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Rituals are inherently meaningless. Met superficially, they remain superficial. We give them meaning by choosing what qualities to entertain in our consciousness.

But myths are more than they appear. The stories are coded messages, heard by whatever part of our consciousness is open to receive them. Met with authenticity, a ritual can be transformative. They are as relevant to our lives as we allow them to be.

The goal, then, is to look beyond the ritual for the deeper meaning. Holiness is not a random event; it is a choice we make, a state of being and a quality of consciousness. A Passover seder is a powerful reminder to pay attention to the things that matter most: within ourselves and within the world in which we live.

Tonight we celebrate our liberation from Egypt—in Hebrew, Mitzrayim, literally “the narrow place.” But narrow places exist in more ways than one. Though we no longer labor under Pharaoh’s overseers, we may still be enslaved—now in subtler ways, harder to eradicate. Our friends,lovers, neighbors and teachers may still be enslaved too. (JWC Women's Seder)

Social Justice Blessing

Social Justice Blessing

ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו לרדוף צדק

Baruch atah Adonai, eloheinu Melekh ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu lirdof tzedek

Brucha Yah Shechinah, eloheinu Malkat ha-olam, asher kid’shatnu b’mitzvotayha vitzivatnu lirdof tzedek

Blessed is the Source, who shows us paths to holiness, and commands us to pursue justice. (Love and Justice In Times of War Haggadah)


בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לזְּמַן הַזֶּה.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam,
shehechehyanu, v'kiy'manu, v'higianu laz'man hazeh.

Blessed is the Source, who shows us paths to holiness, Who has given us the gifts of life and strength and enabled us to reach this moment of joy.


If people of faith want to show the world that #BlackLivesMatter, we have to show that they matter within our churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues. We must lend our moral courage and ethical imagination to support this powerful social movement that has emerged from Black communities, but calls on all of us to act.

Our country is experiencing a groundswell of activism that is shining a spotlight on police brutality and the myriad other ways in which racism harms Black communities and other communities of color. This groundswell is being powered by a revitalized racial justice movement with young people of color and LGBTQ people of color at its center -- and it's giving new shape to what a transformed American society could look like. In this moment of profound change and possibility, people of faith -- in our full diversity -- must work harder to raise the voices and follow the lead of the many Black people and other people of color in our communities. For white and/or Ashkenazi people of faith, that means learning how to become more effective partners in the struggle against racism -- and that struggle starts within our own Jewish community.

Transformation is on the rise. People of faith have direct experience with the power of such transformation. Let's apply that wisdom to this moment and show up for and with young people of color as we all seek to leave Mitzrayim (our narrow places). (Stosh Cotler, Bend the Arc and SCJC)

Source : Kayn Yihee Ratzon/ Inshallah (Yehuda Webster and Leo Ferguson, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and SCJC)

When drinking the four cups and eating the matzah, we lean on our left side to accentuate the fact that we are free people. In ancient times only free people had the luxury of reclining while eating. We ask that this year you consider what it means to recline when so many are not yet free from oppression. This is not a simple question, and so there is no simple answer. In solidarity, you may choose not to recline. Or perhaps we can rest tonight in order to let go of the weight of our fears — our fear of others; of being visible as Jews; of committing to work outside of what is familiar and comfortable. We lean, perhaps not recline, to better understand the work that lies ahead.



When found in the liturgy (religious text) does not refer to the modern nation/state of Israel, rather it derives from the blessing given to Ya’akov (Jacob) by a stranger with whom he wrestles all night. When the stranger is finally pinned, Ya’akov asks him for a blessing. The stranger says, “Your name will no longer be Ya’akov but Yisrael for you have wrestled with G-d and triumphed.” Therefore when we say “Yisrael” in prayer we are referring to being G-d-wrestlers, not Israelis.


Mitzrayim comes from the root Tzar, meaning narrow or constricted. It can refer to the geography of the Nile valley, but also to a metaphorical state of confinement. The Passover story is also the story of the birth of the Jewish people, and ‘mitzrayim’ is the narrow passage we moved through. Leaving ‘mitzrayim’ also means freeing ourselves from narrow-mindedness and oppression. And in this time of intense anti-Arab racism, we are intentionally differentiating between the “bad guys” in this story and any contemporary Arab places or people.

(from "Love and Justice in Times of War" Haggadah by Dara Silverman and Micah Bazant)

Source : Design by
Jonathan Safran Foer Quote

Source : Emma Lazarus
The New Colossus

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!”


The Hebrew word “Kiddush” means sanctification. But it is not the wine we sanctify. Instead, the wine is a symbol of the sanctity, the preciousness, and the sweetness of this moment. Held together by sacred bonds of family, friendship, peoplehood, we share this table tonight with one another and with all the generations who have come before us. Let us rise, and sanctify this singular moment.

HOW? We will drink four cups of wine at the Seder in celebration of our freedom. (Grape juice is fine too.) We stand, recite the blessing, and enjoy the first cup. L'chaim!

The blessing praises God for creating the "fruit of the vine." We recite the blessing, not over the whole grape, but over wine — squeezed and fermented through human skill. So, too, the motzee blessing is recited not over sheaves of wheat but over bread, leavened or unleavened, ground and kneaded and prepared by human hands. The blessing is over the product cultivated through human and divine cooperation: We bless the gifts of sun, seed and soil transformed by wisdom and purpose to sustain the body and rejoice the soul. (VBS)

ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם, בורא פרי הגפן! ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם, אשר בחר בנו מכל עם ורוממנו מכל לשון, וקדשנו במצותיו. ותתן לנו יי אלהינו באהבה מועדים לשמחה, חגים וזמנים לששון, את יום חג המצות הזה, זמן חרותנו מקרא קדש, זכר ליציאת מצרים. כי בנו בחרת ואותנו קדשת מכל העמים, ומיעדי קדשך בשמחה ובששון הנחלתנו. ברוך אתה יי, מקדש ישראל והזמנים

Baruch ata Adonai, Elohaynoo melech ha-olam, boray pree ha-gafen. Baruch atah Adonai, Elohynoo melech ha- olam, asher bachar banoo meekol am, v’romemanoo meekol lashon, v’keedshanoo b’meetzvotav. Va’teetayn lanoo Adonai Elohaynoo b’bahava, mo’adeem lsimcha, chageem oo-z’maneem l’sason. Et yom chag ha-matzot ha-zeh,

z’man chayrootaynoo, meekra kodesh, zecher leetzeeyat Meetzrayeem. Kee vanoo vacharta, v’otanoo keed- ashta meekol ha- ameem. Oo’mo’adday kodsheh’cha b’seemcha oo-v’sason heen’chaltanoo. Barcuch ata Adonai m’kadesh Yisrael v’ha-z’maneem.

Praised are You, Lord our God, Whose presence fills the universe. Who creates the fruit of the vine. Praised are You, Lord our God, Whose presence fills the universe, Who has called us for service

from among the peoples of the world, sanctifying our lives with Your commandments. In love, You have given us festivals for rejoicing and seasons of celebration, this Festival of Matzot, the time of our freedom, a commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt.
Praised are You, Lord, Who gave us this joyful heritage and Who sanctifies Israel and the festivals.


