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This year, Jewish World Watch suggests creating a Second Seder Plate for your table, to help you identify with the realities of the tragic present being experienced by so many people today in JWW’s areas of focus. About a third of those fleeing genocide and mass atrocities today live as refugees under dire conditions outside their native countries.
You can adapt your Second Seder Plate to reflect your own concerns. The one we have created contains new symbols for age-old problems – and in some cases offers some modern solutions – focused on the vulnerable populations Jewish World Watch serves across the globe.
We hope your Second Seder Plate will inspire new conversations at your seder and encourage everyone around the table to take action to help those in need. Chag sameach.
To download full-color PDF copies of this guide, please visit jww.org/SederSederPlate. And please don't forget to share: #SecondSederPlate
Why is a tomato on our Second Seder Plate?
The tomato reminds us that everyone needs food to survive, but displaced people often don’t get sufficient rations. Creating a garden, however, is possible, even in an African refugee camp. No space? No water? No seeds or good soil? No problem. You can grow a lot with limited resources thanks to perma-gardening, a highly efficient farming system that allows refugees to grow nutritious crops year-round by using improved soil fertilization methods and wastewater.
FACT: More than 300,000 Darfuris currently live in refugee camps in eastern Chad, their home since fleeing the genocide that began in 2003. The food rations they receive are not enough to live on.
ACT: Through perma-gardening, Darfuri refugees can produce their own food and become more self-reliant. Donate to help Jewish World Watch provide a refugee family with the skills and tools to start a perma-garden.
DISCUSS: How can you create your own efficient garden?
Learn more about Jewish World Watch’s perma-gardening efforts at jww.org/perma-gardening
Why is a glass of water on our Second Seder Plate?
Unlike the salt water on our traditional seder plate, which symbolizes our enslaved ancestors’ bitter tears, this water represents a source of hope. Fresh water is in short supply in the refugee settlements housing survivors who fled atrocities in South Sudan, but drilling new wells can provide clean water.
FACT: More than 2 million South Sudanese have fled civil war and man-made famine. Many have settled in overcrowded camps in northern Uganda, where there is deplorable sanitation and not enough safe water.
ACT: Jewish World Watch is drilling eight essential wells in Uganda’s Palabek Refugee Settlement this year. With your support we can supply even more clean water for thousands of refugees.
DISCUSS: List all the ways that you could save water on a daily basis.
Learn more about Jewish World Watch’s efforts to drill borehole wells at jww.org/cleanwater
Why is a cell phone on our Second Seder Plate?
On most nights, we use our phones to talk, text and check social media, but on this night we turn them off. This phone reminds us of the conflict minerals mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where children are often forced to work under unsafe conditions.
FACT: The mining of tin, tungsten, tantalum, gold and other minerals such as cobalt often supports armed groups in the Congo, and impoverished children are often the ones doing the mining to support their families. Sending Congolese children to school is the best way to keep them from working in the mines, but they need help covering school fees and other related expenses to get an education.
ACT: Research products before you buy them – your cell phone, your hybrid car and more – to make sure the company you’re buying from is making the best effort to responsibly source its materials. Keep children out of mines by helping Jewish World Watch pay for their school fees.
DISCUSS: How do your decisions about what to buy affect others?
Learn more about Jewish World Watch’s efforts to ensure the conflict-free status of mines in the Congo a jww.org/conflictminerals
Why are matches on our Second Seder Plate?
Fire isn’t one of the plagues in the Passover story, but it could have been – its destructive nature is well known. For the Rohingya, an ethnic minority living in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), the military has used fire to destroy many villages in brutal attacks. Survivors urgently need emergency supplies, but the Rohingya also need U.S. lawmakers to pass legislation to help protect them and prevent further violence.
FACT: Since late August, more than 688,000 Rohingya have fled ethnic cleansing in Myanmar and crossed into neighboring Bangladesh, where they have created the world’s largest refugee settlements.
ACT: Ask your representatives to support bills currently being considered in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives supporting human rights in Myanmar.
DISCUSS: How is it possible that genocide is still happening in the 21st century?
Learn more about Jewish World Watch’s advocacy efforts and send a letter to your representatives at action.jww.org
Why is a toy on our Second Seder Plate?
A disturbing number of today’s refugees are children. Across the globe, nearly 1 child in 200 is a refugee. This adds up to tens of millions of children displaced by violence, poverty and other factors. Whole generations are being born in refugee camps, where they often lack proper nutrition, education and opportunities to play.
FACT: Some 8.6 million Syrian children are in immediate need of aid. Some 2.6 million Syrian children are living as refugees or on the run. Of the more than 688,000 Rohingya who have fled Myanmar for camps in Bangladesh since August, nearly 400,000 are children.
