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Source : HIAS Haggadah 2021

The Passover story is the Jewish people’s original story of becoming strangers in a strange land. It is the story that reminds us that we, too, have stood in the shoes of refugees and asylum seekers in search of safety and liberty.

With more displaced people around the world than at any time in recorded history, the words of the Haggadah are more poignant and relevant than ever before. As we read these words, we are commanded to put ourselves back into the narrative, to consider ourselves as though we, too, went out from Egypt, from the narrow place. We do this so that we may rise up renewed in our commitment to stand together as a thriving American Jewish movement supporting today’s refugees and asylum seekers.

On Passover, we have the opportunity to remind ourselves why we do this work – to remind ourselves that this is our sacred obligation, amplified by our historic communal experience.

As we lift our voices in song and prayer, we call out together with those who long to be free. This year, there are still many who struggle towards liberation; next year, may we all be free.

Source : Foundation for Family Education, Inc.
(sung to the tune of “Take me out to the ball game")
Take us out of Egypt
Free us from slavery
Bake us some matzah in a haste
Don't worry 'bout flavor--
Give no thought to taste.
Oh it's rush, rush, rush, to the Red Sea
If we don't cross it's a shame
For it's ten plagues,
Down and you're out
At the Pesach history game

Prayer for a Pandemic


(We gratefully acknowledge this contribution from Claudia Schaefer)

May we who must inconveniently shelter in place

Remember those who have neither shelter not place

May we who are forced to keep a social distance for weeks

Remember those whose distance from fresh produce or decent health care is a daily reality

May we who have the luxury of working from home

Remember those who must choose between medicine and rent.


May we who have to cancel pleasure travel

Remember those who have no safe place to go.

May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market

Remember those who have no margin at all.

As fear grips our country

Let us choose love.

During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other

Let us find ways to be the loving embrace to our neighbors.

Source : Various
2020 Seder Order

Source : Traditional Haggadah Text

The blessings below are for a weeknight. (On Shabbat we add the words in parentheses)

וַיְהִי עֶרֶב וַיְהִי בֹקֶר יוֹם הַשִּׁשִּׁי. וַיְכֻלּוּ הַשָׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ וְכָל צְבָאַָם. וַיְכַל אֱלֹקִים בַּיוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וַיִּשְׁבֹּת בַּיוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מִכָּל מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה. וַיְבָרֶךְ אֱלֹהִים אֶת יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי וַיְקַדֵּשׁ אוֹתוֹ כִּי בוֹ שָׁבַת מִכָּל מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר בֶָּרָא אֱלֹהִים לַעֲשׂוֹת

(Vay'hi erev vay'hi voker yom hashi-shi. Vay'chulu hashamayim v'ha-aretz v’choltzva’am. Vay’chal Elohim bayom hashvi’i, m'lachto asher asah, vayishbot bayom hashvi-i, mikol-mlachto asher asah. Vay'vareich Elohim, et-yom hashvi’i, vay'kadeish oto, ki vo shavat mikol-mlachto, asher-bara Elohim la-asot.)

(“And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Now the heavens and all their host were completed. And on the seventh day God finished His work of creation which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, for on that day God rested from His work and ceased creating.)

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָפֶן

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, borei p'ri hagafen.

Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who has created the fruit of the vine.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר בָּחַר בָּנוּ מִכָּל עָם וְרוֹמְמָנוּ מִכָּל לָשׁוֹן וְקִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו. וַתִּתֶּן לָנוּ יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ בְּאַהֲבָה (שַׁבָּתוֹת לִמְנוּחָה וּ) מוֹעֲדִים לְשִׂמְחָה, חַגִּים וּזְמַנִּים לְשָׂשׂוֹן, אֶת יוֹם (הַשַׁבָּת הַזֶה וְאֶת יוֹם) חַג הַמַצוֹת הַזֶה, זְמַן חֵרוּתֵנוּ (בְּאַהֲבָה), מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ, זֵכֶר לִיצִיאַת מִצְרָיִם. כִּי בָנוּ בָחַרְתָּ וְאוֹתָנוּ קִדַּשְׁתָּ מִכָּל הָעַמִּים, (וְשַׁבָּת) וּמוֹעֲדֵי קָדְשֶךָ (בְּאַהֲבָה וּבְרָצוֹן,) בְּשִׂמְחָה וּבְשָׂשׂוֹן הִנְחַלְתָּנוּ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי, מְקַדֵּשׁ (הַשַׁבָּת וְ) יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהַזְּמַנִּים.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, asher bachar banu mikol’am, v'rom'manu mikol-lashon, v'kid'shanu b'mitzvotav, vatiten-lanu Adonai Eloheinu b'ahavah (shabatot limnuchah u) moadim l'simchah, chagim uz'manim l'sason et-yom (hashabat hazeh v'et-yom) chag hamatzot hazeh. Z'man cheiruteinu, (b'ahavah,) mikra kodesh, zeicher litziat mitzrayim. Ki vanu vacharta v'otanu kidashta mikol ha’amim. (v'shabat) umo’adei kod’shecha (b'ahavah uv'ratzon) b'simchah uv'sason hinchaltanu. Baruch atah Adonai, m'kadeish (h’shabbat v') Yisrael v'hazmanim.

Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, Who has chosen us from among all people, and languages, and made us holy through Your mitzvot, giving us lovingly [Shabbat for rest] festivals for joy, and special times for celebration, this [Shabbat and this] Passover, this [given in love] this sacred gathering to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt. You have chosen us, You have shared Your holiness with us among all other peoples. For with [Shabbat and] festive revelations of Your holiness, happiness and joy You have granted us [lovingly] joyfully the holidays. Praised are you, Adonai, Who sanctifies [Shabbat], Israel and the festivals.

On Saturday night include the following section:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא מְאוֹרֵי הָאֵשׁ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַמַבְדִיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לְחֹל, ין אוֹר לְחשֶׁךְ, בֵּין יִשְׂרָאֵל לָעַמִּים, בֵּין יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי לְשֵׁשֶׁת יְמֵי הַמַּעֲשֶׂה. בֵּין קְדֻשַּׁת שַׁבָּת לִקְדֻשַּׁת יוֹם טוֹב הִבְדַּלְתָּ, וְאֶת יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מִשֵּׁשֶׁת יְמֵי הַמַּעֲשֶׂה קִדַּשְׁתָּ. הִבְדַּלְתָּ וְקִדַּשְׁתָּ אֶת עַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּקְדֻשָּׁתֶךָ. ,בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי הַמַּבְדִיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לְקֹדֶשׁ

( Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, borei m'orei ha-eish.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, hamavdil bein kodesh l'chol bein or l'choshech, bein Yisrael la-amim, bein yom hashvi-i l'sheishet y'mei hama-aseh. Bein k'dushat shabat likdushat yom tov hivdalta. V'et-yom hashvi-i misheishet y'mei hama-aseh kidashta. Hivdalta v'kidashta et-am'cha yisra-eil bikdushatecha. Baruch atah Adonai, hamavdil bein kodesh l'kodesh.)

(Praised are You Adonai our God Lord of the universe who created the lights of fire.

Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who makes a distinction between the holy and profane, light and darkness, Israel and the nations, Shabbat and the six workdays. You have made a distinction between the holiness of Shabbat and the holiness of the festival, and You have sanctified Shabbat above the six work-days. You have set apart and made holy Your people Israel with your holiness. Praised are you, Adonai, who distinguishes between degrees of sanctity.)

Say this Shehechiyanu blessing the first Seder night only:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶה

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam,
she’hecheyanu v'ki'manu v'higi-anu laz'man hazeh.

Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe,
who has sustained us, maintained us and enabled us to reach this moment in life.

Source : HIAS Haggadah 2021

Pour the first cup of wine and recite the blessing below as a group:

V’hotzeiti etchem. .. I will free you...

As we remember our own liberation from bondage in Egypt, we express gratitude for the ability to work as God’s partners in continued and continual redemption for today’s refugees and asylum seekers. As our wine cups overflow in this moment of joy, we hold out hope for the day when every person in search of refuge in every corner of the earth can recall a story of freedom, reflect on a journey to security from violence and persecution, and no longer yearn for a safe place to call home. Blessed are You, Adonai our God, who frees those who are oppressed.

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 first cup of wine.

Source : Original

Now, we're going to take the wine/juice that we've poured and each add to Elijah's cup.

Now let's do the same from our water glasses to fill Miriam's cup.

Combining our actions together is what will help Elijah come to ourworld.

 We set an extra place for Elijah and we'll open the door and invite him in later. Miriam was Moses's sister and we honor her for how she helped Moses wich made our story possible today.


On Pesach the four cups of wine remind us of four words of Freedom in Hashem’s promise, and we drink them to show how happy we are to be free.

Write four things which make you feel happy or free.

  1. _____________________
  2. _____________________
  3. _____________________
  4. ______________________
Source : HIAS Haggadah 2019

To begin the Seder, each guest may ritually wash their hands by pouring water over each hand three times, alternating between them. No blessing is recited. After everyone has washed, if all are comfortable, join hands and, together, read the passage below.

We begin our Seder by washing our hands, preparing ourselves to reach back into the original refugee story of the Jewish people. As we consider our own history of escaping violence and persecution at the hands of a merciless tyrant, we also reach forward to those still in need of protection: the more than 68 million displaced people around the world today. In particular, we extend our hands in welcome to those who continue to seek asylum in our country, and we remember the danger of what happens when ordinary people do not stand up to those in seats of power. Now, we join hands to recognize that the work of welcome is the work of each of us and all of us and that we are strongest together.

Source :

As we wash our hands
We pray,
Blessed is the Soul of the Universe,
Breathing us in and breathing us out.
May our breaths continue
And our health and the health of all
Be preserved
In this time of sickness and fear of sickness.
Holy Wholeness,
We take as much responsibility for this as we can
By observing the obligation to wash our hands
For as long as it takes to say this prayer.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה הָ׳ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדַיִם

Source : HIAS Haggadah 2019

Leader: Centuries ago, only those who were free enjoyed the luxury of dipping their food to begin a meal. In celebration of our people’s freedom, tonight, we, too, start our meal by dipping green vegetables. However, we also remember that our freedom came after tremendous struggle. And, so, we dip our vegetables into salt water to recall the ominous waters that threatened to drown our Israelite ancestors as they fled persecution in Egypt, as well as the tears they shed on that harrowing journey to freedom.

We recognize that, today, there are more than 68 million people still making these treacherous journeys away from persecution and violence in their homelands. As we dip the karpas into salt water tonight, we bring to mind those who have risked and sometimes lost their lives in pursuit of safety and liberty.

Group: We dip for the Rohingya father who walked for six days to avoid military capture in his native Myanmar before he came to the Naf River and swam to Bangladesh.

We dip for the Syrian mother rescued from the dark waters of the Mediterranean Sea in the early hours of morning, still holding the lifeless body of her infant child after their small boat capsized.2

We dip for the Somali and Ethiopian refugees deliberately drowned when the smuggler who promised them freedom forced them into the Arabian Sea.

Leader: We dip for these brave souls and for the thousands of other refugees and asylum seekers who have risked their lives in unsafe and unforgiving waters across the globe this past year.

It is a green vegetable that we dip tonight – a reminder of spring, hope, and the possibility of redemption even in the face of unimaginable difficulty. As we mourn those who have lost their lives in search of freedom, we remain hopeful that those who still wander will find refuge.

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 fruit of the earth.

Source :
From Amidst Brokenness

Take the middle matzah of the three on your Seder plate. Break it into two pieces. Wrap the larger piece, the Afikoman, in a napkin to be hidden later. As you hold up the remaining smaller piece, read these words together:

We now hold up this broken matzah, which so clearly can never be repaired. We eat the smaller part while the larger half remains out of sight and out of reach for now. We begin by eating this bread of affliction and, then, only after we have relived the journey through slavery and the exodus from Egypt, do we eat the Afikoman, the bread of our liberation. We see that liberation can come from imperfection and fragmentation. Every day, refugees across the globe experience the consequences of having their lives ruptured, and, yet, they find ways to pick up the pieces and forge a new, if imperfect, path forward.

Source :

Many refugees find themselves in multiple countries before they find a permanent place to begin rebuilding their lives. If they do not speak the language in those countries, refugees face even greater challenges finding employment, and everyday tasks like filling out forms or trying to purchase food can feel nearly impossible.

Children confront language barriers in school. The language of instruction may be the language of the child’s host country – the country to which s/he flees – or it may be the language of their original homeland. This can differ from country to country. One refugee child followed by the Migration Policy Institute experienced a Tanzanian curriculum in English and Swahili during primary school, a Burundian curriculum officially in French and Kirundi but taught in English and Kiswahili during the beginning of secondary school, and a Congolese curriculum taught in French at the end of secondary school.

This exposure to multiple languages ultimately can lead to the academic mastery of none. 

Despite these obstacles, many refugees are beating the odds. In the Harran and Akcakale camps near the border of Syria, 70-year-old women are teaching themselves how to read and thereby inspiring the younger women in the camp to learn new skills in order to sustain themselves. 

Adam Sakhr, a Sudanese refugee who faced execution due to his political and religious views, used the difficulties he experienced when he first arrived in France to create an app called Nowall. When newly arrived refugees text the app, they can receive translation via their mobile phone in the form of a text message, phone call, or face to face meeting with a volunteer interpreter, depending on their need.

Source :

The 1951 Refugee Convention clearly states that host countries must permit asylum seekers and refugees to engage in both wage-earning and self-employment. According to asylum experts, “the right [to work] has been recognized to be so essential to the realization of other rights that without the right to work, all other rights are meaningless.” Even with these legal protections, though, outside of the United States, “many of the world’s refugees, both recognized and unrecognized, are effectively barred from accessing safe and lawful employment.” Despite these challenges, refugees are finding innovative ways to sustain themselves. Paola, a 64 year-old refugee from Jurado, Colombia now living in Jaqué, Panama, started a small business selling tamales with a local Panamanian woman. However, she found that it was di cult to survive and support herself and her grandchildren on the income from tamale-making alone. When she heard about HIAS’ livelihood initiatives to help local refugees learn new sustainable jobs, she submitted a proposal to build a chicken coop and received a grant to seed a successful small chicken farm. She says that this new work has helped her regain some of her dignity and gives her a sense of control that was taken away when she had to flee her home.