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

Jewish tradition teaches us that we are God’s partners in the continual act of creating a more just world in which all human beings are treated with dignity and compassion. As we recall the strength that God extended to the Jewish people in the season of our escape from oppression, we extend our arms to embrace those in our world still experiencing persecution because of who they are. (Source: Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society Haggadah Supplement 2018) 

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

חזרת – Chazeret: also a bitter herb, in our case collard greens.

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

קפה - Kafe: coffee beans, which represent the bitterness of modern slavery, through forced migrant labor, bonded labor, slavery, human trafficking, sex trafficking, and child labor.

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

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

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

תפוז – Tapuz: an orange was originally added to the seder plate by Dr. Susannah Heschel in the 1980s to represent gender and sexual equality and justice for women and lesbians.

The olive branch is a universal symbol of peace, associated with the dove in the story of Noah's Ark and the Flood.

Olive trees mature slowly, so only when there was an extended time of peace, with agriculture left undisturbed, could the olive tree produce its fruit. In 2008, 3,000 olive saplings were donated to Palestinian farmers to replant trees torn down to make room for settlements in the West Bank. This year, we have olives on our seder plate to remind us that not only are we not free until everyone is free, but we are not free until there is peace in our homes, in our community and in our world. (Sue Fishkoff, JTA)

יי עז לעמו יתן, יי יברך את עמו בשלום

Adonai oz l’amo yitein, Adonai yivarech v’et amo v’shalom.

God give strength to our people, God bless our people with peace.

ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם, בורא פרי העץ

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, borei p’ri ha’eitz.

Blessed are you, Adonai, who gives us the fruit of the tree.

*bold indicates items not traditionally on the Seder Plate


There are still some symbols on our seder plate we haven’t talked about yet! Rabban Gamliel would say that whoever didn’t explain the shank bone, matzah, and marror (or bitter herbs) hasn’t done Passover justice (ha ha).

The shank bone represents the Pesach, the special lamb sacrifice made in the days of the Temple for the Passover holiday. It is called the pesach, from the Hebrew word meaning “to pass over,” because God passed over the houses of our ancestors in Egypt when visiting plagues upon our oppressors.

The matzah reminds us that when our ancestors were finally free to leave Egypt, there was no time to pack or prepare. Our ancestors grabbed whatever dough was made and set out on their journey, letting their dough bake into matzah as they fled.

The bitter herbs provide a visceral reminder of the bitterness of slavery, the life of hard labor our ancestors experienced in Egypt. (Jewish Boston)


In lighting the candles at dusk we symbolize the end of an ordinary day and the beginning of an extra-ordinary ritual, a moment which reminds us of the first day of creation.

ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותין וציונו להדליק נר של שבת ויום טוב

Brucha Yah Shechinah, eloheinu Malkat ha-olam, asher kid’shatnu b’mitzvotayha vitzivatnu l’hadlik ner shel (Shabbat v’) Yom Tov. (Ashkenazi pronunciation, fem.)

Baruch atah Adonai, eloheinu Melekh ha-olam, asher kid-shatnu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu l’hadlik ner shel (Shabbat v’) Yom Tov. (Ashkenazi pronunciation, masc.)

We bless the Source of all existence, who shows us paths to holiness, and inspires us to kindle the (Shabbat and) festival lights.

Source : Velveteen Rabbi's Haggadah, the Religious Action Center's Earth Justice Haggadah, and the SCJC

This symbolic washing of the hands recalls the story of Miriam's Well. Legend tells us that this well followed Miriam, sister of Moses, through the desert, sustaining the Jews in their wanderings. Filled with mayim chayim, waters of life, the well was a source of strength and renewal to all who drew from it. One drink from its waters was said to alert the heart, mind and soul, and make the meaning of Torah become alive.

In Hebrew, urchatz means “washing” or “cleansing.” In Aramaic, sister language to Hebrew, urchatz means “trusting.” As we wash each others’ hands, let us rejoice in this act of trust, while remembering the lack of trust between those in Flint, California and Cochabamba and those who supply and control their access to mayim chayim - living waters.

Pass the bowl & pitcher around the table, pouring a few drops of water onto your neighbor’s hands. Alternately, symbolize the uplifting of cleansed hands by raising hands into the air. 

Optional chant for handwashing: 

פֶלֶג אֱלֹהִים מָלֵא מַיִם / מַיִם חַיִּים 

Peleg elohim, malei mayyim /Mayyim chayyim

Fountain of God, full of water /waters of life!

—Rabbi Shefa Gold


Miriam’s Cup

Reader 1: The story has always been told of a miraculous well of living water which has accompanied the Jewish people since the world was spoken into being. The well comes and goes, as it is needed, and as we remember, forget, and remember again how to call it to us. In the time of the exodus from Mitzrayim, the well came to Miriam, in honor of her courage and action, and stayed with the Jews as they wandered the desert. Upon Miriam’s death, the well again disappeared.

Reader 2: With this ritual of Miriam’s cup, we honor all Jewish women, transgender, genderqueer, intersex people whose histories have been erased. We commit ourselves to transforming all of our cultures into loving welcoming spaces for people of all genders and sexes. Smash the binary gender system! A million genders for a million people! 

Reader 3: Tonight we remember Miriam and ask: Who on own journey has been a way-station for us? Who has encouraged our thirst for knowledge? Who sings with joy at our accomplishments?

Reader 4: Let us each go around and name an act of courage or resistance you have seen from another, and pour water into the communal cup until it overflows. ("Love and Justice in Times of War" Haggadah)


Long before the struggle upward begins, there is tremor in the seed. Self-protection cracks, roots reach down and grab hold. The seed swells, and tender shoots push up toward light. This is karpas: spring awakening growth. A force so tough it can break stone. 

Why do we dip karpas into salt water? At the beginning of this season of rebirth and growth, we recall the tears of our ancestors, friends and neighbors in bondage. And why should salt water be touched by karpas?  To remind us that tears stop. Even after pain. Spring comes. 

ברוך אתה יי אלוהינו מלך העולם בורא פרי האדמה

Baruch atah adonai, eloneinu melech ha'olam, boreh p'ri ha'adamah! (Ashkenazi pronunciation, masc.)

Barucha Yah Shechina, Eloheinu Malkat ha'olam, borayt pri ha'adamah. (Ashkenazi prononciation, fem.)

Blessed are you, source of goodness and challenge, who brings forth fruits from the earth!!

We take this time to honor others who travel with us from other faiths and cultural traditions. We acknowledge the fact that they bring a new perspective to our lives and a legacy of their own that enriches ours. We are grateful for the growth that we have experienced because they are in our lives. Weeding out all that is not necessary and loving, we make room for fresh insight and respect. We welcome those who sit around this table for the first time or the twentieth, bringing new understanding to our discussion. 

Source : The Love and Justice in Times of War Haggadah, Mishael Zion, and the Jews United for Justice 9th Annual Seder and an original cr

YACHATZ ~ Breaking of the Middle Matzah

Reader 1: Take the three matzot and break the middle one in 2 pieces Place the smaller piece of matzah between the two whole matzot. This small piece is called the lechem oni, the bread of affliction. Place the larger half, known as the Afikomen, in a large cloth or napkin, and set it aside. There are many different traditions: Syrian Jews break the matzah in the shape of the two Hebrew letters, a Daleth (numeric value of 4), and Vav (numeric value of 6) to total 10 (the ten kabbalistic sefirot). Uncover the matzah and raise it for all to see.