ACT: Support Jewish World Watch’s many programs offering educational assistance to children and the schools that serve them.
DISCUSS: How do you think violence and displacement affect children?
Learn more about Jewish World Watch’s efforts to educate displaced children at jww.org/projects
Why is a bandage on our Second Seder Plate?
Too many innocent people wounded during Syria’s civil war lack life-saving medical aid because large humanitarian organizations cannot enter areas being actively bombed. Jewish World Watch has partnered with an organization that transports essential supplies directly to doctors working to save lives deep inside the heart of the conflict.
FACT: Syria’s civil war has killed nearly 500,000 people – 55,000 of them children. It has also left half of the country’s population displaced.
ACT: Support Jewish World Watch’s efforts to transport supplies to doctors and hospitals in the heart of the conflict.
DISCUSS: What would it be like to be wounded and without adequate medical supplies?
Learn more about Jewish World Watch’s medical shipments in Syria at jww.org/syria
We were slaves in Egypt, now we are free. Let’s have a Seder! What’s on the Seder plate? Egg, herbs, bone, greens, charoset Let’s drink some wine. Why is this night different? Why is this child different? Ten plagues on the Egyptians. Enough already – Dayeinu! Drink wine again. Matzah, Maror, Hillel sandwich, let’s eat! Where’s the Afikoman? Thanks for the food! Drink some more Wine. Open the door for Elijah! Drink some wine – last one. Thanking and singing. Next year in Jerusalem!
1. What do you consider your “promised land,” or heaven on earth?
2. In Hebrew, the word for Egypt is “Mitzraim,” which literally means “narrow place.” What is one way that you wish for our society to be more open?
3. Moses is considered one of the greatest leaders in our history — he is described as being smart, courageous, selfless and kind. Which of today’s leaders inspires you in a similar way?
4. Miriam was a prophetess and the sister of Moses who, after crossing the Red Sea, led the women in song and dance with tambourines. She is described as being courageous, confident, insightful and nurturing. Which musician or artist today inspires you in a similar way?
5. More recent and ongoing struggles for freedom include civil rights, GLBTQ equality, and women’s rights. Who is someone involved in this work that you admire?
6. Is there someone — or multiple people — in your family’s history who made their own journey to freedom?
7. Freedom is a central theme of Passover. When in your life have you felt most free?
8. If you could write an 11th commandment, what would it be?
9. What’s the longest journey you have ever taken?
10. How many non-food uses for matzah can you think of? Discuss!
11. Let’s say you are an Israelite packing for 40 years in the desert. What three modern items would you want to bring?
12. The Haggadah says that in every generation of Jewish history enemies have tried to eliminate us. What are the biggest threats you see to Judaism today?
13. The Passover seder format encourages us to ask as many questions as we can. What questions has Judaism encouraged you to ask?
14. Israel is central to the Passover seder. Do you think modern Israel is central to Jewish life? Why or why not?
15. The manna in the desert had a taste that matched the desire of each individual who ate it. For you, what would that taste be? Why?
16. Let’s say you had to swim across the Red Sea, and it could be made of anything except water. What would you want it to be?
17. If the prophet Elijah walked through the door and sat down at your table, what’s the first thing you would ask him?
18. Afikoman means “dessert” in Greek. If you could only eat one dessert for the rest of your life, what would it be?
19. What is something you wish to cleanse yourself of this year? A bad habit? An obsession or addiction?
20. The word “seder” means “order.” How do you maintain order in your life?
Download the PDF here: https://www.jewishboston.com/20-table-topics-for-your-passover-seder/
Our God and God of our ancestors, help those who are fleeing persecution today, as our ancestors did thousands of years ago. Show loving kindness and compassion to those hemmed in by misery and captivity, to those who take to the open seas or traverse treacherous landscapes seeking freedom and liberty. Rescue and recover them -- deliver them from gorge to meadow, from darkness to light. Inspire us to act on behalf of those we do not know, on behalf of those we may never meet because we know the heart of the stranger. We, too, ate the bread of affliction whose taste still lingers. And so, dear God inspire us to pursue righteousness for those who seek the freedom we enjoy tonight. Do it speedily and in our days, and let us say: Amen.
What's missing in your Passover narrative? Fill in the blanks. Order your copy here: https://store.customandcraft.org/products/in-every-generation-poster
This is scary work. It can be overwhelming, and it can make us feel alone. As we transition into the story of Exodus, we remind ourselves that we're here in community. We commit to our own individual healing not just for ourselves, but for each other; not just with ourselves, but with each other.
Through sharing our brokenness, we make community. Individual and collective liberation: these are not two separate processes. It is one journey.