"We are instructed in the Holiness Code to treat the strangers in our midst with justice and compassion:

"When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall do him no wrong. The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19:33).

This teaching permeates Jewish tradition and is echoed 35 times in the Torah – the most repeated of any commandment. The history of the Jewish people from Egypt through the Holocaust until today reminds us of the many struggles faced by immigrants throughout the world. As a community of immigrants, we are charged to pursue justice, seek peace and build a society that is welcoming to all of God's creatures, regardless of their immigration status.

In Genesis, three strangers visit Abraham, and he welcomes them into his home and into his heart without question (Genesis 18:1-22). This virtue of hachnasat orchim, welcoming the stranger, drives both our commitment to protecting undocumented immigrants from deportation and our dedication to the hospitality and inclusion of all people."

—Excerpt from the Union for Reform Judaism's Resolution on Protecting Individuals at Risk of Deportation from the United States

Source : From: Sing a Song of Yom Tov in 1986 by Elissa Treuer
Song - Don't sit on the Afikomen

By Elissa Treuer
( Sung to the tune "Glory, Glory Halleluyah" )

My dad at every Seder breaks a matza piece in two
And hides the Afikomen half --
A game for me and you.
Find it, hold it ransom for the Seder isn't through
'till the Afikomen's gone.

Don't sit on the Afikomen.
Don't sit on the Afikomen.
Don't sit on the Afikomen.
Or the meal will last all night.

One year daddu hit it 'neath a pillow on a chair
But just as I raced over, my Aunt Sophie sat down there.
She threw herself upon it - Awful crunching filled the air
And crumbs flew all around.

Don't sit on the Afikomen...

There were matzah crumbs all over - Oh, it was a messy sight.
We swept up all the pieces though it took us half the night.
So, if you want your seder ending sooner than dawn's light,
Don't sit on the Afiko-o-men.

Don't sit on the Afikomen...

Source : Original: Trisha Arlin

The top Matzoh

And bottom Matzoh are,

it is said,

Pesach substitutes

For the two loaves of challah on Shabbat,

Supposedly a reminder

Of the two portions of manna

They received  in the dessert

Every Friday before Shabbat.


But the middle matza?!


That's for the seder.

We break it in half

And call it the bread of affliction,

Just like the unleavened bread

We ate as we fled slavery


Matza Number Two,

The afflicted matza,

We break it in half

And separate ourselves from joy

So we don't forget the pain

That has been ours.

We break it in half

And separate ourselves from the joy

So we can remember the pain

Of others.

All this pain

Lives in this first half of the afflicted matzoh

And we eat this half now,

So that we do not forget that we were slaves

So that we do not enslave others.



We separate the second half of the afflicted matza

(The Afikomen)

From all that hurt

So that we don't forget the  joy that can follow the sorrow.

So that we don't forget the times that we changed things for the better.

And after the meal we will search for that happiness

And we will find it.

And then we eat the Afikomen together

So we don't forget that it is good to be alive

 And we are obligated to share that joy.

Blessed One-ness, we are so grateful for the obligations to remember pain and share joy.



Maggid - Beginning
Source : HIAS Haggadah 2019

The Magid – the story of the Israelites’ journey from slavery to freedom – now begins.


Avadim hayinu l’Pharaoh b’Mitzrayim.

We were slaves to Pharoah in Egypt. 

As we retell our story, we hold in our minds and inscribe on our hearts the stories of the millions of people across the globe who still yearn to be free.

Pour the second cup of wine. 

- Ha Lachma Anyah - 

Ha lachma anyah di achalu av’hatanah v’ar’ah d’Mitzrayim. Kol dich’fin yay-tay v’yaichol, kol ditzrich yay-tay v’yifsach. Hashatah hacha, l’shanah ha’ba’ah b’ar’ah d’Yisrael. Hashatah avdei, l’shanah ha’ba’ah b’nei chorin.

This is the bread of affliction, the poor bread, that our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat, all who are in need 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.

Participant: In fall 2015, with the Syrian refugee crisis making headlines on a daily basis, Melina Macall and Kate McCaffrey each reached out to their rabbi, Elliott Tepperman, to find out how the Jewish community in their New Jersey town was responding. He connected the two, and they teamed up to start the Syria Supper Club in an attempt to change the narrative around refugees. Their first program brought Syrian refugees and members of the local Jewish community together for the “traditional” Jewish version of Christmas dinner: Chinese food.

The two organizers then saw a chance to create a platform for breaking down stereotypes and building mutual understanding in the midst of an often toxic debate around refugees. With food and camaraderie as the common denominators, Macall and McCaffrey conceived of the supper club as a way to create additional pathways to increased independence for resettled refugees in their community who were just getting on their feet in a new country. They also wanted to encourage more people to seek out first-hand encounters with refugees beyond what they read in the news.

The duo began hosting dinners at which refugee cooks would prepare the meal for an assortment of guests. Proceeds go toward supporting the cooks and their families as they begin their new lives. More than 100 dinners later, they have dozens of cooks eager to participate, and the dinners often sell out several weeks in advance.

“On the one hand, you can look at this and just say, ‘Hey, it’s just a dinner party,’” explains Macall. “And on the other hand, you can say, ‘You know what? It’s actually a radical act saying we have faith in humanity.’”

Group: Meeting face to face and breaking bread together blurs the distance between a perceived “us” and “them,” between “refugees” and “non-refugees.” May all find themselves welcome at this table, regardless of how long they have called this country home.

Maggid - Beginning
Source : Quote by Michael Walzer
Michael Walzer, Exodus and Revolution

-- Four Questions
Source : Traditional

                 Maggid – Four Questions


?מַה נִּשְּׁתַּנָה הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילוֹת

Mah nish-ta-na ha-lai-lah ha-zeh mikol ha-lei-lot?

Why is this night of Passover different from all other nights of the year?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה, הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה - כּוּלוֹ מַצָּה

She-b'chol ha-lei-lot anu och'lin cha-meitz u-matzah. Ha-laylah hazeh kulo matzah.

On all other nights, we eat either leavened or unleavened bread, why on this night do we eat only matzah?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת, - הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מָרוֹר

Sheb'chol ha-lei-lot anu och'lin sh'ar y'rakot. Ha-lai-lah h-azeh maror.

On all other nights, we eat vegetables of all kinds, why on this night must we eat bitter herbs?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אֶנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּעַם אֶחָת, - הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעָמִים

Sheb'chol ha-lei-lot ein anu mat-beelin afee-lu pa-am echat.Ha-lai-lah hazeh sh'tei p'ameem.

On all other nights, we do not dip vegetables even once,
why on this night do we dip greens into salt water and bitter herbs into sweet haroset?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין, - הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָנו מְסֻ

Sheb’khol ha-lei-lot anu och-leem bein yo-shveen u-vein m’su-been, ha-lailah hazeh kulanu m’subeen.