Reader 2: Matzah is called “the bread of affliction.” When we eat matzah during Passover, we are reminded of the plight of our ancestors who were forced to leave Egypt so quickly they did not even have time to let their bread rise. During the seder we break the matzah in half. We then hide one half away and keep one half before us on the seder plate so that as we tell the story of our affliction, we look at a visible symbol of that affliction. For many immigrants today, the middle matzah may symbolize families divided between their home countries and the United States, or families divided by detentions and deportations mandated by a broken U.S. immigration system.

Reader 3: As long as anyone in the world is afflicted, none of us can be whole. Yet the middle matzah is not just a symbol of despair. Half of the matzah is hidden away, and our meal cannot end until it has been found and enjoyed by every guest at the seder. For although our lot may be a half-loaf and a broken world, as long as we seek justice and freedom for all, hope remains.

Share with a partner: What edges do you need to bless tonight? How do our edges relate to and blessings reach others in SCJC? At Smith? In America? In the world?

Source : The RAC, Jewish Community Action, Jews United for Justice and the SCJC

This is the Bread of Affliction - Ha Lachma Anya

Reader 1: In America, over 11 million undocumented immigrants live in our midst.We identify with their struggles from our memory as Jews freed from Egyptian servitude, and as Americans living in a country built by immigrants. As we look upon the broken middle matzah before us, this is our story - an immigrant story -- in three parts: Memory, Action, Vision.


All read: Ha lachma anya -- this is the bread of poverty and affliction that our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt.

Reader 2: We remember our ancestors’ fear and bravery in facing the new unknown, filled with dangers and opportunities. Through the ritual retelling of our ancient enslavement and exile, we reaffirm our commitment to our own past and to our fight for justice for all people who have been excluded, expatriated, or expelled. We retell the story of the exodus to our children and to our grandchildren so that they, too, will understand the pain of slavery, the value of freedom, and the struggles of migration.


All read: Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are in need, come and share this Pesach meal.

Reader:The Seder demands action! Our narrative as Jews is very much one of displacement, of having to flee, of wandering. In our texts, in our family histories, we find exodus, movement, the search for a home. We are instructed by our history, which commands us 36 times to love, protect, and respect those new to our communities. Our faith compels us to support unions, to advocate for a living wage, and to make visible the invisible labor we take for granted every day.


All read: This year we are still here, in Mitzrayim This year we are still slaves - and next year we will be free people.

Reader: This year undocumented immigrants still live in fear in the shadows of a broken immigration system. Next year may over 11 million aspiring Americans step into the light of freedom and walk the path towards citizenship. This year, our eyes are still clouded by the plague of darkness, as the Gerer Rav taught: “The darkness in Egypt was so dense that people could not see one another. This was not a physical darkness, but a spiritual darkness in which people were unable to see the plight and pain of their neighbors.” Next year, may we replace darkness with light and truly see our neighbors and be moved to act with them to fix our broken immigration system. May we be blessed with the vision and chutzpah (courage) to stand with undocumented workers, invisible laborers, and new immigrants.

-- Four Questions

מַה נִּשְׁתַּנָּה הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילות

Ma nishtana halaila hazeh mikol haleilot?

Why is this night different from all other nights?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכלין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלּוֹ מצה

Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin chameitz u-matzah. Halaila hazeh kulo matzah.

On all other nights we eat both leavened bread and matzah. Tonight we only eat matzah.

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מָרוֹר

Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin shi’ar yirakot haleila hazeh maror.

On all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables, but tonight we eat bitter herbs.

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אָֽנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּֽעַם אחָת הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעמים

Shebichol haleilot ain anu matbilin afilu pa-am echat. Halaila hazeh shtei fi-amim.

On all other nights we aren’t expected to dip our vegetables one time. Tonight we do it twice.

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין. :הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָּֽנוּ מְסֻבין

Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin bein yoshvin uvein m’subin. Halaila hazeh kulanu m’subin.

On all other nights we eat either sitting normally or reclining. Tonight we recline.

-- Four Questions

The Four Questions in Ladino:

Kuanto fue demudada la noche la esta mas ke todas las noches? Ke en todas las noches non nos entinyentes afilu vez una, i la noche la esta dos vezes? Ke en todas las noches nos comientes levdo o sesenya i la noche la esta todo el sesenya? Ke en todas las noches nos comientes resto de vedruras i la noche la esta lechugua? Ke en todas las noches nos comientes i bevientes tanto asentados i tanto arescovdados i la noche la esta todos nos arescovdados?

The Four Questions in Judeo-Arabic:

B’ma tera-yerath ha-dhee lei-la min kil l’yalee. Fee kil l’yalee les nih’na ram’seen. Lawu-noo mara wahda wa-dhee lei-la mar-ten. Fee kil l’yalee nih’na ak-leen chmeer ya f’teer. Wa-dhee lei-la ku-loo f’teer. Fee kil l’yalee nih’na ak-leen ch-dhar ya m’rar. Wa-dhee Leila ku-loo m’rar. Fee kil l’yalee nih’na ak-leen u-shar-been. Ben ka’a’deen uben min-ti-ki-yeen. Wa-dhee lei-la ki-lit-na min-ti-ki-yeen

(from "Love and Justice in Times of War" Haggadah)

-- Four Questions

This question was written by Yehuda Webster and Leo Ferguson, leaders and member-organizers of the Jews for Racial and Economic Justice's Jews of Color Caucus. We read this tonight on their behalf.

“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.

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.... When those tactics (harsh policing, surveillance and incarceration) brutalize other communities, humiliating and incarcerating our neighbors perpetuates 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? 

-- Four Children

At Passover each year, we read the story of our ancestors’ pursuit of liberation from oppression. When confronting this history, how do we answer our children or our contacts when they ask us how to pursue justice in our time?


“The Torah tells me, ‘Justice, justice you shall pursue,’ but how can I pursue justice?”


“How can I solve problems of such enormity?”


“It’s not my responsibility.”


What does the joyous future we can build together at SCJC look like?

Turn to a partner:

Where do you see the four children reflected in yourself? Your family? Your Community? The World?

(inspired by "The Four Children – A Marxist Approach" by Sebastian Greenholtz and the Milken School Global Beit Midrash)

-- Exodus Story

Exodus and Liberation translate many different ways for different communities, religious groups, and individuals. Chief Tom Dostou of the Wabanaki Nation of Massachusetts offers the following prayer in an excerpt from a larger piece describing his journey across his ancestral homeland of “Turtle Island.”

