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Introduction
Source : Adrienne Cooper

If my voice were louder,
If my body stronger,
I would tear through the streets,
Crying: Peace, Peace, Peace.

Volt ikh gehat koyekh,
Volt ikh gelofn in di gasn,
Volt ikh geshrign sholem,
Sholem, Sholem, Sholem.

Lu haya li koach,
Hayiti ratsa barechov,
Hayiti tsoeket shalom,
Shalom, Shalom, Shalom.

This song - in English, Yiddish, and Hebrew - was written by Jewish singer, musician, and activist Adrienne Cooper. It comes from a much older Shabbat tune. Adrienne Cooper was a leader in Workmen's Circle and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice.

Introduction

Welcome to this Liberation Seder. Passover is the season of liberation. As Jewish students, we know that our liberation is bound up in the liberation of all people. In the last year, we have seen countless attacks on the freedom and humanity of both Jews and other oppressed groups. We have seen the rights of immigrants and refugees attacked both here and in Israel. The rights of people of color, queer people, women, Muslims, and Jews are under threat.

On Passover, we celebrate our freedom from slavery in Egypt in a miraculous story of liberation. We remind ourselves that our ancestors were slaves and wanderers, and we rejoice in the freedom we now enjoy. By reminding us of our history in slavery, the Jewish tradition asks us to think critically about the privilege of freedom. Tonight, we sit in the empathy that Passover evokes in the Jewish people as we consider the hardship our ancestors faced and our responsibilities today.

Introduction
Source : Rabbis for Human Rights

We are gathered around this seder table as b'nei khorin, free people who still remember the long years of oppression. We have vowed never to become oppressors ourselves. Yet, we know how easy it is to harden our hearts to those who have paid an excessive price for our people's prosperity and security. Tonight we leave a place at our table for those who remain victims of oppression.

Take a moment now to think about a cause you care about and dedicate the seder to it. Introduce yourself to the people sitting on either side of you. Feel free to share the cause with the people next to you if you so choose.

This year we dedicate our seders to all of us, to our insistence on intersectionality. May you find moments in this seder to exhale, to lean your head on the shoulder of a friend, to feel yourself arriving on the shores of liberation. And may you find moments to carry one another across, your pain and your losses, your visions and your victories, because this time it’s all of us or none.

Introduction
Source : Jews For Racial and Economic Justice Racial Justice Haggadah

Z’roa–זרוע: a shankbone or beet, which represents the mighty hand and outstretched arm that liberated us from Mitzrayim.

Maror-מרור: horseradish, which represents the bitterness of slavery in Mitzrayim.

Charoset–חרוסת: a mixture of dried fruits and nuts which represents the mortar used to lay bricks, the work done while enslaved in Mitzrayim.

Beitzah–ביצה: an egg, which represents life, wholeness, and liberation.​

Karpas–כרפס: parsley, which represents growth, change, and life.

Salt Water–מי מלח: which represents our tears while enslaved, and our tenacity and chutzpah in fighting for liberation.

Tapuz–תפוז: an orange, which represents gender and sexual equality and justice, especially for queer, trans and gender non-conforming people, and women.

Zayit–זית: an olive, which represents solidarity with Palestinians and Palestine and the struggle for justice and peace in Israel and Palestine.

Kadesh

It is traditional to drink four cups of wine or grape juice over the course of the Seder. At this Liberation Seder, we dedicate each cup to one part of the work of liberation:

  1. Ending the Occupation
  2. LGBTQ Liberation
  3. Racial Justice
  4. Justice for Immigrants and Refugees
Kadesh

We dedicate the first cup of this Seder to ending the occupation.

(We fill our neighbors' cups.)

In Israel/Palestine, the occupation continues to deny freedom and dignity to Palestinians. It has been over 50 years of home demolitions, endless checkpoints, and the imprisonment of children and teenagers like Ahed Tamimi. The occupation is a daily nightmare for Palestinians and a moral disaster for the Israelis who are mandated to enforce it as well as all those around the world who uphold it.

This Seder is inspired in part by IfNotNow, a movement of young American Jews organizing to end our community's support for the occupation. We seek an American Jewish community that stands for freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians by ending its support for the occupation.

In this moment, our American Jewish community is faced with a choice: giving into the fear that upholds endless occupation, or moving towards a path of justice that ensures that both Israelis and Palestinians can live with freedom and dignity.

We are committed to peace - peace, not only as the absence of violence, but also as the presence of freedom and dignity for all people. With this commitment in mind, we bless the first cup of wine. (We raise our cups.)

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

(We drink.)

Urchatz

Urchatz is the first of two times when we wash our hands during the Seder. This first time, we do so without a blessing. For those who would like, we take a minute to wash our hands.

