suffering. We must challenge the sense of scarcity that we have learned from capitalism and our histories of oppression. If we change the way food, housing, education, and resources are distributed, we could all have enough.

Martin Luther King said:  It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality.

The Compassionate Adult – How can I struggle for justice with an open heart? How can we live in a way that builds the world we want to live in, without losing hope? This is the question that we answer with our lives.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote:  Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy. And yet being alive is no answer to the problems of living. To be or not to be is not the question. The vital question is: how to be and how not to be…to pray is to recollect passionately the perpetual urgency of this vital question.

Anne Frank wrote:  It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all of my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too; I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end and that peace and tranquility will return again. In the meantime, I must uphold my ideals, for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out."

Each of us bears in our own belly the angry one, the ashamed one, the frightened one, the compassionate one. Which of these children shall we bring to birth? Only if we can deeply hear all four of them can we truthfully answer the fourth question. Only if we can deeply hear all four of them can we bring to birth a child, a people that is truly wise.


from the Love and Justice in Times of War Haggadah , compiled and created by Dara Silverman and Micah Bazant

-- Exodus Story
Source : A Children's Haggadah
The Hebrews Come to Egypt

Jacob moved with his family from Canann to the land of Egypt in order to find a bettery supply of food.  The Hebrews were a small group when they arrived in Egypt.  Jacob's son, Joseph, worked for the Pharaoh.  Joseph's wisdom and skill helped all the people and he became an important and respected man.  It was the best of times and the Hebrews grew in number and happiness.  

Years passed.

-- Exodus Story
Source : Text summarized from A Children's Haggadah
The Hebrews Are Enslaved

A new Pharaoh came to power.  He was afraid that the large number of Hebrews would turn against him.  He ordered that the Hebrew people become slaves.

"We cried out to the Lord, the God of our fathers, God heard our voice, he saw our persecution, our toil, and our oppression".  Deut. 26:7

-- Ten Plagues
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah,

As we rejoice at our deliverance from slavery, we acknowledge that our freedom was hard-earned. We regret that our freedom came at the cost of the Egyptians’ suffering, for we are all human beings made in the image of God. We pour out a drop of wine for each of the plagues as we recite them.

Dip a finger or a spoon into your wine glass for a drop for each plague.

These are the ten plagues which God brought down on the Egyptians:

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

The Egyptians needed ten plagues because after each one they were able to come up with excuses and explanations rather than change their behavior. Could we be making the same mistakes? Make up your own list. What are the plagues in your life? What are the plagues in our world today? What behaviors do we need to change to fix them? 

-- Ten Plagues
Source : KS
Ella's Song with Sweet Honey in the Rock and VocalEssence

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah,

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 :
dayeinu graph

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

Dayeinu  reminds us that each of our lives is the cumulative result of many blessings, small and large.

It also reminds it that while celebrating each change for the better, that we know we must continue to do the sacred work of justice for all.

Source : The Other Side of the Sea: T'ruah's Haggadah on Fighting Modern Slavery
Our hands were touched by this water earlier during tonight's seder, but this time is different. This is a deeper step than that. This act of washing our hands is accompanied by a blessing, for in this moment we feel our People's story more viscerally, having just retold it during Maggid. Now, having re-experienced the majesty of the Jewish journey from degradation to dignity, we raise our hands in holiness, remembering once again that our liberation is bound up in everyone else's. Each step we take together with others towards liberation is blessing, and so we recite: 

                                                         --Rabbi Menachem Creditor, Congregation Netivot Shalom, Berkeley, CA

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, asher kidshanu bemitvotav vetzivanu al netilat yadayim.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדָיִּם.

Blessed are You ETERNAL our God, Master of time and space, who has sanctified us with commandments and instructed us regarding lifting up our hands.

Source : BR
Matzoh Poem

Flat you are as a door mat

and as homely.

No crust, no glaze, you lack

a cosmetic glow.

You break with a snap.

You are dry as a twig split from an oak

in midwinter.

You are bumpy as a mud basin

in a drought.