"...we will pray for the American Indian people who are now exiled in our own homelands. We will pray that the spiritual connection which the indigenous peoples of this land have cherished and maintained despite overwhelming odds and obstacles will continue to be the backbone and staff upon which this land rests." (Jewish Solidarity With Native American People Haggadah) 

-- Exodus Story
"A Not-So-Serious Passover Play for the Classroom or the Dining Room" by S. Mitchell

CHARACTERS: Slave Narrator, G_d (as a voice offstage), Moses, Aaron, Burning Bush, Pharoah

SLAVE NARRATOR: In Egypt we Hebrews had a difficult life. All day we worked under the whips of the taskmasters, making bricks and stacking them into giant pyramids, using nothing but our bare hands and a mixture of apples, raisins and nuts to bind the bricks together. We ate nothing but horseradish and drank only salt water. The only joy we had came from squeezing our fresh loaves of bread, which were soft and thick and light and fluffy as clouds. We had nothing to hope for. But little did we know that one of us, an escaped Hebrew who lived as a stranger in a foreign land of Midian, would soon return to us as our savior.

MOSES: Here sheep! Here sheep, sheep! Hey, come back! Don't make me chase you-- (Suddenly surprised at the sight of a burning bush.) Oh, my gosh!

MOSES: That little bush is on fire! (He dowses it.)

MOSES: But why aren't you burned, little bush?

G_D: Moses!

MOSES: Here I am.

G_D: Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place you stand on is holy ground.

Moses removes his shoes.

G_D: Moses! Whew! Stinky!

MOSES: Here I am!

G_D: Put your shoes back on, please.

MOSES: Who are you?

G_D: I am the G_d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher--

MOSES: What do you want from me?

G_D: I have heard the cry of the Hebrew slaves and I've come to rescue them, to lead them out of that land into a good land flowing with milk and honey, the country of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Websites, Hippies, Trekkies, Yuppies, Muppets, Skittles, Ewoks--

MOSES: Get to the point...

G_D: Actually, you are going to do it.

MOSES: Do what?

G_D: You, Moses, will lead the Hebrews out of that land into a good land flowing with milk and honey, the country of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites--

MOSES: Who am I that I should lead the Israelites to freedom? What will they say when I tell them, "The G_d of your fathers has sent me to lead you"? If they ask, "What is His name?", what do I tell them?

G_D: Tell them, "I am who I am."

G_D: They'll believe you, Moses. Then go to the Pharoah and ask him to let you go on a three day's journey into the desert to offer sacrifices. If he says yes, which he won't, you'll go and you won't come back.

MOSES: Good plan. Do you think Pharoah will buy it?

G_D: No.

MOSES: What's Plan B?

G_D: Pharoah won't let your people go unless he is forced. So I will stretch out my hand and smite Egypt by doing all sorts of wondrous deeds there. Lots of people and animals will die.

MOSES: Couldn't you just make Pharoah say yes the first time?

G_D: I cannot. But perhaps Moses can convince him.

MOSES: How will I convince him? What if he doesn't believe me? I need some proof of your wondrous power.

G_D: Do you know any card tricks?


G_D: The nickel in the ear trick?


G_D: The rabbit from a hat?


G_D: Saw the lady in half?


G_D: Don't worry. You'll think of something. Now go!

SLAVE NARRATOR: So Moses came back to us, and before long, he and his brother Aaron paid Pharoah a visit.

Moses pushes Aaron ahead of him into Pharoah's room as Pharoah dresses himself. Aaron pushes back, then Moses pushes him forward again, and on and on.

PHAROAH (to the mirror): Today, I'm going to wear this hat. This is a good Pharoah hat. No, I'll wear this hat--this is better. Yes. No, no, this one, it's the best. OK. No, maybe this one is better.

Moses pushes Aaron into the room hard.

AARON: I'm going!

Pharoah turns around.

PHAROAH: Well, if it isn't the freakies who talk to the gods. I've heard of you both. You've got my slaves all riled up. Tell me. Is He planning to make it rain tomorrow?

AARON: Our G_d has called upon us to make a sacrifice to Them in the desert.

PHAROAH: How narcissistic of your god. I like it. So how did it go?

AARON: We haven't done it yet.

PHAROAH: Why not?

Aaron is silent. Moses whispers in his ear.

AARON: We have to do it in the desert.

PHAROAH: You live in the desert. Go into your backyard and make your sacrifice.

AARON: It's not that simple. Our G_d wants us to do it far away from here.

PHAROAH: Really.

AARON: Yes, sir. About a three day's walk.

PHAROAH: I see. So what I think I hear you saying is, you want to take all of my slaves out on a sort of field trip.

AARON: A holy sacrifice.

PHAROAH: Right, a holy sacrifice. In the desert.


PHAROAH: Three days away from here.

AARON: Exactly!

PHAROAH: And I suppose you'll be needing to pack a few things.

AARON: Well...

PHAROAH: For your three-day hike in the desert.

AARON: Well, yes!

PHAROAH: So you can make it back here safe and healthy enough to pick up right where you left off.

AARON (excited): Absolutely, yes!


AARON: Great! OK, then. We'll see you in a few days!

MOSES: You'll hardly miss us!



PHAROAH: I'm assuming you have a Plan B?


PHAROAH: In case I'm not the fool you think I am. You Hebrews are going nowhere.

SLAVE NARRATOR: G_d had indeed made Pharoah obstinate. He ordered the taskmasters to increase our work and punish us with greater cruelty. And though Moses and Aaron returned to him each day with various amazing feats to prove their holy authority, Pharoah simply ordered his own magicians to explain these tricks away.

MOSES: G_d, it's not working. We told him everything you said. We tried a few card tricks. We turned my staff into a snake. But nothing works. And the slaves--they think I'm only making things worse for them.

G_D: Yes, I expected this. It's time I showed them the awesome power of the Lord. It is time I smite Egypt with my wondrous deeds! Go back to Pharoah, lads, and warn him of my wrath.

SLAVE NARRATOR: So with G_d looking on, Moses and Aaron returned to Pharoah.

Pharoah is looking at himself in the mirror again, deciding on an impressive royal pose, changing his mind again and again, when Moses and Aaron approach.

PHAROAH: Boys, welcome back! Have any new tricks to show me?

AARON: Pharoah.


AARON: Let my people go.




AARON: If you don't, you will witness the awesome power of the Lord.

PHAROAH: I see. Could you be more specific?

AARON: If you don't let the Hebrews go free, we will pack our things and lead them away. And when your taskmasters try to stop us, they will find themselves frozen, unable to move. And we'll walk right by them, smiling, laughing, and they won't even be able to blink. They'll be stuck, frozen like giant blocks of ice, and--

G_D: Stop!

Time stops. Pharoah, Aaron and Moses all stop moving and speaking.

G_D (anxious) : Moses, Moses!

MOSES: Here I am!

G_D: Tell Aaron I can't do that. I can't freeze people.

MOSES: Well, what can you do?

G_D: I will turn all their waters to blood.

MOSES: Ugh! I pass out at the sight of blood.

SLAVE NARRATOR: And so Egypt was colored red with blood. The fish in the river died, the Egyptians had to dig to find clean water to drink, and Moses was woozy for many days. After a week, G_d commanded Aaron to stretch his hand over the waters of Egypt and the country was overrun by frogs. This time, Pharoah sent for Moses and Aaron.

AARON: Now, Pharoah, you have seen the awesome power of the Lord!

PHAROAH: Yes, and the frogs were cute at first, I admit, but all the ribbeting is driving me crazy. Make them disappear and I'll let your people go.

Aaron and Moses turn to go.



PHAROAH: Forget it. Can't leave.