Karpas
Source : IfNotNow

Now we move to Karpas. Karpas is the Hebrew word for green vegetable. Traditionally, the karpas is either parsley or lettuce and represents the renewing of the seasons. Passover takes place during spring, and the karpas represents the beginning of a new season and the beginning of nature’s flowering. We hope the American Jewish community will renew its commitment to freedom and dignity for all peoples.

The Karpas is also dipped in salt water to remind us of the bitterness of slavery. The salt water is also similar to tears which the Jewish slaves cried during their time in slavery. Today, we also think of the tears shed by Palestinians living under occupation. For all those who are denied basic human rights daily, for all those have lost loved ones, for all those who have been imprisoned unjustly, for all those who fear for their life and their family constantly, we say a blessing over the karpas.

[Lift up the karpas, dip in salt water, and eat after saying the blessing.]

Baruch atah adonai eloheinu melech ha’olam boreh pri ha’adamah.

Modified from IfNotNow's original text.

Karpas
Source : Modified from IfNotNow

The olive tree is one of the first plants to be mentioned in the Torah, and is among the oldest species in Israel/Palestine. It has become a universal symbol of peace and hope, associated with the dove in the story of Noah's ark and the flood.

We have added an olive to the Seder plate because we know that for slavery to be truly over, for a people to be truly free, we must know that we can feed ourselves and our children, today, tomorrow, and into the following generations. In the lands of Israel and Palestine, olive groves provide this security. When olive groves are destroyed, the past and future is destroyed. Without economic security, a people can much more easily be conquered or enslaved.

And so this year, we eat an olive, to make real our understanding of what it means each time a bulldozer plows up a grove. Without the taste of olives, there will be no taste of freedom. We eat this olive in sorrow, mindful that olive trees, the source of livelihood for Palestinian farmers, are regularly chopped down, burned and uprooted by Israeli settlers and the Israeli authorities.

(Distribute olives around the table.)

As we eat now, we as, one another: How will we as Jews bear witness to the unjust actions committed in our name? Will these olives inspire us to be bearers of peace and hope together with Palestinians, and with all those who are oppressed?

Yachatz

Breaking the middle matzah | yachatz | יַחַץ

There are three pieces of matzah stacked on the table. We now break the middle matzah into two pieces. The host should wrap up the larger of the pieces and, at some point between now and the end of dinner, hide it. This piece is called the afikomen. After dinner, the guests must hunt for the afikomen in order to wrap up the meal.

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

Yachatz
Source : Rabbis for Human Rights

(Hold up matzah.)

This is the bread of affliction
Which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt.
All who are hungry, let them enter and eat.
All who are in need, let them come celebrate Passover with us.

(Break back up into groups of 3-4. Take 10 minutes to read the following and respond to the discussion questions.)

Eloheinu v'Elohei Avoteinu v'Imoteinu, our God and God of our ancestors, we are gathered around this seder table as b'nei khorin, free people commanded to remember our dark nights of oppression. Your Torah warns us never to become oppressors ourselves, reminding us, "For you were strangers in the land of Egypt." Yet, when we are honest with ourselves, we know that we have been Pharaoh to other peoples, and to the disadvantaged among our own people. Our awareness that "In every generation there are those who arise to destroy us" often causes us to harden our hearts, and perceive hatred where it does not exist.

We therefore turn to You, as in days of old. Stand with us, so that our fears not rise up to be our taskmasters. Help us to banish Pharaoh from our hearts, and let others in.

With Pharaoh at bay, we become more painfully aware of the desecration of Your Image found in every human being. As with the plagues of old, our joy is diminished when we hear of those whose lives remain embittered. "Hashata Avdei," "This year we remain slaves because of their oppression " We make room in our hearts and at our table for:

Gabriel Kuol fled for his life from South Sudan to Egypt. Again feeling his life in danger, he tumbled over the border into Israel with an Egyptian bullet in his leg. His love and gratitude to Israel faded as the situation deteriorated. First asylum seekers were forbidden to work, then they suffered beatings when they tried to renew their residency permits, which were eventually revoked. Gabriel was detained and deported, leaving all of his possessions behind. He nearly died of malaria back in South Sudan. The African asylum seekers remaining are demonized and the border is now closed. The "anti infiltration law" allows them to be imprisoned for over three years, and even those from countries so dangerous that the law prevents their deportation have been encouraged to "leave voluntarily". As we open our doors to invite all who are hungry to come and eat, we remember the many doors closed to us over long years of persecution. This Passover, may we open our hearts and our borders to those fleeing for their lives. Like Gabriel, our ancestor was a wandering Aramean, and we were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Sheikh Sayakh. The exhaustion shows on the face of Sheikh Sayakh, a member of the Bedouin community. His tribe's homes in El-Arakib in the Negev desert have been reduced to pitiful lean–tos, and even these have been demolished over 40 times. Rabbis for Human Rights has helped to temporarily halt Jewish National Fund forests closing, and thankfully Israel's High Court has overruled the State and ordered the District Court to hear their ownership claims. However, the judges warned that it would not be easy to explain why they didn't challenge the expropriation of their lands in 1953, an expropriation they claim they only discovered in 2000. There is less certainty in Sheikh Sayakh's voice when he says that he is counting on us, and he no longer expresses faith in Israeli justice. Perhaps he has visions of the cemetery of his "unrecognized" Bedouin village in the middle of a Jewish National Fund forest offering silent testimony that his tribe lived here for generations. The families of Al Arakib are but some of the thousands of Israeli Bedouin in danger of being forced from their homes if government plans are approved by the Knesset. Celebrating the seder in the security of our homes, we commit ourselves this night to guaranteeing a home for all. We must make sure that Sheikh Sayakh has a place at our table, and must work in the coming year so that our national home rests on a foundation of justice.