Square as a slab of pavement,

you have no inside

to hide raisins or seeds.

You are pale as the full moon

pocked with craters.

What we see is what we get,

honest, plain, dry

shining with nostalgia

as if baked with light instead of heat.

The bread of flight and haste

in the mouth you promise, home.


Marge Piercy

Source :

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.

Source :

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.

Source :

Eating a sandwich of matzah and bitter herb | koreich | כּוֹרֵךְ

When the Temple stood in Jerusalem, the biggest ritual of them all was eating the lamb offered as the pesach or Passover sacrifice. The great sage Hillel would put the meat in a sandwich made of matzah, along with some of the bitter herbs. While we do not make sacrifices any more – and, in fact, some Jews have a custom of purposely avoiding lamb during the seder so that it is not mistaken as a sacrifice – we honor this custom by eating a sandwich of the remaining matzah and bitter herbs. Some people will also include charoset in the sandwich to remind us that God’s kindness helped relieve the bitterness of slavery.

Shulchan Oreich
Source : KS
Festive Meal

In our home we use my grandmother's dishes during Passover and no other time.  And since I am a Jew by choice, I choose to be Sephardic for Passover!

While Ashkenazi Jews ban kitniyot from the Passover table, Sephardic Jews do not. Kitniyot items include rice, corn, millet, dried beans and lentils, peas, green beans, soybeans, peanuts, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and mustard.


Source :

Finding and eating the Afikomen | tzafoon | צָפוּן

The playfulness of finding the afikomen reminds us that we balance our solemn memories of slavery with a joyous celebration of freedom. As we eat the afikomen, our last taste of matzah for the evening, we are grateful for moments of silliness and happiness in our lives.

Source : HIAS Haggadah 2019
Third Cup of Wine

Lift the third cup of wine and read together.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

Blessed are You, Ruler of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine. 

Emboldened to welcome refugees into our communities, may we remember that true welcome is not completed upon a person’s safe arrival in our country but in all the ways we help people to rebuild their lives. As God provided for our needs on the long journey from slavery to the Promised Land, let us give the refugees in our communities the tools they need not just to survive but to thrive: safe homes to settle into, quality education for their children, English language tutoring, access to jobs, and all of the things we would want for ourselves and our families. Blessed are You, Adonai our God, who gives us the opportunity to be your partner in ongoing redemption.

Drink the third cup of wine.

Third Question

Discuss as a group: What do you think makes some people stay and continue to experience unimaginable trauma and others flee in search of refuge and asylum? Can you understand both ways of thinking?

Source :

רַבּוֹתַי נְבָרֵךְ

All who sit around these tables,

Friends and strangers,

In peaceful conversation

And pleasant disagreement,

Those who remember and those who are remembered,

On this Pesakh,

We have shared this fine meal

And such a fine story,

We take this moment to acknowledge

That we are blessed

And, in our turn,

We bless.

בָּרוּךְ הוּא וּבָרוּך שְׁמוֹ

Blessed be the Creator and the created,

Blessed be the sustainers and the sustained.

Blessed be the eaters and the eaten,

Blessed be the feeders and the fed.

Blessed be the cooks and the meal,

Blessed be the drinkers and the water.

Blessed be the farmers and the produce,

Blessed be the baker and the bread.

Blessed be them all.

Blessed be the questioners and the questioned,

Blessed be the musicians and the songs.

Blessed the comics and the jokes,

Blessed be the artists and the illustrations.

Blessed be the maggid and the stories,

Blessed be the rabbis and the learning.

Blessed be them all.

Blessed be the doers and the done upon,

Blessed be the freers and the freed.

Blessed be the leaders and the led,

Blessed be the tellers and the told.

Blessed be the prayers and the prayed for,

Blessed be the servers and the served.

Blessed be them alll.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי הַזָּן אֶת הַכּל

נוֹדֶהלְּךָ יי אֱלהֵינוּ

Blessing us,One-ness,

We do not lack the biggest and the smallest of blessings:

Blessing us, One-ness,

With a history, ancient and current, that is never boring.