AARON: If you don't let us go, the Lord will punish you even more severely.




G_D: How?

AARON: Why, he'll make the ground beneath your soldiers' feet turn to glue, so when you try to follow us, their feet will get stuck, and then they'll reach down to free themselves and their hands will stick to their feet, and then they won't be able to do anything, and we'll laugh and laugh and--

G_D: Stop!

Time stops. Pharoah, Aaron and Moses all stop moving and speaking.

G_D: Moses, Moses!

MOSES: Here I am!

G_D: Tell Aaron I can't do that. I can't turn the ground into glue.

MOSES: Well, what can you do?

G_D: I'll, I'll, I'll turn the dust of the earth into little gnats, which will go "bzzzz" over the land!

SLAVE NARRATOR: And so the land and air were swarming with gnats. But Pharoah refused again. And then came flies. And the pestilence. And the boils. And again Pharoah called Moses and Aaron to his chambers.

Pharoah, stands in front of his mirror, his face covered with boils. He grimaces at his reflection as Moses and Aaron enter.

PHAROAH: Oh, thank G_d you're here. Make these things go away. I've tried everything. Facial masks, Buff Puffs, exfoliants, zinc supplements, hypnosis, feng shui, everything! Clear my complexion and I'll let you Israelites worship in the desert for FOUR days if you want to.

AARON: OK. We'll begin packing.

They turn to leave.



PHAROAH: If I change my mind?

AARON: If you change your mind?

PHAROAH: What would happen?

AARON: Well, if you don't let us go, the Lord will rain down on you millions of little round balls, and when you try to chase after us, you'll slip and fall down. And you'll try to get up, and you'll slip and fall again, and we'll be laughing so hard--

G_D: Stop!

Time stops. Pharoah, Aaron and Moses all stop moving and speaking.

G_D: Moses, Moses!

MOSES: Just try it, G_d!

SLAVE NARRATOR: And so the Lord drowned the land in a downpour of hail, so fierce that every animal and plant was struck down and the crops were ruined. A plague of locusts followed. And then Pharoah called upon our heroes again.

PHAROAH: OK. I'm pretty sure I'm going to let your people go this time. But just supposing I don't?

AARON: If you don't let us go, your people will be blinded by darkness--

Aaron pauses and looks to Moses. Moses looks up to the heavens, but G_d is silent. Moses shrugs at Aaron.

AARON: And when they try to chase after us, they'll bump into each other and fall down and then get up and run the wrong way, and when you hear our giggling, you'll reach for us, but you'll only grab each other by accident!

MOSES: Can you do that, G_d?

G_D: Yes, I think I can do that one.

AARON: Alrighty then.

SLAVE NARRATOR: But Pharoah proved wishy-washy again. And Aaron and Moses promised Pharoah the worst plague of them all.

AARON: If you don't let us go, the Lord will make Hannukah last eight months instead of eight days, and every night our children will wander through the villages singing ( singing in an annoying voice), "I have a little dreidel, I made it out of clay, And when--"


G_D: Moses, Moses!

MOSES (exasperated) : What is it?!

G_D: I like the dreidel song.

MOSES: Then YOU think of something!

G_D: Mark your doorposts with the blood of a lamb.

MOSES: Not more blood!

G_D: The angel of death will pass over the homes that bear this mark. And take the living spirits of the first-born Egyptians.

SLAVE NARRATOR: And so it came to pass. And this time, not only did Pharoah give us permission to leave, but all of Egypt helped us pack and rushed us out toward the Red Sea.

Pharoah rushes Aaron and Moses as they pack their things.

PHAROAH: Here, I had my soldiers wrap up your bread!

AARON: But it hasn't had time to rise.

MOSES: And your rushing us leaves us no time to cook our ceremonial feast!

PHAROAH: You'll have to get it catered! Now get out of here!

Moses and Aaron leave.


No response.

PHAROAH: Wait! I think I might change my mind!

Still no response.

SLAVE NARRATOR: Pharaoh did change his mind, and he sent his people to hunt us down as we made our way toward the Red Sea. I think you know what happened next. Four hundred thirty years of oppression came to an end.

AARON: What are you talking about?! We're eating sandwiches of mortar on flat bread!

SLAVE NARRATOR: Stop complaining. ( He raises his arms in celebration. ) Next year in Jerusalem!

AARON: Yeah, right!

-- Exodus Story
Source : The Velveteen Rabbi's Haggadah for Pesach

Freedom. It isn’t once, to walk out
under the Milky Way, feeling the rivers
of light, the fields of dark—
freedom is daily, prose-bound, routine
remembering. Putting together, inch by inch
the starry worlds. From all the lost collections.

Adrienne Rich

-- 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 made in the image of God. We pour out a drop of wine for each of the plagues as we recite them. Dip a finger or a spoon into your wine glass for a drop for each plague. These are the ten plagues which God brought down on the Egyptians:

Blood | dam | דָּם

Frogs | tzfardeiya | צְפַרְדֵּֽעַ

Lice | kinim | כִּנִּים

Beasts | arov | עָרוֹב

Cattle disease | dever | דֶּֽבֶר

Boils | sh’chin | שְׁחִין

Hail | barad | בָּרָד

Locusts | arbeh | אַרְבֶּה

Darkness | choshech | חֹֽשֶׁךְ

Death of the Firstborn | makat b’chorot | מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת

-- Ten Plagues
Source : Jews United for Justice
Ten Plagues - Ten Lives Lost

To persuade Pharaoh to let the Hebrew slaves go free, God brought ten plagues on the people of Egypt. In a traditional seder, we remove a drop of wine or juice from our glasses as we name each ancient plague, symbolizing that even as we celebrate our liberation, our joy is reduced by the suffering of the Egyptians. Tonight we remove a drop from our full cups after we read the names of ten Black lives lost to police violence:

Sean Bell

Kendrek McDade

Walter Scott

Rekia Boyd

Eric Garner

John Crawford III

Kimani Grey

Aiyana Stanley Jones

Tamir Rice

Michael Brown

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

Dayenu means “it would have sufficed” or “we would have been satisfied.” Perhaps “grateful” would be a better translation. Dayenu is the song of our gratitude. A Jewish philosopher was once asked, “what is the opposite of hopelessness?” And he said, “Dayenu,” the ability to be thankful for what we have received, for what we are. The first prayer that a Jew is expected to recite upon waking expresses hir gratitude for being alive. This holds for all generations, and surely ours. For each of us, every day should be an act of grace, every hour a miraculous offering.

In many Sephardi and Mizrahi communities, the singing of Dayenu is accompanied by beating each other with leeks or scallions. Using bunches of scallions or leeks, Seder participants beat each other (lightly) on the back and shoulders to symbolize the taskmasters whip.

אִלּוּ הוֹצִיאָנוּ מִמִּצְרָיִם


אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת


אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַתּוֹרָה


Ilu hotzi hotzianu hotzianu mi’mitzrayim Hotzianu mi’mitzrayim dayenu

(If you had only brought us out of Mitzrayim – Dayenu!)

Dai-dai-yenu, Dai-dai-yenu, Dai-dai-yenu Dai-yenu, Dai-yenu!