Nasser Nawaje. Nasser was a young boy in 1986 when he, his family and all the Palestinian villagers of Susya in the South Hebron Hills were expelled because their home was declared an archaeological site. They moved into nearby caves on their lands, only to see the army demolish their caves and try to expel them again. Israel's High Court returned them, but they were told that everything built to replace their caves was illegal. Nasser is known and hated by the area's settlers for his work documenting human rights abuses, helping Rabbis for Human Rights to prevent and even roll back land takeovers. In response, the settlers and "Regavim" have gone to court demanding that the army demolish almost the entire village. Nasser told us, "When they came to demolish our homes in 1986, there was nothing we could do because we were all alone. We are again in great danger, but we are not alone any more." As God has stood with our ancestors, we resolve this night to stand with Nasser.

Discussion questions:

  • What, if anything, surprised you in these stories?
  • What questions did these stories raise for you - for the people mentioned in the stories, or more generally?
  • What connections to or tensions with the Passover story did you see in these stories?
Yachatz

Lo yisa goy el goy cherev

V’lo yil’medu od milchamah.

(Nation shall not lift up sword against nation

Nor shall they learn war anymore. From Isaiah 2:4)

Maggid - Beginning
Source : Congregation Sha'ar Zahav

Many of us at the table tonight are members of the LGBTQ+ community. While tonight is, in many ways, a celebration of and call for empathy, our struggle for justice for queer folks is deeply personal. Whether we, ourselves, identify as LGTBQ+ or not, tonight we commit to loving our queer friends and family. We recognize that our work for freedom and liberation must turn inwards, amplifying the voices of the members of the Jewish community who have been marginalized and creating space for them.

We celebrate our embrace of our queer siblings today as we acknowledge our community's failure to accept them throughout time and to this day.

We rejoice in a vision of a future in which all feel free to live and to love their truth as we remember those who lived and died, hiding their hearts and souls in secret.

We triumph in the strides the activists who precede us have left behind as we mourn the lives lost to violence, ignorance, and hatred.

Raising our cups, we bless the second cup of wine.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם

בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

-- Four Questions
-- Four Questions
Source : Ma Nishtana Haggadah

Because on all other nights we are either Jewish or GLBTQA, but on this night we are both.

1) Because on all other nights we eat leavened bread – representative of the “airiness” and artificial nature of our lives – but on this night we eat matzah – representative of transparency and plain honesty.

2) Because on all other nights we enjoy a variety of tastes and vegetables, but on this night we focus on the maror – the bitterness of marginalization.

3) Because on all other nights we weep – dip once – for specific reasons and particular people, but on this night we weep – dip twice – for those who suffer and have suffered from physical and psychological oppression.

4) Because on all other nights we sit alert and rigid to an unsafe status- quo, but on this night we recline in safety as we hope to recline on all nights in the future. 

-- Four Children

The Torah speaks of four types of children: one is wise, one is wicked, one is simple, and one does not know how to ask.

At the Passover seder, we are all commanded to ask questions about the story in order to fulfill the mitzvah of retelling the Passover story as if we, ourselves, were freed from Egypt.

Our tradition speaks of four children: the wise child, the wicked child, the simple child, and the child who does not know how to ask.

Tonight, may we all feel compelled to ask questions: about the tradition in front of us, about our freedom, and about how tonight's seder can inspire us to engage in the work of liberation.

-- Exodus Story
Source : Velveteen Rabbi

1.

Once upon a time our people went into exile in the land of Egypt. During a famine our ancestor Jacob and his family fled to Egypt where food was plentiful. His son Joseph had risen to high position in Pharaoh’s court, and our people were well-respected and well-regarded, secure in the power structure of the time.

2.

Generations passed and our people remained in Egypt. In time, a new Pharaoh ascended to the throne. He found our difference threatening, and ordered our people enslaved.

In fear of rebellion, Pharaoh decreed that all Hebrew boy-children be killed. Two midwives named Shifrah and Puah defied his orders, claiming that “the Hebrew women are so hardy, they give birth before we arrive!” Through their courage, a boy survived; midrash tells us he was radiant with light.