On all other nights, everyone sits up straight at the table, why on this night do we recline and eat at leisure?

-- Four Questions
Source : HIAS Haggadah 2019
First Question

Just like the Four Questions of the Passover Haggadah, which traditionally begin the Magid section of the Seder, this is the first of four alternative questions for discussion that you will find scattered throughout this Haggadah. These questions are meant to spark conversations that can happen throughout the Seder.

Participant: “When I found out I got into the University, I immediately called my ‘real’ mom in Afghanistan, whom I hadn’t seen since I was 14. My family, which belongs to the Hazaras, lived under the constant threat of the Taliban, until, one day the latter tried to run me over with a car. My parents feared for my life, and sent me to Iran. At first I was crying all the time. It hurt too much being on my own. When things got tougher there too, I headed to Europe.

I was just 17 when I came once more close to dying, this time in my attempt to cross to Samos on a boat from Turkey, along with four more Afghans. I had never seen the sea before and although I knew how to swim, the waves terrified me. When the sea got really rough and the oars of the boat broke one after another, there was panic. I was rowing with all the strength I had in me. What kept me going was a 13-year-old boy who was constantly asking me ‘If I fall in the sea, will you save me?’ ‘As long as I am alive, you have nothing to fear,’ I kept telling him. We are still good friends with this boy.

I love Thessaloniki, the town where I live now, but if I could, I would return to Afghanistan without second thoughts. My country is beautiful, there are amazing landscapes, natural resources and high mountains. The only thing missing is peace...”

— Hamid, from Afghanistan, living in Greece in 201613

Discuss as a group:

Through the Passover Seder, we reconnect with our biblical journey to liberation, and, yet, we retell the story now mindful of those who are not yet free – those whose futures are, therefore, bound up in our future. We recognize, as Hamid does in this powerful narrative, that the way we live has bearing on the lives of those who are not yet free. Why do you think we retell this story each year? With an eye to the struggles of our time, whose future do you feel is bound up in yours?

-- Four Questions
Source : Original by Heidi Aycock

On all other nights, we get biscuits and rolls,
Fluffy and puffy and full of air holes.
Why on this night, why, tell me why,
Only this flat stuff that’s always so dry.

On all other nights, we eat all kinds of greens,
And I’m starting to like them – except lima beans.
Why on this night, I ask on my knees,
Do we eat stuff so bitter it makes grownups wheeze?

On all other nights, we dip vegies just once –
Just try dipping twice and they’ll call you a dunce.
Why on this night, why, tell me true,
Why double-dipping’s the right thing to do.

On all other nights, we sit up when we munch.
You’ll choke if you slump! You’ll croak if you hunch!
Why on this night, if anyone knows,
Do we get to recline on my mom’s good pillows.

Why is this night so different from most?
Why do we do things so odd and so gross?
Why do we tell the same stories and stuff?
Because when it’s Pesach, it’s never enough!

-- Four Children
Source : HIAS Haggadah 2019
Four Children

Below is a contemporary adaptation of the traditional Four Children from the Passover Haggadah. Read these words together and then discuss the question that follows:

The one who ignores . . .

She turns off the news and closes the newspaper, speechless as she considers the magnitude of the problem. “68 million displaced people?” she wonders, “It couldn’t possibly be that many.”

The one who deflects . . .

They want to attend the rally for refugees and sign that petition, but they lost track of time with so many other pressing issues demanding their attention. “Someone else will take this one,” they console themselves, “I’ve got other priorities.”

The one who abandons . . .

He knows that Jewish values command him to welcome the stranger, but he cannot reconcile that with his worries about the economy and his fear of terrorism. “It’s not the same as when my grandparents came to this country,” he says.

The ones who understand . . .

They see that the Jewish refugee story never really ends; our role in the story shifts. Together, they take actions big and small. While they know they cannot complete the work, they do not desist from trying to make a difference. “We used to help refugees because they were Jewish,” they say, “But now we help refugees because we are Jewish.”

Discuss as a group:

When we talk about the global refugee crisis, many of us may struggle to reconcile one or more of these voices within ourselves or we hear them in family members and friends. How do you respond to your own struggle when you think about taking action in support of refugees and asylum seekers? How do you respond to the concerns of others?

-- Four Children
Source :

The Ballad of the Four Sons
(to the tune of "Clementine")

wriiten by Ben Aronin in 1948

Said the father to his children,

"At the seder you will dine,

You will eat your fill of matzah,

You will drink four cups of wine."

Now this father had no daughters,

But his sons they numbered four.

One was wise and one was wicked,

One was simple and a bore.

And the fourth was sweet and winsome,

he was young and he was small.

While his brothers asked the questions

he could scarcely speak at all.

Said the wise one to his father

"Would you please explain the laws?

Of the customs of the seder

Will you please explain the cause?"

And the father proudly answered,

"As our fathers ate in speed,

Ate the paschal lamb 'ere midnight

And from slavery were freed."

So we follow their example

And 'ere midnight must complete

All the seder and we should not

After 12 remain to eat.

Then did sneer the son so wicked

"What does all this mean to you?"

And the father's voice was bitter

As his grief and anger grew.

"If you yourself don't consider

As son of Israel,

Then for you this has no meaning

You could be a slave as well."

Then the simple son said simply

"What is this," and quietly

The good father told his offspring

"We were freed from slavery."

But the youngest son was silent

For he could not ask at all.

His bright eyes were bright with wonder

As his father told him all.

My dear children, heed the lesson

and remember evermore

What the father told his children

Told his sons that numbered four.

-- Four Children
Source : New American Haggadah

Some scholars believe there are four kinds of parents as well.

The Wise Parent is an utter bore. "Listen closely, because you are younger than I am," says the Wise Parent, "and I will go on and on about Jewish history, based on some foggy memories of my own religious upbringing, as well as an article in a Jewish journal I have recently skimmed." The Wise Parent must be faced with a small smile of dim interest.

The Wicked Parent tries to cram the story of our liberation into a set of narrow opinions about the world. "The Lord led us out of Egypt," the Wicked Parent says, "which is why I support a bloodthirsty foreign policy and am tired of certain types of people causing problems." The Wicked Parent should be told in a firm voice, "With a strong hand God rescued the Jews from bondage, but it was my own clumsy hand that spilled hot soup in your lap."

The Simple Parent does not grasp the concept of freedom. "There will be no macaroons until you eat all your brisket," says the Simple Parent, at a dinner honoring the liberation of oppressed peoples. "Also, stop slouching at the table." In answer to such statements, the Wise Child will roll his eyes in the direction of the ceiling and declare, "Let my people go!"

The Parent Who Is Unable to Inquire has had too much wine, and should be excused from the table.

-- Four Children
Source : Matan
Four Children

“The Four Children” provides an opportunity to talk about modern-day labels and how we think of people with varying strengths and weaknesses. Can any child really be summarized with one terse label? Can any individual be described so succinctly – wise, wicked, simple, and not knowing how to ask? Advocates for children with learning differences (or anyone with "special needs") often talk about “people-first language.” For example, we talk about a “child with autism” but not an “autistic child;” we refer to “children with learning disabilities” but not “learning disabled children.” The differences may seem slight. But we use people-first language to recognize the whole person and not identify him/her by any one ability or disability. So, too, we can think about – and discuss - the four children of the Passover seder as parts of a whole.
-- Four Children
Source : Matan
The Wise Child

The "wise child" comes first in our reading of the four children, as if to say this child is ranked above all others; that being wise is the attribute to which all others should aspire. But what does it mean to be wise? Does it mean that a child is "smart" only in traditional ways - i.e. he/she does very well in school?