Can we be humble enough to admit when we do not know something, rather than pretending to have the answer? Can we be gracious enough to answer another’s question without shaming them for not knowing? Can we be brave enough to inquire within, and ask ourselves our own hard questions? Can we open our hearts to the love that wants to come in, if only we will release our clever defenses?
The most devastating effect of slavery, ultimately, is that the slave internalizes the master's values and accepts the condition of slavery as his proper status. People who live in chronic conditions of poverty, hunger, and sickness tend to show similar patterns of acceptance and passivity. As with slaves,their deprivation deprives from their political and economic status and then becomes moral and psychological reality. It is this reality that was overthrown in the Exodus.—Irving Greenberg
We got used to standing in line at seven o'clock in the morning, at twelve noon, and again at seven o'clock in the evening. We stood in a long queue with a plate in our hand into which they ladled a little warmed-up water with a salty or a coffee flavor. Or else they gave us a few potatoes. We got used to sleeping without a bed, to saluting every uniform, not to walk on the sidewalks, and then again to walk on the sidewalks. We got used to undeserved slaps, blows, and executions. We got accustomed to seeing piled up coffins full of corpses, to seeing the sick amidst dirt and filth, and to seeing the helpless doctors. We got used to the fact that from time to time one thousand unhappy souls would come here, and that from time to time, another thousand unhappy souls would go away.—Peter Fischel, age 15, perished at Auschwitz, 1944
Jews are a people of memory and action. On Passover, we use stories and rituals to remember and retell the narrative of our collective liberation. We share the ancient Exodus story, year after year, so that it resonates through the generations as a narrative of deliverance from slavery to freedom. In Hebrew, Egypt is called Mitzrayim, which means “a narrow place.” Every year, the Haggadah asks us not only to share the story of the Exodus, but challenges us to actively engage in the process of combating oppression. We are encouraged to connect the biblical story of Exodus to communal and individual struggles for liberation, and are reminded that the fight for freedom is ongoing.
Let’s discuss the process of Exodus, moving from “a narrow place” to a place of freedom. Every day, people fight for freedom on interpersonal, systemic, global and local levels. What are modern struggles for liberation? Discuss the following questions either in pairs or as a group to inspire thought, conversation and action:
Why do you think the text starts with “We were slaves” instead of “Our ancestors were slaves?” How does this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. "no one is free until we are all free," connect to Avadim Hayinu? How are we free today? How are we still struggling? Share something that you are doing or can commit to doing to help move yourself or others from “a narrow place” to a place of shared freedom.
Expand your sense of the possible.
Expect no more of anyone than you can deliver yourself.
Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.
Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.
Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.
Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that.
10 of the 25 "Principles of Adult Behavior" , by John Perry Barlow.
In our Jewish Mexican family, we honor more than just the struggle of our ancestors journey from mitsrayim to liberdad but also the gifts they gave us and the tools to survive any conditions and to always make it delicious.
We have a Chile on our seder plate to honor the abuelas, the bisabuelas, the chignonas, the curandras, and other femme Moshes, Miriams, Tziporahs and Aarons in our lives who taught us who we are, how to be, integridad (integrity) and did it all while raising families, working for opportunity, embodying hod (humility,) crying, embracing, celebrating, kicking ass and declaring "Huelga!" in the face of oppression.
A simple piece of Matzah serves to remind us of the immense suffering of ancient slavery. Now we take into account a second item, bitter chocolate, to remind us of modern suffering. One might question how chocolate is representative of hardship, for its purpose is to satisfy one’s pleasures, to be eaten in times of love and craving. Simply put, it is expected to be sweet, but when it is not, the unwanted chocolate is automatically dismissed and rejected. The expectations of chocolate is to be sweet and readily available for one’s satisfaction. Victims/survivors of rape culture can be seen in a similar light. A prize to be won by the hands of a pursuer, it softens, melts, drip, drip, drip. Their dignity mutilated down the wrist, almost ink, slowly hardening to etch su ering like blood. No longer a clean-cut square, the chocolate is transformed into a desired shape, sugar stu ed in to make it what it is not. Today, we embrace chocolate in its plain form, celebrating not its bitterness, but its strength.
Everyone at the table should eat a piece of bitter chocolate and consider quietly the ways in which they feel pressured to take shapes that aren’t natural to them.
Join Dr. Mom as she plays with her (non)favorite Passover foods. Watch her blow up eggs, gefilte fish, and matzah balls, and make a fun mess!
Dr. Mom is has a PhD in organic chemistry, and is the co-founder of StellarNova, a STEM edutainment company that inspires kids to learn science in a fun & interactive way.
Learn more at www.stellarnova.co
Question: Why do Jews from Gibraltar sprinkle a little bit of brick dust into their charoset? Answer: To remind them of the bricks that the Israelite slaves were forced to make.