Fearing for his safety, his family placed him in a basket and he floated down the Nile. He was found, and adopted, by Pharaoh’s daughter, who named him Moshe because min ha-mayim m’shitihu, from the water she drew him forth. She hired his mother Yocheved as his wet-nurse. Thus he survived to adulthood, and was raised as Prince of Egypt.

3.

Although a child of privilege, as he grew he became aware of the slaves who worked in the brickyards of his father. When he saw an overseer mistreat a slave, he struck the overseer and killed him. Fearing retribution, he set out across the Sinai alone.

God spoke to him from a burning bush, which though it flamed was not consumed. The Voice called him to lead the Hebrew people to freedom. Moses argued with God, pleading inadequacy, but God disagreed. Sometimes our responsibilities choose us.

4.

Moses returned to Egypt and went to Pharaoh to argue the injustice of slavery. He gave Pharaoh a mandate which resounds through history: Let my people go.

Pharaoh refused, and Moses warned him that Mighty God would strike the Egyptian people. These threats were not idle: ten terrible plagues were unleashed upon the Egyptians. Only when his nation lay in ruins did Pharaoh agree to our liberation.

5.

Fearful that Pharaoh would change his mind, our people fled, not waiting for their bread dough to rise. (For this reason we eat unleavened bread as we take part in their journey.) Our people did not leave Egypt alone; a “mixed multitude” went with them. From this we learn that liberation is not for us alone, but for all the nations of the earth.

Even Pharaoh’s daughter came with us, and traded her old title (bat-Pharaoh, daughter of Pharaoh) for the name Batya, “daughter of God.”

6.

Pharaoh’s army followed us to the Sea of Reeds. We plunged into the waters. Only when we had gone as far as we could did the waters part for us. We mourn, even now, that Pharaoh’s army drowned: our liberation is bittersweet because people died in our pursuit.

7.

To this day we relive our liberation, that we may not become complacent, that we may always rejoice in our freedom.

-- Ten Plagues

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. We pour out a drop of wine for each of the plagues as we recite them to signify having a little less sweetness in our celebration. Dip a finger or a spoon into your wine glass for a drop for each plague.

These are the ten plagues (we say these together):

BLOOD / dam
FROGS / tzfardeiya
LICE / kinim
BEASTS / arov
CATTLE DISEASE / dever
BOILS / sh’chin
HAIL / barad
LOCUSTS / arbeh
DARKNESS / choshech
DEATH OF THE FIRSTBORN / makat b’chorot

We invite you to say out loud modern plagues that continue to stand in the way of liberation. We spill a drop from our cups for each of these as well.

-- Ten Plagues

Ilu ho-tsi, ho-tsi-a-nu, 
Ho-tsi-a-nu mi-Mitz-ra-yim, 
Ho-tsi-a-nu mi-Mitz-ra-yim, 
Da-ye-nu!

.. CHORUS: 
.. Dai, da-ye-nu, 
.. Dai, da-ye-nu, 
.. Dai, da-ye-nu, 
.. Da-ye-nu, da-ye-nu, da-ye-nu! 
.. 
.. Dai, da-ye-nu, 
.. Dai, da-ye-nu, 
.. Dai, da-ye-nu, 
.. Da-ye-nu, da-ye-nu!

Ilu na-tan, na-tan la-nu, 
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-Sha-bat, 
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-Sha-bat, 
Da-ye-nu!

.. (CHORUS)

Ilu na-tan, na-tan la-nu, 
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-To-rah, 
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-To-rah, 
Da-ye-nu!

.. (CHORUS)

Translation:

If G-d had only brought us out of Egypt, it would have been enough!
If G-d had only given us the Shabbat, it would have been enough!
If G-d had only given us the Torah, it would have been enough!

Rachtzah
Source : Achvat Amim 2017

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדַיִם.

Baruch atah Adonai eloheinu melekh ha'olam, asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu al n'tilat yadayim.

Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning washing of hands.

Rachtzah
Source : Bend The Arc

Solidarity is a verb, not an adjective. Solidarity requires that we act in accordance with our deepest purpose and longings. Much can be learned from a long tradition of radical solidarity between Jewish and Black communities. Today, shifts in our political conditions raise the important question: what are the opportunities for solidarity right now, in an increasingly complicated world where anti-Black racism threatens to erode our legacies? Within the Jewish community, the increasing prevalence of Black Jewish people from across the diaspora is providing new answers to this question at a time when the fight for Black liberation has again taken center stage. According to the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, a Black person is killed in this country every 28 hours by police, security officers or vigilantes. #BlackLivesMatter challenges us to leverage and activate our legacies of radical solidarity in new ways to eradicate anti-Black racism inside and outside of our communities.

This political moment isn’t just about supporting the liberation of all Black lives—this political moment is about eradicating structural racism so that we can liberate the very humanity of all of us.

-Alicia Garza, Co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, an online platform developed after the murder of Trayvon Martin, designed to connect people interested in learning more about and confronting anti-Black racism.