Is this definition of "wise" too narrow?

What might we miss about the "wise child" when we think only of "book smarts" or the ability to adapt to a particular teacher's methods of instruction?

What might we miss about the other children who are not considered "wise" in this traditional way?

-- Four Children
Source : Matan
The Wicked Child

There is a function behind every behavior. What is this "wicked child" trying to tell the adults in his/her life? No child misbehaves in order to become someone's least favorite person - so what else is going on?

Are the child's basic physical needs (sleep, nutrition) being met?

Is the child overwhelmed by sensory input?

Is the child having difficulty understanding what is expected of him/her?

Do the adults' expectations match the child's current level of functioning?

Is the child trying to show you that something is too hard? Too easy?

Is the child socially successful, or the target of bullying, teasing, or simply being left out?

It is only by identifying the function behind a behavior that we can turn the "wicked" child's actions into productive, acceptable behaviors! 

-- Four Children
Source : Matan
The Simple Child

Is this child really simple?

Sometimes, children understand more than they are able to convey. Individuals with auditory processing difficulties or other learning disabilities, speech/language delays, anxiety and more may be perceived as "simple" when, in fact, it is the adults in their lives that are too "simple" or one-dimensional in their quest for "information output". 

Everyone learns differently. One person could be a visual learner, while another may prefer hearing information or talking it through. Still others need to learn by moving and feeling. How do you learn best? How might you discover what the "simple" child knows if you think about how he/she learns best?

How does Passover take into account all different types of learners? When do you feel most engaged in the rituals of the Seder? Do all of the people at your Seder feel the same way? What does this tell us about individual learning styles?

-- Four Children
Source : Matan
The Child Who Doesn't Know how to Ask a Question

The child who "doesn't know how to ask a question" is the last of the four children mentioned, as though he/she is ranked at the "bottom of the class". How do we perceive people who are different than ourselves? What would our interactions be like if we took a moment to recognize that everyone is created " b'tzelem eholhim " - in God's image - before we passed judgment? 

Asking a question and being verbal are not mutually exclusive, though too often we see them as being just that. What tools can we provide for children who need help communicating their thoughts? How can we help them formulate their questions?

What would someone miss out on about you if they formed all of their opinions within seconds of meeting you? What would you want that person to know about you? 


-- 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 : HIAS Haggadah 2019

Lift second cup of wine.


Vehi she’amda la’avoteinu v’lanu. She’lo echad bilvad amad aleinu l’chaloteinu, elah she’bechol dor vador omdim aleinu l’chaloteinu, V’Ha’Kadosh Baruch Hu matzileinu mi’yadam.

This is the promise that has sustained our ancestors and us. For not one enemy alone rose up to destroy us; rather, in every generation, they rise up to destroy us, and the Holy Blessed One rescues us from their hands.


As a refugee people – an immigrant people – we know that anti-Jewish and anti-immigrant hatred are deeply entwined. Tonight, we retell the story of the moment when first these hatreds met thousands of years ago, as Pharaoh declared that the Israelites had become too numerous in Egypt. Sadly, this narrative has repeated itself throughout Jewish history and continues to be weaponized, often with lethal consequences.

Today, though, is the first moment in history when Jews are not predominately refugees. Rooted in our communal experience, in this generation, as in all generations before us, the Jewish people knows that our futures are bound up with those who now seek to enter our country, particularly refugees and asylum seekers fleeing violence and persecution. May no more generations suffer at the hands of those who vilify the other, and may we continue to be God’s partners in the ongoing redemption of those who long for freedom.

Place second cup of wine down on the table without drinking.

-- Exodus Story
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?

-- Exodus Story
Source : =Traditional

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
To let My people go!

The Lord told Moses what to do,
Let My people go!
To lead the children of Israel through,
Let My people go!

You need not always weep and mourn,
Let My people go!
And wear these slav’ry chains forlorn,
Let My people go!

-- Ten Plagues
Source : HIAS Haggadah 2019
10 Plagues

Remembering the ten plagues that God brought upon the Egyptians when Pharaoh refused to free the Israelites, we have the opportunity now to recognize that the world is not yet free of adversity and struggle. This is especially true for refugees and asylum seekers. After you pour out a drop of wine for each of the ten plagues that Egypt suffered, we invite you to then pour out drops of wine for ten modern plagues facing refugee communities worldwide and in the United States. After you have finished reciting the plagues, choose a few of the expanded descriptions to read aloud.


Most refugees initially flee home because of violence that may include sexual and gender-based violence, abduction, or torture. The violence grows as the conflicts escalate. Unfortunately, many refugees become victims of violence once again in their countries of first asylum. A 2013 study found that close to 80% of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) living in Kampala, Uganda had experienced sexual and gender-based violence either in the DRC or in Uganda.


Forced to flee their home due to violence and persecution, refugees may make the dangerous journey to safety on foot, by boat, in the back of crowded vans, or riding on the top of train cars. Over the last several years, the United States has seen record numbers of unaccompanied minors fleeing violence in Central America. Many of these children have survived unimaginably arduous journeys, surviving abduction, abuse, and rape. Erminia was just 15 years old when she came to the United States from El Salvador in 2013. After her shoes fell apart while she walked through the Texas desert, she spent three days and two nights walking in only her socks. “There were so many thorns,” she recalls, “and I had to walk without shoes. The entire desert.”15


The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees affirms that the right to education applies to refugees. However, research shows that refugee children face far greater language barriers and experience more discrimination in school settings than the rest of the population.16 Muna, age 17 in 2016, a Syrian refugee living in Jordan, who dropped out of school, said, “We can’t get educated at the cost of our self-respect.”17


Just as a 1939 poll from the American Institute of Public Opinion found that more than 60% of Americans opposed bringing Jewish refugees to the United States in the wake of World War II, today we still see heightened xenophobia against refugees. This fear can manifest through workplace discrimination, bias attacks against Muslim refugees, anti-refugee legislation such as the American SAFE Act of 2015 (H.R. 4038) which passed the House but was thankfully defeated in the Senate, and the various Executive Orders issued in 2017 and 2018 to limit refugees’ ability to come to the United States.

-- Ten Plagues
Source :

One Little Goat - חַד גַּדְיָא

A long time ago there was a little goat

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

Chad gadya, chad gadya,

Then came the cat, and ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

Chad gadya, chad gadya,

Then came the dog, and bit the cat, that ate the goat,

Which father bought for two zuzim.

Chad gadya, chad gadya,

Then came the stick, and beat the dog,

that bit the cat, that ate the goat,

Which father bought for two zuzim.

Chad gadya, chad gadya,

Then came the fire, and burned the stick,

that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

Chad gadya, chad gadya,

Then came the water, 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.

Chad gadya, chad gadya,

Then came the ox, 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.

