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Welcome to the third annual Potluck Seder. We are so happy you were able to join us to celebrate the second night of Passover.
We have come together this evening for many reasons. We are here because Spring is all around, the Earth is reborn, and it is a good time to celebrate with family and friends. We are here because we are Jews and friends of Jews. We are here to honor the Jewish nation’s deep historic roots and its old important memories.
We are here to remember the old story of the liberation of the ancient Hebrews from slavery in Egypt – a great struggle for freedom and dignity. We are here because the struggle for human freedom never stops. We are here to remember all people – Jews and non-Jews – who are still struggling for their freedom.
Let us sing: HEE-NAY MA TOV Group sings: Hee-nay ma tov oo-ma na-yeem She-vet a-kheem gam ya-khad. Wonderful is it when brothers and sisters live together in Peace.
Let us all light the candles together: The celebration of Passover represents the perennial rebirth and survival of the Jewish people and the world of nature. The light of these candles symbolizes a renewal of life, a reaffirmation of freedom.
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel (Shabbat v’)Yom Tov.
Let us raise our cups to signify our gratitude for life, and for the joy of knowing inner growth, which gives human life its meaning. And with raised cups, together let us say: Group: Na-eem ha-kha-yeem ba-olam-- We are awed by all life in the world. Na-eem ha-kha-yeem ba-adam-- How beautiful is the life of humankind. Reader 1: Let us all now drink the first cup of wine. Group sings: Heyveynu shalom aleichem (3 times) Heyveynu shalom, shalom, shalom aleichem!
ברוך אתה יהוה אלהינו מלך העולם בורא פרי הגפן
Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe Creator of the fruit of the vine.
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.
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.