In the spirit of solidarity, we bless the third cup of wine. (We raise our cups.)

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

(We drink.)

Motzi-Matzah
Source : Achvat Amim 2017

We will now bless the matzah, “the bread of affliction,” and as we bless it and eat it we dedicate ourselves to fighting oppression in all its forms so that never again shall anyone have to eat this bread of affliction, even as we understand so many currently suffer.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheynu Melech haolam, Hamotzi lechem min haaretz.

Praised are you, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, who brings bread from out of the earth.

Maror
Source : Achvat Amim 2017

"You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.  It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive." - James Baldwin

As we eat the bitter herb, we acknowledge that no one people have a monopoly on pain and oppression. The only way to liberation is to educate ourselves about the struggles of the past – and so learn that our pain is ultimately inseparable from the oppression experienced by all peoples.

And together we say:

Baruch atah adonai eloheinu melech ha’olam boreh pri ha’adamah.

Koreich
Source : Achvat Amim 2017

As we prepare to eat the Hillel sandwich with the sweetness of charoset and the bitterness of maror, highlighting the challenge to us to taste freedom in the midst of oppression. What are the moments of sweetness that helped to sustain us during the struggle this past year? What must we do to extend those moments into an even sweeter future for all who dwell on earth?

Koreich
Source : Milwaukee Area Jewish Committee

"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."

[Frederick Douglass, letter, 1853]

Shulchan Oreich
Source : Jews for Racial and Economic Justice

“Why on this night when we remember the oppression and resistance of Jews should we also think about the lives of people of color?” Because many Jews are people of color. Because racism is a Jewish issue. Because our liberation is connected.

This clip about the experience of Jews of color is written in the first person by Leo Ferguson. As we read it, please feel free to use "we" or "they" pronouns as feels appropriate for you.

White Ashkenazi Jews have a rich history but are only a part of the Jewish story. Mizrahi & Sephardi Jews; Yemeni Jews; Ethiopian Jews; Jews who trace their heritage to the Dominican Republic, to Cuba & Mexico; to Guyana & Trinidad; descendants of enslaved Africans whose ancestors converted or whose parents intermarried.

Jews of color are diverse, multihued and proud of it — proud of our Jewishness and proud of our Blackness. But though our lives are joyous and full, racism forces us down a narrow, treacherous path. On the one hand we experience the same oppression that afflicts all people of color in America — racism targets us, our family members, and our friends. On the other hand, the very community that we would turn to for belonging and solidarity — our Jewish community — often doesn’t acknowledge our experience.

Jews of color cannot choose to ignore the experiences of people of color everywhere, anymore than we would ignore our Jewishness. We must fully inhabit both communities and we need all Jews to stand with us, forcefully and actively opposing racism and police violence.

But in order to do so, we must pare our past trauma from our present truth: our history of oppression leaves many of us hyper-vigilant and overly preoccupied with safety. As Jews we share a history that is overburdened with tales of violent oppression. Though different Jewish communities have varying experiences, none of us have escaped painful legacies of persecution, including genocide. This past is real, and part of why we gather today is to remember it. But the past is past. However seductive harsh policing, surveillance and incarceration may be in the short term, it will never serve us in the end. Not when those tactics brutalize other communities, humiliating and incarcerating our neighbors and perpetuate a status quo that leaves low-income communities of color on the other side of a sea of fear — still trapped; still stranded. The only real way out of the Mitzrayim of our fears is solidarity. Only by forging deep connections and sharing struggle with other communities will we creating the lasting allies who will walk with us into the promised land of our collective liberation. That is true Jewish freedom — true and lasting safety.

They cried to Moses, “What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt ... it is better to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness” (14:11-12).

When Moses led the Jews out of Egypt, it was a moment of great risk and great change. As the passage above shows us, though life under Pharaoh was cruel and crushing, it was also familiar — a known fear. After a century of servitude, freedom. What changed? It was the Jewish people daring to imagine for themselves something greater. Daring to take great risks and face great fears to find liberation. This willingness to stand up for justice is a strength we have found again and again. When the oppression of economic exploitation demanded it, our grandparents found it in the labor movement; when the civil rights movement demanded it, our parents travelled to the South to register voters. Now this moment demands again that we take risks for justice.

What our neighbors in communities of color are asking — what the Jews of color in our own communities need from their fellow Jews — is that we push past the comfortable and move to action. In the streets, in our synagogues and homes, with our voices, our bodies, our money and resources, with our imaginations. In doing so we must center the voices and the leadership of Jews of color and other communities of color, while forming deep partnerships and long-term commitments to fight for lasting change.

Passover is a time of remembrance but also one of renewal — of looking ahead toward the spring and new growth that will sustain us through the seasons to come. Once we spent spring in the desert. It was harsh and difficult but from that journey grew a people who have endured for centuries. What would happen if we took that journey again, not alone in the wilderness but surrounded by friends and allies, leaving no one behind?