We give thanks

וְעַלהַכּל יי אֱלהֵינוּ אֲנַחְנוּ מוֹדִים לָךְ וּמְבָרְכִים אוֹתָךְ

Blessing us, One-ness,

With boundless Mercy

For all people,

All made in your image.

Those who remember and those who are remembered.

רַחֶםנָא יי אֱלהֵינוּ עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל עַמֶּךָ

Blessed One-ness

Making peace

Sustaining wholeness

For each other

And all the world

On this Pesakh

We give thanks.



Source :

The Cup of Elijah

We now refill our wine glasses one last time and open the front door to invite the prophet Elijah to join our seder.

In the Bible, Elijah was a fierce defender of God to a disbelieving people. At the end of his life, rather than dying, he was whisked away to heaven. Tradition holds that he will return in advance of messianic days to herald a new era of peace, so we set a place for Elijah at many joyous, hopeful Jewish occasions, such as a baby’s bris and the Passover seder.

אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַנָּבִיא, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַתִּשְׁבִּיאֵלִיָּֽהוּ, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ,אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַגִּלְעָדִי

בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵֽנוּ יָבוֹא אֵלֵֽינוּ

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד

Eliyahu hanavi
Eliyahu hatishbi
Eliyahu, Eliyahu, Eliyahu hagiladi
Bimheirah b’yameinu, yavo eileinu
Im mashiach ben-David,
Im mashiach ben-David

Elijah the prophet, the returning, the man of Gilad:
return to us speedily,
in our days with the messiah,
son of David.

Source :

Singing songs that praise God | hallel | הַלֵּל

This is the time set aside for singing. Some of us might sing traditional prayers from the Book of Psalms. Others take this moment for favorites like Chad Gadya & Who Knows One, which you can find in the appendix. To celebrate the theme of freedom, we might sing songs from the civil rights movement. Or perhaps your crazy Uncle Frank has some parody lyrics about Passover to the tunes from a musical. We’re at least three glasses of wine into the night, so just roll with it.

Fourth Glass of Wine

As we come to the end of the seder, we drink one more glass of wine. With this final cup, we give thanks for the experience of celebrating Passover together, for the traditions that help inform our daily lives and guide our actions and aspirations.

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 fourth and final glass of wine! 


Now it is time for our Chad Gadya challlenge.  How far can you recite Chad Gadya on one breath?  Please begin standing and sit down when you take a breath.

One, two three:  Go!


My father bought it for just two coins. One little goat, one little goat!

Then the cat came and ate the goat that my father bought for just two coins. One little goat, one little goat!

Then the dog came and bit the cat that ate the goat that my father bought for just two coins. One little goat, one little goat!

Then the stick came and hit the dog that bit the cat that ate the goat that my father bought for just two coins. One little goat, one little goat!

Then the fire came and burned the stick that hit the dog that bit the cat that ate the goat that my father bought for just two coins. One little goat, one little goat!

Then the water came and put out the fire that burned the stick that hit the dog that bit the cat that ate the goat that my father bought for just two coins. One little goat, one little goat!

Then the ox came and drank the water that put out the fire that burned the stick that hit the dog that bit the cat that ate the goat that my father bought for just two coins. One little goat, one little goat!

Then the butcher came and slaughtered the ox that drank the water that put out the fire that burned the stick that hit the dog that bit the cat that ate the goat that my father bought for just two coins. One little goat, one little goat!

Then the Angel of Death came and killed the butcher that slaughtered the ox that drank the water that put out the fire that burned the stick that hit the dog that bit the cat that ate the goat that my father bought for just two coins. One little goat, one little goat!

Then God came and defeated the Angel of Death that killed the butcher that slaughtered the ox that drank the water that put out the fire that burned the stick that hit the dog that bit the cat that ate the goat that my father bought for just two coins. One little goat, one little goat!

Source : Abraham Joshua Heschel Quote, Design by
Just to be is a blessing...

Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah,

Nirtzah  marks the conclusion of the seder. Our bellies are full, we have had several glasses of wine, we have told stories and sung songs, and now it is time for the evening to come to a close. At the end of the seder, we honor the tradition of declaring, “Next year in Jerusalem!”

For some people, the recitation of this phrase expresses the anticipation of rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem and the return of the Messiah. For others, it is an affirmation of hope and of connectedness with  Klal Yisrael, the whole of the Jewish community. Still others yearn for peace in Israel and for all those living in the Diaspora.

Though it comes at the end of the seder, this moment also marks a beginning. We are beginning the next season with a renewed awareness of the freedoms we enjoy and the obstacles we must still confront. We are looking forward to the time that we gather together again. Having retold stories of the Jewish people, recalled historic movements of liberation, and reflected on the struggles people still face for freedom and equality, we are ready to embark on a year that we hope will bring positive change in the world and freedom to people everywhere.

In  The Leader's Guide to the Family Participation Haggadah: A Different Night, Rabbi David Hartman writes: “Passover is the night for reckless dreams; for visions about what a human being can be, what society can be, what people can be, what history may become.”

What can  we  do to fulfill our reckless dreams? What will be our legacy for future generations?

Our seder is over, according to Jewish tradition and law. As we had the pleasure to gather for a seder this year, we hope to once again have the opportunity in the years to come. We pray that God brings health and healing to Israel and all the people of the world, especially those impacted by natural tragedy and war. As we say…

לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בִּירוּשָׁלָֽיִם

L’shana haba-ah biy’rushalayim



... Forgive me God, for remaining aloof while others are in need of my assistance.

Wake me up, God, ignite my

passion, fill me with outrage.

Remind me that I am responisble 

for Your world.  Don't allow me

to stand idly by.  Inspire me to act.

Teach me to believe that I can repair

some corner of the world.

When I despair, fill me with hope.

When I dougt my strength, fill

me with faith.  When I am weary, 

renew m spirit.  When I lose

direction, show me the way back

to meaning, back to compassion,

back to You.  Amen.

Commentary / Readings

Chopped liver

I do not have a specific recipe for this dish as I learned by watching the women in my family make this. 

There are many recipes available on line. 

In the past, I have used both beef and chicken liver but I prefer chicken liver.  I use the grinder attachment on my Kitchen Aid mixer.  You can use a food processor but don't over process as this should have a somewhat chunky texture.  I also do not use rendered chicken fat (schmaltz).  You can use butter (obviously NOT kosher) or olive oil.

One container chicken livers ~3/4 -1 lb, cleaned, rinsed, and dried

1-2 onions sliced

~ 6 hard boiled egg


Fry onions in desired fat until soft and light brown.  Sautee chicken livers in desired fat (I use same pan as for onions) until done but not over done.  Alternate putting onion, liver, and egg through the grinder.  If the mixture is dry you can use a bit of chicken broth to moisten.  Also, more onions makes this more moist.  Proportions are based on your eye/palate.  Add salt and chill.

Commentary / Readings

Chicken soup with matzo balls


1 Chicken plus extra wings or backs

2 sticks celery

2 carrots plus one chopped carrot

1 onion

2 parsnips

Salt to taste

Rinse chicken and pat dry.  Peel onion and place in chicken cavity.  Peel carrots, parsnips and cut in half or thirds along with celery.  Place in a stockpot.  Add Chicken.  Add water to just cover the chicken.  Bring to a boil and then simmer about 50-60 minutes.  Remove chicken and veggies.  Add salt. Cool soup and skim.  Can shred some of the chicken and add back if desire.  When serving, I add fresh carrots and cook them in the broth for a bit. 

Matzo balls

I use the mix for matzo balls and follow the directions. Make sure you get the box with only the matzo balls, not with the soup envelope also.  Important to chill the batter at least as long as they say in the recipe.  I have chilled it longer.  Also need to use a big stock pot with a cover.  Make sure your hands are wet when forming the batter into balls. 

Just before serving, add matzo balls to broth.  If you are making in advance, store broth and matzo balls separately.  Heat broth first and add matzo balls to warm at the end.  

Commentary / Readings