Ilu natan natan lanu natan lanu et ha'shabbat Natan lanu et ha'shabbat dayenu

(If you had only given us Shabbat – Dayenu!)

Dai-dai-yenu, Dai-dai-yenu, Dai-dai-yenu Dai-yenu, Dai-yenu! Ilu natan natan lanu natan lanu et ha'torah Natan lanu et ha'torah dayenu

(If you had only given us the Torah – Dayenu!)

Dai-dai-yenu, Dai-dai-yenu, Dai-dai-yenu Dai-yenu, Dai-yenu

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

In Hopes of Freedom From Abuse For All

Author unknown. Adapted by Hannah Litman and Rachel Novick. CW: Abuse

Sometimes, we cannot say Dayenu.
We have the right to say, “No, this is not enough, I will not settle for this.”

Sometimes, we wish we could say Dayenu. What would be enough?

When we can make choices about our own bodies, our own identities, and our own lives,


When courts, law enforcement and mental health professionals stop blaming the survivor,

When the Jewish community protects abuse survivors,


When our voices are listened to and believed without judgment or question,


When money and power can no longer protect abusers,


When the community focuses on stopping the abusers instead of blaming us for staying,


When Jewish law and secular law can guarantee our right to safety,


When every person can find true shalom bayit (peace in the home),


When anyone who is in danger can also be in safety,


-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
A Cup to our Teachers: To those we have known and those whose work has inspired us, and made space for our lives. We are grateful to you who did and said things for the first time, who claimed and reclaimed our traditions, who forged new tools. Thank you to the teachers around us of all ages-- the people we encounter everyday--who live out their values in small and simple ways, and who are our most regular and loving reminders of the world we are creating together. (Love and Justice Haggadah)

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

We thank a higher power, shaper and maker, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Drink the second glass of wine!


As we now transition from the formal telling of the Passover story to the celebratory meal, we once again wash our hands to prepare ourselves. In Judaism, a good meal together with friends and family is itself a sacred act, so we prepare for it just as we prepared for our holiday ritual. 

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’tsivanu al n’tilat yadayim (Ashkenazi pronunciation, masc.) 

Brucha Yah Shechinah, eloheinu Malkat ha-olam, asher kid’shatnu b’mitzvotayha v’tzivatnu al n’tilat yadayim. (Ashkenazi pronunciation,fem.)

Barouch ata Adonai eloheinu Melech ha-olam asher kid-sha-nu bemis-wo-thaw we-see-wanu al ni-tee-lath ya-da-yeem. (Iraqi pronunciation,masc.)


בְָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַמּוֹצִיא לֶֽחֶם מִן הָאָֽרֶץ:

Barouch ata Adonai, eloheinu Melech ha-olam ha-mosee le-hem min haares. (Iraqi pronunciation,masc.)

Baruch atah Adonai, eloheinu Melech ha-olam ha-motzi lechem min ha-aretz. (Ashkenazi pronunciation, masc.)

Brucha Yah Shechinah, eloheinu Malkat ha-olam ha-motzi lechem min ha-aretz. (Ashkenazi pronunciation, fem.)

Blessed are You, Compassionte One, who has given us the blessing of eating this matzah.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתַָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מַצָּה:

Barouch ata Adonai eloheinu melech ha-olam asher kid-sha-nu bemis-wo-thaw we-see-wanu al achee-lath massa. (Iraqi pronunciation,masc.)

Baruch atah Adonai, eloheinu Melech ha-olam asher kid-shanu bmitzvotav vitzivanu al akhilat matzah. (Ashkenazi pronunciation, masc.)

Brucha Yah Shechinah, eloheinu Malkat ha-olam asher kid-shatnu b’mitzvotayha vitzivatnu al akhilat matzah. (Ashkenazi pronunciation,fem.)

Blessed are You, Sustainer of all Life, who brings forth bread from the earth.

Feed some matzah to the person to your right. All eat while reclining.


Disability exists in every sector of society: in immigrant communities, in prisons, in religious and spiritual communities, among veterans and homeless folks, among children and elders and everyone in between... so every movement (and ritual) has to advance disability justice, and vice versa.

A movement or ritual that sees some people as disposable or able to be sacrificed is not disability justice. Liberation can't happen alone; we have to reach toward one another. Whether online, in our bedrooms and living rooms, in letters passing through prison guards' hands, or in the streets, we are part of a growing movement, and we are just developing the practice right now. We make the road by walking, rolling, prancing, crawling, limping along it.

The maror stimulates our senses, let us use it as a stimulus to action to remind us that struggle is better than complicit acceptance of injustice. We taste the bitter herbs and recognize the bitter consequences of exploitation, rejection or wrong-doing: the loss of lives and the waste of the powerful potential of all people. ("Love and Justice in Times of War" Haggadah, Nomy Lamm's This Is Disability Justice in "The Body is Not an Apology")

ברוּךְ אַתָּה יְיַָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מרוֹר:

Barouch ata adonai eloheinu melech ha-olam asher kid-sha-nu bemis-wo-thaw we-see-wanu al achee-lath maror. (Iraqi pronunciation,masc.)

Brucha Yah Shechinah, eloheinu Malkat ha-olam, asher kid’shatnu b’mitzvotayha vitzivatnu al achilat maror. (Ashkenazi pronunciation,fem.)

Baruch atah Adanai eloheinu melech ha-olam, asher kid-shanu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu al achilat maror. (Ashkenazi pronunciation, masc.)


We now take some maror and charoset and put them between two pieces of matzah and give the sandwich to the person on our left. In doing this, we recall our sage Hillel (head of the Sanhedrin, the supreme council of Yisrael, 1st century B.C.E.) who, in remembrance of the loss of the Temple, created the Korech sandwich. He said that by eating the Korech, we would taste the bitterness of slavery mixed with the sweetness of freedom. This practice suggests that part of the challenge of living is to taste freedom even in the midst of oppression, and to be ever conscious of the oppression of others even when we feel that we are free.

Together we say: 

If I am not for myself, who will be for me?

But if I am for myself only, what am I?

And if not now, when?        (Hillel)

And if not with others, how?     (Adrienne Rich)


In some Mizrahi traditions, the Seder Leader lifts the Seder plate over the heads of all the participants, while chanting:

Bibhilu yasanu mi-Misrayim benei horeem.

In haste we left Miszrayim, a free people.

Shulchan Oreich
Source : "Love and Justice in Times of War" Haggadah

In some Ashkenazi traditions, the Afikomen is hidden during the meal, for the ‘children’ to find later. This ceremony reminds us that what is broken can be repaired and that what is lost can be regained, as long as we remember it and search for it

Shulchan Oreich

A Cup to Ourselves, to all of us who are at this seder tonight, to the present moment.

We must love ourselves, for we are holy, and we have been created out of all that is. Let us take this moment to honor our bodies, our lives, and our communities. Let us honor all the things that have made us who we are- the pain and the pleasure. Let us savor our bodies in all their uniqueness: our skins and our bones, all of our different strengths and sizes, the places that look and move in ways unique to us.

Note the places that hurt, the places we struggle with, the places that are changing and unfurling. Note the parts that have come down to us from our ancestors, the parts we have been taught to hate, the parts we have been taught to love. We are beautiful. Let us never forget that caring for ourselves, as we would care for our most precious and beloved, is part of creating the world we want to live in.