Shulchan Oreich

Olam chesed yibaneh,
We will build this world with love.

Psalm 89:3, tune by Rabbi Menachem Creditor, written after 9/11

Tzafun

"You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the Land of Egypt" (Exodus 23:9). This commandment - the negative mitzvah not to oppress the stranger, combined with the positive mitzvah to love the stranger - is repeated more times than any other in the Torah. And, again and again, the justification is clear - you were strangers in the lang of Egypt.

From the ADL Hagaddah:

Our ancestors were immigrants to Egypt. They came fleeing economic insecurity (famine in Canaan; see Gen. 42:5) and in search of stability and freedom. At first, because Pharaoh knew Joseph personally, he welcomed his family. But then, a lack of familiarity led to contempt; “a new king arose over Egypt who knew not Joseph.” (Ex. 1:8)

Despite the contributions of the Israelites to Egyptian society, the new Pharaoh’s ignorance led to fear and he began to agitate and legislate against them: “Look, the Israelite people are much too numerous for us. Let us deal shrewdly with them, so that they may not increase; otherwise
in the event of war they may join our enemies in fighting against us and rise from the ground.”
(Ex. 1:9–10) The resulting experience of oppression became the point of reference for one of the most profound expressions of Jewish ethics (Ex. 23:9).

Nor was the Exodus the last time when Jews have been immigrants and refugees, when we have ourselves been the oppressed stranger. We carry with us a history of exiles and pogroms, of being turned away at borders - a history which continues today for many Jews around the world.

We remember this religious tradition and shared experience when we see the 11 million undocumented people in the United States today, who face the constant threat of deportation, separated families, and uncertain futures. So too when we see undocumented African migrants in Israel, who the right-wing government has demonized as "infiltrators" and a "demographic threat." Xenophobic political leaders in both countries have denied the stranger freedom and dignity, then briefly offered compromise, then reneged on their promises. We have been here before.

We dedicate our fourth cup to justice for immigrants and refugees - both to the negative mitvah of refusing to be complicit in oppressing the stranger, and to the positive mitzvah of loving the stranger by taking action for a better world. With these commitments in mind, we bless the fourth cup. (We raise our cups.)

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

(We drink.)

Tzafun

Break up into groups of two to discuss the following questions:

  • Have you or your family ever had the experience of being a stranger? Each person take a minute to share a story.
  • Can you think of any contemporary examples of oppression of the stranger? What parallels or tensions exist between these examples, the Passover story, and the story you just shared with your partner?
  • In today's world, what can we do, concretely, to follow the commandment to love the stranger?

After 5 minutes, reconvene, and share thoughts from a few groups.

Tzafun

During the Seder, it is traditional to hide the middle matzah that we broke earlier. We end the meal and begin the final sections of the Seder by finding and eating the middle matzah, called the Afikomen.

To respect your time, instead of hiding the Afikomen anywhere in the whole building, we have hidden it under someone's plate here at the table. Lift up your plates to find out who has the Afikomen!

Bareich

We now say grace after the meal, thanking God for the food we’ve eaten.

Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha’olam, hazan et ha’olam kulo b’tuvo b’chen b’chesed v’rachamin. Hu noten lechem l’chol basar ki l’olam chasdo. Uv’tuvo hagadol tamid lo chasar lanu v’al yech’sar lanu mazon l’olam va’ed. Ba’avur sh’mo hagadol ki hu zan um’farnes lakol umetiv lakol umechin mazon l’chol b’riyotav asher bara. Baruch Atah Adonai hazan et hakol.

We praise God, Spirit of Everything, whose goodness sustains the world. You are the source of bread for all, food for everyone. As it says in the Torah: When you have eaten and are satisfied we thank you for the earth and for its sustenance. Renew our spiritual center in our time. May the source of peace grant peace to us, to the Jewish people, and to the entire world.

Amen.

Bareich

At this point in the Seder, we fill one additional cup and set it aside for the prophet Elijah. Traditionally, Elijah - Eliyahu in Hebrew - will come to herald the coming of the Messiah.

It would be much easier to think that liberation will come because of some outside force - whether it be Elijah, the Messiah, or an idea of inevitable historical progress. But, in some traditions, Elijah's visit to our Seder is to check the work  we  are doing to build a better world. The Messiah will only come once we have brought peace and justice to the world ourselves, and Elijah is here to see what progress we have made in building a liberated community.

As we open the door for Elijah, we think of the work ahead.

אֵלִיָהוּ הַנָבִיא, אֵלִיָהוּ הַתִּשְׁבִּי, אֵלִיָהוּ הַגִלְעָדִי בִּמְהֵרָה יָבוֹא אֵלֵינוּ עִם מָשִׁיחַ בֶּן דָוִד

Eliyahu Hanavi, Eliyahu Hatishbi,
Eliyahu, Eliyahu, Eliyahu Hagiladi.