Chad gadya, chad gadya,

One little goat, one little goat:

Then came the slaughterer, 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.

Chad gadya, chad gadya,

Then came the angel of death, and slew the slaughterer,

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.

Chad gadya, chad gadya,

Then came the Holy One, Blessed be He,

and smote the angel of death, who slew the slaughterer,

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.

Chad gadya, chad gadya,

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source :
Dayenu - Today's Refugees

Take turns reading aloud before Dayeinu:

Dayeinu . It would have been enough. But would it have been enough? If God had only parted the sea but not allowed us to cross to safety, would it have been enough? If we had crossed to freedom and been sustained wandering through the wilderness but not received the wisdom of Torah to help guide us, would it have been enough?

What is enough?

As we sing the traditional “ Dayeinu ” at the Passover Seder, we express appreciation even for incomplete blessings. We are reminded that, in the face of uncertainty, we can cultivate gratitude for life’s small miracles and we can find abundance amidst brokenness. Just as the story of our own people’s wandering teaches us these lessons time and time again, so, too, do the stories of today’s refugees. The meager possessions they bring with them as they flee reflect the reality of rebuilding a life from so very little.

For Um, the blessing of being alive in Jordan after escaping violence in Homs in the company of her husband with only the clothes on her back – Dayeinu : it would have been enough.

For Dowla, the wooden pole balanced on her shoulders, which she used to carry each of her six children when they were too tired to walk during the 10-day trip from Gabanit to South Sudan – Dayeinu : it would have been enough.

For Farhad, the photograph of his mother that he managed to hide under his clothes when smugglers told him to throw everything away as he escaped Afghanistan – Dayeinu : it would have been enough.

For Sajida, the necklace her best friend gave her to remember her childhood in Syria – Dayeinu : it would have been enough.

For Muhammed, scrolling through the list of numbers on his cell phone, his only connection to the people he has known his whole life – Dayeinu : it would have been enough.

For Magboola, the cooking pot that was small enough to carry but big enough to cook sorghum to feed herself and her three daughters on their journey to freedom – Dayeinu : it would have been enough.

Even as we give thanks for these small miracles and incomplete blessings in the world as it is, we know that this is not enough. We dream of the world as it could be. We long for a world in which safe passage and meager possessions blossom into lives rebuilt with enough food on the table, adequate housing, and sustainable jobs. We fight for the right of all people fleeing violence and persecution to be warmly welcomed into the lands in which they seek safety, their strength honored and their vulnerability protected. When these dreams become a reality, Dayeinu : it will have been enough.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : HIAS Haggadah 2019
Second Cup of Wine

Lift the second cup of wine and read together:

V’hitzalti etchem...  I will deliver you...

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.

Just as we remember all of the times throughout history when the nations of the world shut their doors on Jews fleeing violence and persecution in their homelands, so, too, do we remember with gratitude the bravery of those who took us in during our times of need – the Ottoman Sultan who welcomed Spanish Jews escaping the Inquisition, Algerian Muslims who protected Jews during pogroms initiated by the French Pied-Noir, and the righteous gentiles hiding Jews in their homes during World War II. Today, we aspire to stand on the right side of history as we ask our own government to take a leadership role in protecting the world’s most vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers. May we find the bravery to open up our nation and our hearts to those who are in need. Blessed are You, Adonai our God, who delivers those in search of safety.

Drink the second cup of wine.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : Original
If God had only set us free,

Redeemed us all from slavery,

That would have been enough for me!


If God had given us Shabbat,

That really would have meant a lot,

But did God stop there?

No, God did not!


God's Torah we were also given,

And the Promised Land to live in,

For all these things our thanks are given.


-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : Traditional

Source : HIAS Haggadah 2019

Each guest may ritually wash their hands by pouring water over each hand three times, alternating between them. Then, recite the blessing below together.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדָֽיִם

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam,
asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al nitilat yadayim.

Blessed are You, Our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has sanctified us with commandments
and has commanded us on the washing of hands.


As we pour water over our hands in anticipation for the meal to come, we are mindful of
the many roles that water can play in our lives. At this moment, we use it to cleanse and prepare. But, for many around the world, water is the difference between life and death, between freedom and continued oppression. For the millions of asylum seekers worldwide who undertake treacherous journeys out of persecution, the oceans and seas are precarious pathways to liberty, often taking their lives in their depths. For the millions of refugees living in camps across the globe, access to clean water determines whether they will survive to rebuild their lives. We pray that all those in search of refuge find the transformative waters they need, encountering life renewed and anew.

Source : HIAS Haggadah 2019

Leader: At the Passover Seder, we eat matzah as we remember the modest means by which the Israelites sustained themselves on their journey out of slavery, enabling them to survive and thrive in their new homeland.

Like our ancestors, today’s refugees rebuild their lives with precious few resources at their disposal. These meager resources often become the seeds of their liberation as they go on to lay down new roots, rebuild their lives, and make important contributions to their local communities and our country as a whole.

A participant reads the following story:

Tashitaa Tufaa, Ethiopian refugee living in Minnesota

In 1992, at the age of 24, Tashitaa Tufaa came to the United States, where he sought political asylum. Though Tashitaa had earned a college degree in his native Ethiopia, when he came to the U.S., the only work he could find was as a dishwasher, making less than $6
per hour. In order to make ends meet, Tashitaa took on several jobs, including working as a taxi driver.

After almost a decade of working long, hard hours, Tashitaa challenged himself to start his own business. In 2003, he went door-to-door in his new home state of Minnesota to try to find clients for his new transportation business. Three years later, Tashitaa had successfully launched the Metropolitan Transportation Network (MTN). Started with just his taxi and his wife’s minivan, this new company was so successful that Tashitaa was able to buy school buses; though, he had to pay for them in cash. Today, MTN is one of the largest bus companies in Minnesota, employing hundreds of people and generating tens of millions of dollars
in income. In addition to running the business, Tashitaa also mentors refugees across the country to help them achieve financial self-sufficiency and success for themselves and their families.

Take turns reading these facts aloud:

Did You Know?

  • Though refugees living in the United States for five years or less have a median household income of roughly $22,000, that number more than triples in the following decades, growing far faster than other foreign-born groups.

  • Refugees are taxpayers. Over a twenty-year period, the majority of refugees fully pay back the cost of resettlement and other related benefits. They contribute, on average, $21,324 more in taxes than any costs associated with their initial resettlement.

  • Refugees across the United States are helping to revitalize Main Street. In Akron, Ohio, Bhutanese and Burmese refugees have transformed the North Hill neighborhood from a landscape of vacant storefronts into a bustling corridor of grocery stores, clothing vendors, and jewelry shops. Bosnian refugees in St. Louis have transformed a section of the city called Bevo Mill, once known for its high crime, into an area full of popular Bosnian-owned restaurants, bars, and cafes.

Discuss one of the following questions together:

1. Does Tashitaa’s story resonate with your own family’s story of coming to the United States?

2. How might you use Tashitaa’s story or the facts above to respond to those who claim that refugees take more from the American economy than they contribute?

When your discussion concludes, recite the following blessings as a group, distribute the top and middle matzot set aside earlier in the Seder, and then taste the matzah:

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.