Meditation: Bring to mind something which sustains you either spiritually or physically. Then imagine what sustains it, and offer that your praises.

(from "Love and Justice in Times of War" Haggadah)

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

We thank a higher power, shaper and maker, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Drink the third glass of wine!

Shulchan Oreich

In this moment we lift up our voices in gratitude for this meal, for the community we have surrounded ourselves with, and the opportunity to do the work of justice. For vision, history and tradition, storytelling, this shared meal, and us, this community here today - the mixed multitude - gathered in the essential work of collective liberation, we give thanks.

בריך רחמנא מלכא דעלמא מריה דהאי פיתא

Brich rachamana malka d'alma ma'arey d'hai pita

You are the source of life for all that is and your blessing flows through me 


“So who has found the afikomen?” we ask. The finders hold the napkin-covered matzah tightly in their hands and are determined to bargain. It is a part of our lesson plan—this small rebellion. Each year we teach a new generation to resist bondage, to envision someplace better, to savor freedom, and to take responsibility for the journeys of their lives. And each year with the afikomen ritual, they hold power in their hands, just long enough to say, “yes” or “no” with all eyes on them. With people waiting. “We can’t finish the seder without it.” Just long enough to learn to ask for what they want.

For two thousand years, the Jewish people have been separated from our families and from our nations, though our ancient culture survives and grows. For hundreds of years the book of Genesis has been interpreted as justifying human domination and destruction of the earth, though it tells of the beauty of creation. For decades, Jews and Muslims have been reinforcing the wall between them, though its foundation was laid by colonists and its height is built up to serve foreign military interests. Let us stop fighting each other for someone else’s profit. Let us remember our kinship and learn how each other has grown in the years since we stopped listening. May we humble ourselves before history and before one another, and make the world whole again. (from "Love and Justice in Times of War" Haggadah)

Source : Rabbi David Wirtschafter

What else does the afikomen hunt teach?

It teaches that finding requires seeking.

That seeking, in and of itself, is worthwhile and fun.

That discovering new meaning demands that we keep looking.

That we can’t bring anything to a satisfying conclusion without the patience and persistence needed to get there.

Rabbi David Wirtschafter

Source :

The Cup of Elijah

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

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

אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַנָּבִיא, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַתִּשְׁבִּיאֵלִיָּֽהוּ, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ,אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַגִּלְעָדִי

בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵֽנוּ יָבוֹא אֵלֵֽינוּ

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד

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

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


Gathered around the Seder table, we pour four cups, remembering the gift of freedom that our ancestors received centuries ago. We delight in our liberation from Pharaoh’s oppression.

We drink four cups for four promises fulfilled.

The first cup as God said, “I will free you from the labors of the Egyptians.”

The second as God said, “And I will deliver you from their bondage.”

The third as God said, “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.”

The fourth because God said, “I will take you to be My People.”

We know, though, that all are not yet free. As we welcome Elijah the Prophet into our homes, we offer a fifth cup, a cup not yet consumed.

This cup for the 60 million refugees and displaced people around the world still waiting to be free from the refugee camps in Chad to the cities and towns of Ukraine, for the Syrian refugees still waiting to be delivered from the hands of tyrants, for the thousands of asylum seekers in the United States still waiting in detention for redemption to come, for all those who yearn to be taken in not as strangers but as fellow human beings.

This Passover, let us walk in the footsteps of the One who delivered us from bondage. When we rise from our Seder tables, may we be emboldened to take action on behalf of the world’s refugees, hastening Elijah’s arrival as we speak out on behalf of those who are not yet free.

אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַנָּבִיא, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַתִּשְׁבִּי,

אֵלִיָּֽהוּ, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ,אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַגִּלְעָדִי.

בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵֽנוּ יָבוֹא אֵלֵֽינוּ

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד,

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד.

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

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

Source : Love and Justice Haggadah

מִן הַמֵּצַר קָרָאתִי יָּהּ, עָנָּנִי בַמֶרְחַב יָהּ. עָנָּנִי

Min hameitzar karati yah Amani vamerchav yah Anani (3x)

From a narrow place, I cried out to Hashem. Hashem answered me with wide expanse.

"It is good to give thanks, Not because G-d needs our praise, But because we do. To awaken to wonder, to holiness, to G-d. It is good to give thanks for through thanksgiving comes awakening."

-Rami Shapiro


To uprooting oppression and transforming all of our living cultures. We refuse to give up our voices, our histories, our blood to the corporations and the governments, to the pharaohs of the present day. We refuse to leave behind any of our people who do not look or desire or move or speak or believe the way we do. We refuse to be left behind ourselves. We are powerful agents of change, and we are transforming our cultures to be so just, so free, so beautiful, that we cannot even fully imagine them right now. Let us savor this taste of the freedom that is to come. Let us never lose our conviction that the world we dream of, the ‘world to come’, is coming, right now, through each of us.

ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם, בורא פרי הגפן

Brucha Yah Shechinah, eloheinu Malkat ha’olam borayt p’ri ha-gafen. (Ashkenazi pronunciation, fem.)

Barouch ata Adonai, eloheinu Melech ha’olam boreh p’ri ha-gafen. (Iraqi pronunciation, masc.)

Baruch atah Adonai, eloheinu Melech ha’olam boreh p’ri ha-gafen. (Ashkenazi pronunciation, masc.)

Blessed is the Infinite, that fills all creation and brings forth the fruit of the vine!!!!

(from "Love and Justice in Times of War" Haggadah)


The origins of the name Jerusalem elude those who pursue them. Some say the name derives from the Hebrew "Ir Shalom", city of peace. Certainly the city of Jerusalem of our own experience and our own world is not a city of peace. It has too often been a city of death and destruction, a city that has seen, too many times... the absurdity of war. Its heart is severed by a barrier that provides both security and rage. 

To what, then, do we refer when we say, "next year in Jerusalem", at our Seder's end? We close our eyes and see, with the eyes of our small gift of living energy, the vision of a city built by actions and attitudes of peace, a city in which hatred and injustice die for lack of nourishment, a city whose influence will spread throughout the world. It is a Jerusalem that is yet to be, a Jerusalem of our dreams, our hopes and our strivings. May the message of this Seder inspire us to make the dream real.

What will redemption look like?

(Peace Now/Shalom Achshav and SCJC) 

Source : Rabbi Eli Garfinkel
It’s eight o’clock on a festive eve The Haggadah sons shuffle past They are wise, and wicked, and simpleton And one who doesn’t know how to ask

The wise son says “Dad, wontcha call on me.” I know the Torah and the codes They’re good and they’re sweet And I know ‘em complete

The others might as well take a doze. La-di-die-diddy-die. . .

Sing us a song you’re the Pesah man Sing us a song tonight Well we’re all in the mood for a macaroon And you’ve got us feeling alright.

The wicked son curses: “bleep bleep bleep” If he’d been there he’d have died And he’s quick with a poke or to tell a bad joke And if his lips are moving it’s a lie

He says, “Dad I believe this is killing me.” As a smile grew big on his face “Well I’m sure that I could be a movie star If I could get out of this place.