Bimherah beyameinu, Yavo Elenu
Im Mashiach Ben David,
Im Mashiach Ben David.

Elijah the Prophet, Elijah the Tishbite, Elijah the Giladite, May he soon come to us, with Mashiach the son of David.

Hallel

Adir Hu - This Passover hymn lists attributes of God, with the refrain asking God to“build your House soon, speedily, in our time.” Today, we will sing “Adir Hu” both in praise and as a call for righteousness and compassion in our time.

Adir hu, adir hu, (refrain) yivneh beito bekarov.

Bimherah, bimherah, beyameinu bekarov.

El bneh, el bneh, bneh beitcha bekarov.

Bachur hu, gadol hu, dagul hu, (refrain)

Hadur hu, vatik hu, zakai hu, (refrain)

Chassid hu, tahor hu, yachid hu, (refrain)

Kabir hu, lamud hu, melech hu, (refrain)

Norah hu, sagiv hu, izuz hu, (refrain)

Podeh hu, tzaddik hu, kadosh hu, (refrain)

Rachum hu, shadai hu, takif hu, (refrain)

Hallel

CHAD GADYA  Aramaic Transliteration

Chad gadya, chad gadya.
dizabin aba bitrei zuzei,
chad gadya, chad gadya.

Va'ata shunra, 
ve'achla legadya
dizabin aba bitrei zuzei,
chad gadya, chad gadya.

Va'ata chalba, 
venashach leshunra
de'achla legadya
dizabin aba bitrei zuzei,
chad gadya, chad gadya.

Va'ata chutra,
vehikah lechalba,
denashach leshunra
de'achla legadya
dizabin aba bitrei zuzei,
chad gadya, chad gadya.

Va'ata nura,
vesaraf lechutra,
dehikah lechalba,
denashach leshunra
de'achla legadya
dizabin aba bitrei zuzei,
chad gadya, chad gadya.

Va'ata maya,
vekavah lenura,
desaraf lechutra,
dehikah lechalba,
denashach leshunra
de'achla legadya
dizabin aba bitrei zuzei,
chad gadya, chad gadya.

Va'ata tora,
veshatah lemaya,
dekavah lenura,
desaraf lechutra,
dehikah lechalba,
denashach leshunra
de'achla legadya
dizabin aba bitrei zuzei,
chad gadya, chad gadya.

Va'ata hashochet,
veshachat letora,
deshatah lemaya,
dekavah lenura,
desaraf lechutra,
dehikah lechalba,
denashach leshunra
de'achla legadya
dizabin aba bitrei zuzei,
chad gadya, chad gadya.

Va'ata mal'ach hamavet,
veshachat leshochet,
deshachat letora,
deshatah lemaya,
dekavah lenura,
desaraf lechutra,
dehikah lechalba,
denashach leshunra
de'achla legadya
dizabin aba bitrei zuzei,
chad gadya, chad gadya.

Va'ata HaKadosh Baruch-Hu,
veshachat lemal'ach hamavet,
deshachat leshochet,
deshachat letora,
deshatah lemaya,
dekavah lenura,
desaraf lechutra,
dehikah lechalba,
denashach leshunra
de'achla legadya
dizabin aba bitrei zuzei,
chad gadya, chad gadya.

חַד גַּדְיָא,חַד גַּדְיָא 
דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי, חַד גַּדְיָא,חַד גַּדְיָא. 

וְאָתָא שׁוּנְרָא וְאַָכְלָה לְגַדְיָא, דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי, חַד גַּדְיָא,חַד גַּדְיָא. 

וְאָתָא כַלְבָּא וְנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאַָכְלָה לְגַדְיָא, דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי, חַד גַּדְיָא,חַד גַּדְיָא. 

וְאָתָא חוּטְרָא והִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאַָכְלָה לְגַדְיָא, דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי, חַד גַּדְיָא,חַד גַּדְיָא. 


וְאָתָא נוּרָא וְשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא, דְּהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאַָכְלָה לְגַדְיָא, דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא. 

וְאָתָא מַיָא וְכָבָה לְנוּרָא, דְּשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא, דְּהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאַָכְלָה לְגַדְיָא, דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי, חַד גַּדְיָא,חַד גַּדְיָא. 

וְאָתָא תוֹרָא וְשָׁתָה לְמַיָא, דְּכָבָה לְנוּרָא, דְּשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא, דְּהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאַָכְלָה לְגַדְיָא, דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי, חַד גַּדְיָא,חַד גַּדְיָא. 

וְאָתָא הַשׁוֹחֵט וְשָׁחַט לְתוֹרָא, דְּשָּׁתָה לְמַיָא, דְּכָבָה לְנוּרָא, דְּשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא, דְּהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאַָכְלָה לְגַדְיָא, דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי, חַד גַּדְיָא,חַד גַּדְיָא. 