Group: With the taste of bitterness just before our lips, we remind ourselves of the bitterness that led to the enslavement of our ancestors in Egypt. Tonight, we force ourselves to experience the stinging pain of the maror so that we should remember that, appallingly, even centuries later, the bitterness of xenophobia still oppresses millions of people around the world, forcing them to flee their homes.

As we taste the bitter herbs, we vow not to let words of hatred pass through our own lips and to root out intolerant speech wherever we may hear it, so that no one should fall victim to baseless hatred.

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.

Eat the maror. 


Group: We now prepare to build the Hillel sandwich, combining the bitter maror with the sweet charoset.

With the bitterness of the maror still stinging our tongues and the knowledge that fear of “the other” continues to displace people still stinging our hearts, we take comfort in knowing that there can be an antidote to that hatred. It is up to each of us to temper the hatred that still plagues our world by joining together and saying “Dayeinu” – it is, now, enough.

Combine maror and charoset between two pieces of matzah and recite the following as a group:

Zeicher l’mikdash k’Hillel. Kein asah Hillel biz’man shebeit hamikdash hayah kayam. Hayah koreich matzah umaror v’ochel b’yachad, l’kayeim mah shene-emar: Al matzot um’rorim yochluhu.

In memory of the Temple, according to Hillel. This is what Hillel would do when the Temple still existed: he would combine matzah and maror and eat them together, in order to fulfill the teaching, “with matzot and maror they shall eat [the Passover sacrifice]” (Numbers 9:11).

After you make the Hillel sandwich, discuss together:

Over the next year, what will you do to temper the bitterness of xenophobia, as well as anti-refugee and anti-Muslim hate?

Shulchan Oreich
Source : HIAS Haggadah 2019

Just before the meal is served, the group reads:

The egg that we place on the Seder plate is meant to remind us of the natural cycle of life – that, even after enormous suffering, we can experience renewal and rebirth. Just as the Jewish people not only survived but also thrived following our exodus from Egypt and the many persecutions and expulsions we experienced thereafter, so, too, do today’s refugees rebuild their lives in extraordinary ways. Let us now read three of their stories.

Participants each read a story:

Evelyn Lauder (née Hausner), a native of Vienna, Austria, fled Nazi-occupied Europe with her family as a young child and came
to the United States with HIAS’ assistance. Shortly after starting her teaching career in Harlem, Evelyn met and married Leonard Lauder. After they were married, she joined the business founded by her mother-in-law: Estée Lauder Companies. She ultimately became Senior Corporate Vice President, created the Clinique brand, and developed its product line. Evelyn Lauder’s philanthropy and passion brought breast cancer and women’s health issues to the forefront of public awareness. She co-established The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which formalized the pink ribbon as a worldwide symbol for breast cancer awareness and has raised over $350 million to support breast cancer research across the globe.


Having fled civil war in his native Liberia in 1994, Wilmot Collins came to this country as a refugee. In the days before he and his wife left Monrovia, food was so scarce they once ate toothpaste. Once resettled in the United States, Wilmot became a U.S. citizen and worked for the Montana Department of Health and Human Services, specializing in child protection. He has also been a member of the United States Navy Reserve. Today, he is mayor of Helena, Montana, having defeated a four-term incumbent mayor to become the first black person to be elected the mayor of any city in the history of Montana.


Sam (Yamin) Yingichay grew up in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) as one of an estimated 168 million children between the
ages of 5 and 14 engaged in child labor around the world. Forced into constructing roads and living with an abusive stepfather, at 14, Yamin escaped and began to search for her birth father. Eventually, she met a man claiming to know her father and followed him to Thailand, where she was once again sold into hard labor. Holding onto hope that she would one day be free, Yamin survived and escaped to Malaysia where she was granted refugee status and accepted for resettlement to the United States. In 2008, Yamin arrived in Grand Haven, Michigan to live with a foster family. Today, Yamin is studying to become a nurse. She dreams of being able to support her family still living in Myanmar and to help other refugees in the United States.

Shulchan Oreich
Source : Traditional

Shulchan Orech  שֻׁלְחָן עוֹרֵךְ

Now is time to enjoy the festival meal and participate in lively discussion. It is permitted to drink wine between the second and third cups.

Source : HIAS Haggadah 2019

As the meal is ending, the youngest participants – in body or spirit! – should go look for the afikomen, which was hidden earlier in the meal. Once it is found, read the passage below as the group shares in eating the afikomen.

Earlier in our Seder, we broke the middle matzah, hiding the larger piece out of sight. What was broken and out of reach to us now becomes our sustenance. As we share in the afikomen, we acknowledge that there are those who would ignore today’s refugees and asylum seekers, overwhelmed by their suffering or even actively opposed to responding to their plight. Our sacred task, then, is to bring their stories into view and ensure that they are not hidden from the world’s attention.

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 :
Ruth's Cup: A New Passover Ritual Celebrating Jewish Diversity

Ruth’s Cup: A New Passover Ritual Honoring Jewish Diversity

by Rabbi Heidi Hoover 

Mitzrayim, the Hebrew word for Egypt, is also interpreted to mean “narrow places.” At Passover, we celebrate being released from the restrictions that limit us and make our lives smaller. We are not fully free as long as we are kept down by attitudes and conditions that are unjust.

Many Jews assume that “real Jews” look a certain way and have one path to Judaism — being born Jewish. When confronted with Jews who don’t fit these stereotypes, even well-meaning Jews may treat them as less Jewish. Jews of color and/or those who have converted to Judaism find that other Jews can act insensitively out of ignorance.

In the biblical book that bears her name, Ruth is a Moabite who marries an Israelite living in Moab. After her husband’s death, Ruth insists on accompanying her Israelite mother-in-law, Naomi, when she returns to Israel. There she cares for Naomi and ends up marrying one of her relatives. Because of Ruth’s declaration to Naomi: “Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16), she is considered the prototypical convert to Judaism. Ruth becomes the great-grandmother of King David, from whom our tradition says the Messiah will descend.

The following ritual—Ruth’s Cup—may be added after Elijah’s Cup or anywhere in the seder. It honors not only those who have converted to Judaism, but the overall diversity of the Jewish people:


At Passover we fill a cup with wine for Elijah and open the door to welcome him to our seder. Elijah symbolizes our hope for the Messianic age, when the world will be perfected, and all people will live in harmony and peace.

We also fill a cup of wine for Ruth, the first Jew by choice and great-grandmother of King David. We open the door to signify our welcome of Ruth and all who follow in her footsteps—those who become part of our people, part of our diversity.

All rise, face the open door, and read together:

We declare that we do not have to wait for the Messianic age to make sure that every Jew feels fully comfortable and integrated into our people, no matter what their skin, hair or eye color is; no matter what their name sounds like; no matter how they became Jewish—through birth or through conversion, as a child or as an adult.

Close the door and be seated.

May your Passover be liberating and enlightening!

Optional discussion question –  Share a time when you felt like an outsider but were actively welcomed into a new community or space. How did that happen? How did it make you feel?

download here:

Source : HIAS Haggadah 2019

Hallel is a time to offer words of praise and song. Consider singing some of your favorite songs about justice or read the words below. You may also consider singing “Pitchu Li” before you begin the reading.