Question: What do Hungarian Jews place on the Seder table to represent the precious gifts given to the Israelites as they departed Egypt? Answer: Gold and Jewelry
Question: When they read the piece of the Haggadah that begins “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt” (In Hebrew “Avadim Hayinu”), Jews from this country take a pillowcase filled with heavy objects and carry it on their backs around the table. Answer: Syria
Question: Which symbol from the seder plate do the Kavkazi Jews of the Caucasus hide for the children to find instead of the matza? Answer: An Egg
Question: Why do many Middle Eastern Jewish families whip each other with scallions at the Seder table? Answer: To mimic the whips of slave drivers in Egypt.
Question: Because Moses floated in the river what item do many Jews of Tunisia decorate with a colored cloth in this, and place on the Seder table? Answer: A basket
Question: At Passover, the Abayudaya Jews of what country celebrate the anniversary of the overthrow of the brutal dictator Idi Amin, who outlawed the practice of Judaism? Answer: Uganda
Question: At the beginning of the Seder, what do Jews from Morocco pass above their heads three times while reciting "In haste we came out of Egypt”? Answer: A Seder Plate
Question: Tunisian Jews place a fish bowl with live fish swimming in it on the Passover table. Which part of the Exodus story does this commemorate? Answer: The crossing of the Red Sea
Question: What do Iraqi Jews tie to the back of a small child while telling them to guard it until end of the Seder? Answer: The Afikomen
Question: In which country is the Seder “interrupted” by a knock on the door by a member of the family dressed up as a nomad. The leader of the Seder asks: “Where are you coming from?” (Egypt) Where are you going?” (Jerusalem). Answer: Iraq
According to research done by Be’chol Lashon, 20% of American Jews identify as African American, Latinx, Asian, mixed race, Sephardi and Mizrahi. This year, join us as we celebrate Passover rituals from diverse Jewish communities and traditions.
Download the PDF place cards here: https://werepair.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Passover_Place_Cards.pdf
We will celebrate again, next year, in the promised land!
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Humanity manifests itself in brotherhood most frequently in “dark times.” This kind of humanity actually becomes inevitable when the times become so extremely dark for certain groups of people that it is no longer up to them, their insight or choice, to withdraw from the world. Humanity in the form of fraternity invariably appears historically among persecuted peoples and enslaved groups. ... This kind of humanity is the great privilege of pariah peoples; it is the advantage that the pariahs of this world always and in all circumstances can have over others. ...
It is as if under the pressure of persecution the persecuted have moved so closely together that the interspace ... has simply disappeared. This produces a warmth of human relationships which may strike those who have had some experience with such groups as an almost physical phenomenon. ...
In its full development it can breed a kindliness and sheer goodness of which human beings are otherwise scarcely capable. Frequently it is also the source of a vitality, a joy in the simple fact of being alive, rather suggesting that life comes fully into its own only among those who are, in worldly terms, the insulted and injured
I speak to you as an American Jew.
As Americans we share the profound concern of millions of people about the shame and disgrace of inequality and injustice which make a mockery of the great American idea.
As Jews we bring to this great demonstration, in which thousands of us proudly participate, a two-fold experience -- one of the spirit and one of our history.
In the realm of the spirit, our fathers taught us thousands of years ago that when God created man, he created him as everybody's neighbor. Neighbor is not a geographic term. It is a moral concept. It means our collective responsibility for the preservation of man's dignity and integrity.
From our Jewish historic experience of three and a half thousand years we say:
Our ancient history began with slavery and the yearning for freedom. During the Middle Ages my people lived for a thousand years in the ghettos of Europe . Our modern history begins with a proclamation of emancipation.
It is for these reasons that it is not merely sympathy and compassion for the black people ofAmerica that motivates us. It is above all and beyond all such sympathies and emotions a sense of complete identification and solidarity born of our own painful historic experience.
When I was the rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin under the Hitler regime, I learned many things. The most important thing that I learned under those tragic circumstances was that bigotry and hatred are not '.the most urgent problem. The most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shameful and the most tragic problem is silence.
A great people which had created a great civilization had become a nation of silent onlookers. They remained silent in the face of hate, in the face of brutality and in the face of mass murder.
America must not become a nation of onlookers. America must not remain silent. Not merely black America , but all of America . It must speak up and act,. from the President down to the humblest of us, and not for the sake of the Negro, not for the sake of the black community but for the sake of the image, the idea and the aspiration of America itself.
Our children, yours and mine in every school across the land, each morning pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States and to the republic for which it stands. They, the children, speak fervently and innocently of this land as the land of "liberty and justice for all."
The time, I believe, has come to work together - for it is not enough to hope together, and it is not enough to pray together, to work together that this children's oath, pronounced every morning from Maine to California, from North to South, may become. a glorious, unshakeable reality in a morally renewed and united America.