Low the third of the sons is a simple guy Neither a dolt nor Einstein He’s simply gonna ask So we’ll answer, no task

And I think that’s really just fine.

And the fourth of the sons really has no clue He can’t even get the words out So we’ll tell him the story We won’t make it real boring

I don’t see us needing to shout. La-di-die-diddy-die. . .

Sing us a song you’re the Pesah man Sing us a song tonight Well we’re all in the mood for a macaroon And you’ve got us feeling alright. 

Source : Time of Israel
Chag Gad Ya Emoji Style



אֶחָד מִי יוֹדֵעַ? אֶחָד אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ.

Echad mi yodea? Echad ani yodea
Echad EloheinuEloheinu, Eloheinu, Eloheinu, Eloheinu

Shebashamayim uva'aretz

שְׁנַיִם מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שְׁנַיִם אֲנִי יוֹדֵע: שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית,

Shnayim mi yodea? Shnayim ani yodea Shnei luchot habrit

שְׁלֹשָה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שְׁלֹשָה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: שְׁלֹשָׁה אָבוֹת,

Shlosha mi yodea? Shlosha ani yodea Shlosha avot

אַרְבַּע מִי יוֹדֵעַ? אַרְבַּע אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת,

Arbah mi yodea? Arbah ani yodea Arbah imahot

Chamisha mi yodea? Chamisha ani yodea Chamisha chumshei Torah חֲמִשָּׁה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? חֲמִשָּׁה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: חֲמִשָּׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה,

Shisha mi yodea? Shisha ani yodea Shisha sidrei mishnah שִׁשָּׁה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שִׁשָּׁה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה,

Shivah mi yodea? Shivah ani yodea Shivah y'mei shabta שִׁבְעָה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שִׁבְעָה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבַּתָּא,

Shmonah mi yodea? Shmonah ani yodea Shmonah y'mei milah שְׁמוֹנָה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שְׁמוֹנָה אֲנִי יוֹדֵע: שְׁמוֹנָה יְמֵי מִילָה,

Tishah mi yodea? Tishah ani yodea Tishah yarchei leidah תִּשְׁעָה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? תִּשְׁעָה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: תִּשְׁעָה יַרְחֵי לֵדָה,

Asarah mi yodea? Asarah ani yodea Asarah dibrayah עֲשָׂרָה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? עֲשָׂרָה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: עֲשָׂרָה דִבְּרַיָא,

Achad asar mi yodea? Achad asar ani yodea Achad asar kochvayah אַחַד עָשָׂר מִי יוֹדֵעַ? אַחַד עָשָׂר אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: אַחַד עָשָׂר כּוֹכְבַיָּא,

Shneim asar mi yodea? Shneim asar ani yodea Shneim asar shivtayah שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר שִׁבְטַיָּא,

Shlosha asar mi yodea? Shloshah asar ani yodea Shlosha asar midayah שְׁלֹשָה עָשָׂר מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שְׁלֹשָׁה עָשָׂר אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: שְׁלֹשָׁה עָשָׂר מִדַּיָּא,

Who knows one? I know one! One is our Hashem, One is Hashem, One is Hashem, in the heaven and the earth.

Who knows two? I know two! Two are the tablets of the covenant; One is our Hashem, One is Hashem, One is Hashem, in the heaven and the earth.

Who knows three? I know three! Three are the fathers of Israel; Two are the tablets of the covenant; One is our Hashem, One is Hashem, One is Hashem, in the heaven and the earth.

Who knows four? I know four! Four are the mothers of Israel; Three are the fathers of Israel; Two are the tablets of the covenant; One is our Hashem, One is Hashem, One is Hashem, in the heaven and the earth.

Who knows five? I know five! Five are the books of the Torah; Four are the mothers of Israel; Three are the fathers of Israel; Two are the tablets of the covenant; One is our Hashem, One is Hashem, One is Hashem, in the heaven and the earth.

Who knows six? I know six! Six are the orders of the Mishnah; Five are the books of the Torah; Four are the mothers of Israel; Three are the fathers of Israel; Two are the tablets of the covenant; One is our Hashem, One is Hashem, One is Hashem, in the heaven and the earth.

Who knows seven? I know seven! Seven are the days of the week; Six are the orders of the Mishnah; Five are the books of the Torah; Four are the mothers of Israel; Three are the fathers of Israel; Two are the tablets of the covenant; One is our Hashem, One is Hashem, One is Hashem, in the heaven and the earth.

Who knows eight? I know eight! Eight are the days to Brit Milah; Seven are the days of the week; Six are the orders of the Mishnah; Five are the books of the Torah; Four are the mothers of Israel; Three are the fathers of Israel; Two are the tablets of the covenant; One is our Hashem, One is Hashem, One is Hashem, in the heaven and the earth.

Who knows nine? I know nine! Nine are the months to childbirth; Eight are the days to Brit Milah; Seven are the days of the week; Six are the orders of the Mishnah; Five are the books of the Torah; Four are the mothers of Israel; Three are the fathers of Israel; Two are the tablets of the covenant; One is our Hashem, One is Hashem, One is Hashem, in the heaven and the earth.

Who knows ten? I know ten! Ten are the commandments; Nine are the months to childbirth; Eight are the days to Brit Milah; Seven are the days of the week; Six are the orders of the Mishnah; Five are the books of the Torah; Four are the mothers of Israel; Three are the fathers of Israel; Two are the tablets of the covenant; One is our Hashem, One is Hashem, One is Hashem, in the heaven and the earth.

Who knows eleven? I know eleven! Eleven are the stars in Joseph’s dream; Ten are the commandments; Nine are the months to childbirth; Eight are the days to Brit Milah; Seven are the days of the week; Six are the orders of the Mishnah; Five are the books of the Torah; Four are the mothers of Israel; Three are the fathers of Israel; Two are the tablets of the covenant; One is our Hashem, One is Hashem, One is Hashem, in the heaven and the earth.

Who knows twelve? I know twelve! Twelve are the tribes of Israel; Eleven are the stars in Joseph’s dream; Ten are the commandments; Nine are the months to childbirth; Eight are the days to Brit Milah; Seven are the days of the week; Six are the orders of the Mishnah; Five are the books of the Torah; Four are the mothers of Israel; Three are the fathers of Israel; Two are the tablets of the covenant; One is our Hashem, One is Hashem, One is Hashem, in the heaven and the earth.

Who knows thirteen? I know thirteen! Thirteen are the attributes of God; Twelve are the tribes of Israel; Eleven are the stars in Joseph’s dream; Ten are the commandments; Nine are the months to childbirth; Eight are the days to Brit Milah; Seven are the days of the week; Six are the orders of the Mishnah; Five are the books of the Torah; Four are the mothers of Israel; Three are the fathers of Israel; Two are the tablets of the covenant; One is our Hashem, One is Hashem, One is Hashem, in the heaven and the earth.


Hinei ma tov umanaim

Shevet achim gam yachad  (x2) 

Behold how good and

How pleasant it is

For brothers to dwell together

Avadeem Hayinu

עֲבָדִים הָיִינוּ עַתָּה בְּנֵי חוֹרִין

Avadeem hayinu atah bnei chorin.

We were slaves to Pharoah in Egypt  -- now we are free