וְאָתָא מַלְאָךְ הַמָּוֶת וְשָׁחַט לְשׁוֹחֵט, דְּשָׁחַט לְתוֹרָא, דְּשָּׁתָה לְמַיָא, דְּכָבָה לְנוּרָא, דְּשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא, דְּהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאַָכְלָה לְגַדְיָא, דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא. 

וְאָתָא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וְשָׁחַט לְמַלְאַךְ הַמָּוֶת, דְּשָׁחַט לְשׁוֹחֵט, דְּשָׁחַט לְתוֹרָא, דְּשָּׁתָה לְמַיָא, דְּכָבָה לְנוּרָא, דְּשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא, דְּהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאַָכְלָה לְגַדְיָא, 
דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי, חַד גַּדְיָא,חַד גַּדְיָא.

Translation:

One little goat, one little goat that my father bought for two zuzim. 
A cat came and ate the goat that my father bought for two zuzim. One little goat, one little goat. 
A dog came and bit the cat that ate the goat that my father bought for two zuzim. One little goat, one little goat. 
A stick came and hit the dog that bit the cat that ate the goat that my father bought for two zuzim. One little goat, one little goat. 
A fire came and burned the stick that bit the dog that bit the cat that ate the goat that my father bought for two zuzim. One little goat, one little goat. 
Water​ came and put out the fire that burned the stick that bit the dog that bit the cat that ate the goat that my father bought for two zuzim. One little goat, one little goat. 
An ox came and drank the water that put out the fire that burned the stick that bit the dog that bit the cat that ate the goat that my father bought for two zuzim. One little goat, one little goat. 
A butcher came and slaughter​​​​​​ed the ox that drank the water that put out the fire that burned the stick that bit the dog that bit the cat that ate the goat that my father bought for two zuzim. One little goat, one little goat. 
The angel of death came and slaughter​​​​​​ed the butcher who slaughter​​​​​​ed the ox that drank the water that put out the fire that burned the stick that bit the dog that bit the cat that ate the goat that my father bought for two zuzim. One little goat, one little goat. 
Then the Holy One, Blessed be He, came and slaughter​​​​​​ed the angel of death who slaughter​​​​​​ed the butcher who slaughter​​​​​​ed the ox that drank the water that put out the fire that burned the stick that bit the dog that bit the cat that ate the goat that my father bought for two zuzim. One little goat, one little goat. 

Nirtzah
Source : Jews Racial and Economic Justice
by Miriam Grossman

May it be your will Our God and God of our ancestors that you lead us in peace and direct our steps (our marching, Rebellious, organized, queer dance-partying, prayerful steps) in peace and guide us in peace and support us in just peace (and in the tearing down of walls, and in the rising up of peoples), and cause us to reach our destination in life and joy and peace (all of us together, no one left behind). Save us from every enemy and ambush, from robbers and wild beasts (And from tear gas and flash-bags, and sound cannons and night sticks and rubber bullets, from furious hands that reach towards unarmed bodes). May You confer blessing upon the work of our hands (and our movements and our histories: uplifted, remembered, redeemed). Grant us grace, kindness, and mercy in Your eyes and in the eyes of all who witness us, (Let human bodies be seen as human bodies.) and bestow upon us abundant kindness (remind us there is no scarcity of vision, power, strength) and hearken to the voice of our prayer, for You hear the prayers of all. Blessed are You G-d, who hearkens to prayer (and peace seeking and rabble rousing. Blessed are we who journey in action and prayer.) -- Download the Jews For Racial and Economic Justice 2017 Supplement Here:  http://jfrej.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/haggadah2017_WEB4.pdf

Nirtzah
Source : Modified from IfNotNow

(While we go around the circle, taking turns reading paragraphs, those not reading sing quietly the tune from the beginning of the Seder.)

It is traditional to end the Seder with a promise: "l'shana ha'ba'a b'yerushalayim - next year in Jerusalem." What does this promise mean?

The city of Jerusalem is sacred for Jews, Muslims, and Christians - for billions of people around the world. For Jews forced into the diaspora 2,000 years ago, wandering always in countries which were sometimes safe harbors and sometimes nightmares, the dream of Jerusalem was more than the city itself.

The name Jerusalem translates to "City of Peace" or "City of Wholeness." This year in Jerusalem, peace and wholeness are still very far away. What would it look like to see a city that lives up to its name?

To dream that next year would be in Jerusalem is to dream of a place and a time of autonomy, safety, self-determination, the right to one's own culture and language and spirituality, to live on a land that can't be taken from you by the whim of an outside power. To live with the basic right to be who you are.

This year in Cambridge, we have committed ourselves to the work of building a liberated Jewish community committed to freedom and dignity for all people. It is in this spirit that we say (all together):

"L'shana ha'ba'a b'yerushalayim - next year in Jerusalem."

"L'shana ha'ba'a b'shalom - next year in Peace."