Pitchu li sha’arei tzedek avo vam odeh Yah.

Open for me the gate sof righteousness that I may enter them and praise God.


Open up the gates of freedom.
Open them to those in need of safety and protection.
Open up the gates of mercy.
Open them to those who forget that we were once strangers in the land of Egypt, the narrow place.
Open up the gates of justice.
Open them to those who remember that we know the soul of the stranger. Open up the gates of righteousness.
Open them to those who walk hand-in-hand and heart-to-heart with today’srefugees and asylum seekers.
Together, we will find the path to freedom.

Pour the fourth cup of wine. 

Source : HIAS Haggadah 2019
Fourth Cup of Wine

Fourth Question

Discuss as a group: Just as we open the door for Elijah , what or to whom do you want to open the door to in your own life this year? What fears do you have about doing so?

Fourth Cup of Wine

Lift the fourth cup of wine and read together.

V’lakachti etchem...  I will redeem you...

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. 

When we rise up from our Seder tables, let us commit ourselves to stamping out xenophobia and hatred in every place that it persists. Echoing God’s words when God said, “I take you to be my people,” let us say to those who seek safety in our midst, “we take you to be our people.” May we see past difference and dividing lines and remember, instead, that we were all created b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God. May we see welcoming the stranger at our doorstep not as a danger but an opportunity – to enrich the fabric of our country, to deepen our experience of the world around us, and to live out our Jewish values in action. Blessed are You, Adonai Our God, who has created us all in Your image.

Drink the fourth cup of wine.

Source : Telling the Story: A Passover Haggadah Explained

There is a word in Hebrew — Teshuvah — that means return. It is an acknowledgement that there is always a chance for forgiveness, redemption and change. Our traditions teach that Passover is open to all. Everyone is welcome at this table. There is always room. Because no one is ever turned away, there is always an opportunity for a rebirth of spirit.

As a sign of hospitality to all, we open the door to our homes and symbolically invite anyone who wants to join us to come inside.

At this point, the children open the door.


"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.

Source : HIAS Haggadah 2019

Before you conclude the Seder and say the words “next year in Jerusalem,” read this section and perform the closing ritual – the fifth communal cup.

Leader: At the beginning of the Passover Seder, we are commanded to consider ourselves as though we, too, had gone out from Egypt. At the end of the Seder (and once in the middle) – we say the words, “Next year in Jerusalem” to recognize that, just as redemption came for our ancestors, so, too, will redemption come for us in this generation. For those of us fortunate enough to have a roof over our heads, we may understand these words to mean that the parts of us that feel adrift will find steady footing. However, for the world’s more than 68 million displaced people and refugees, these words can be a literal message of hope that they will be able to rebuild their lives in a safe place.

Participant: After experiencing unimaginable trauma and often making harrowing journeys out of danger, refugees across the United States are finding liberation after oppression. For Mohammad Ay Toghlo and his wife, Eidah Al Suleiman, the dream of “Next year in Jerusalem” has become a reality in Buffalo, New York. After war came to their village outside Damascus, they witnessed the murder of their pregnant daughter and the kidnapping of their son. They sold their car to pay a large ransom and then ultimately escaped to Lebanon. After a lengthy vetting process, Mohammed, Eidah, and their youngest son, Najati, received word they would be resettled by HIAS through the Jewish Family Service of Buffalo. Mohammed says that, when he found out, he thought he was dreaming because “the United States is such a big thing for us that I don’t even see that in my dreams; I was so happy.” Najati is learning English and enrolled in school, and he says that, when he finds himself on the street on the way to school or to an appointment and he needs assistance, people go out of their way to communicate with him and help, even reading his body language to try to understand what he needs. While the family’s move is bittersweet because their oldest son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren remain in Lebanon and they worry constantly about their safety, Najati says that, here, in the United States, “wherever we go, we find helpful, loving people.” As he settles into his new life here, Najati made a drawing to express his gratitude for the opportunities that the Jewish Family Service of Buffalo and the United States government have provided him and his family. The drawing expresses thanks to the United States and features a large Jewish star, surrounded by the phrase “Thank you, Jewish Family” in Arabic. The family’s life in Buffalo is not free from difficulty, but they are beginning to pick up the broken pieces of the trauma they have experienced to fulfill new hopes and new dreams here in America.

Group: As we now end the Seder, let us pass around a fifth cup into which we will each pour a drop of wine as we express our prayers for the world’s refugees.

Pass an empty wine glass around the Seder table and have everyone add a drop of wine from their untasted cup (from the “Kavanah for Opening the Door for Elijah”) into this new communal cup. After everyone has added some wine to this fifth communal cup, read this blessing aloud together:

Tonight, we honor the strength and resilience of refugees and asylum seekers across the globe. We commit ourselves to supporting them as they rebuild their lives and to championing their right for protection. Just as our own people now eat the bread of liberation, we pray that today’s refugees and asylum seekers will fulfill their dreams of rebuilding their lives in safety and freedom in the year to come.

Blessed are all those who yearn to be free.
Blessed are we who commit ourselves to their freedom.
Blessed are You, Adonai Our God, source of strength and liberation.

לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָ בִּירוּשָׁלָֽיִם

L’shana ha’ba’ah b’Yirushalayim!

Source : Traditional

Nirtzah נרצה

After all the singing is concluded we rise and recite together the traditional formula, the Seder is concluded .

חֲסַל סִדּוּר פֶּסַח כְּהִלְכָתוֹ, כְּכָל מִשְׁפָּטוֹ וְחֻקָתוֹ. כַּאֲשֶׁר זָכִינוּ לְסַדֵּר אוֹתוֹ. כֵּן נִזְכֶּה לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ. זָךְ שׁוֹכֵן מְעוֹנָה, קוֹמֵם קְהַל עֲדַת מִי מָנָה. בְּקָרוֹב נַהֵל נִטְעֵי כַנָּה. פְּדוּיִם לְצִיוֹן בְּרִנָּה.

Chasal sidur pesach k'hilchato, k'chol mishpato v'chukato. Ka-asher zachinu l'sadeir oto, kein nizkeh la-asoto. Zach shochein m'onah, komeim k'hal adat mi manah. B'karov naheil nitei chanah, p'duyim l'tzion b'rinah.

The Passover Seder is concluded, according to each traditional detail with all its laws and customs. As we have been privileged to celebrate this Seder, so may we one day celebrate it in Jerusalem. Pure One who dwells in the high places, support your People countless in number. May you soon redeem all your People joyfully in Zion.

At the conclusion of the Seder, everyone joins in singing:

לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בִּירוּשַָׁלָיִם

L'shana Haba'ah b'Y’rushalayim

Next Year in Jerusalem!

Source : HIAS Haggadah 2019

The American Jewish movement for refugees is vibrant and strong. You can get involved by educating yourself and others, speaking up, taking to the streets, volunteering, organizing your community to take action, and/or donating to support HIAS’ work helping refugees rebuild their lives in the U.S. and around the world.

Visit for more information about all of these ways to help refugees.

Commentary / Readings