Seder Resources 2017/5777 (courtesy of Adat Shalom!)

5777 / 2017 @ ASRC:   A Meaningful Pesach to All!


better formatted & with active hyperlinks in Word doc AS Pesach 2017 — or, read on:

1, The Reconstructionist Insert – a newly-viral suggestion for a moment for refugees, connected to a Pineapple (organic or virtual, please!) on your Seder Plate…   or while there, the revised Hamilton Haggadah, updated by my friends Jake & Emily at RRC!  And as always, see the Recon-birthed for many more….

2, Helpful Eco-links , as shared by members on our website:
In preparation for the People’s Climate Shabbat on April 29th, some Environmental Pesach resources (thanks to our Interfaith Power and Light friends!):     – start with the Comprehensive Green seder supplement from IPL-DMV, RAC & COEJL, with 25 fabulous pages of readings, prayers, questions and resources — as well as “Haggadah for the Earth” from Shalom Center   —   Pesach teachings and green tips from Canfei Nesharim   —   4 questions about climate change (from JCAN Boston)   —   and, Pesach readings & resources from Hazon   —   and finally, great eco-Torah and Torah in general from Rabbi
David Seidenberg’s Haggadah of the Inner Seder   ….

3, an annotated guide to six separate thoughtful progressive seder supplements you can download (below, followed by:)

4, nine easy ways to spice up your seder and make it truly a “night of questions.”

And of course, don’t forget our festival services:
First Day April 11th at 9:30 AM (with tefilat tal);
7th Day (with Yizkor) on April 17th at 9:30…

Chag sameach!

Passover guides serve up a side of social justice for the seder table

From a fifth cup of wine to 11 spilled drops — and a call to action for dessert — Jewish organizations publish readings on refugees, immigration, converts and the settlements   (excerpted from TIMESOFISRAEL.COM, by RENEE GHERT-ZAND,March 31, 2017

Why is this Passover different from all other Passovers? For some Jews focused on social justice issues, it’s because of the world’s greatest refugee crisis since World War II. For others, it’s because this June marks the 50th anniversary of Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank. And for some it’s the mere fact [of who] is U.S. president…
The themes of political freedom, refugees, immigration and racial justice have long figured prominently at seder table discussions. This year, in the weeks leading up to Passover, which starts on the evening of April 10, Jewish social justice organizations have published new haggadahs and hagaddah supplements for use at seders.
Regardless of their format, the guides are all of the moment, addressing the most prominent social justice-related issues of our times. … Most new seder resources are widely available and freely downloadable from the internet.
But the seder is not the ultimate goal. Most of the haggadahs and supplements end with a call to action. “We hope that people will rise up from the seder table inspired to engage, support and advocate. What happens after the seder is ultimately more important than what happens at the seder itself,” said Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, vice president for community engagement at HIAS, which published a new Passover seder supplement on the global refugee crisis.
Here are a selection of new social justice-themed Passover haggadahs and supplements this year [all easily googled, downloaded, perused online, and available for your seder-sharing pleasure and edification!]:

Global Aid: AJWS’s ‘Next Year in a Just World’
… American Jewish World Service has published an expanded edition of its “Next Year in a Just World” haggadah. Its 50 pages contain the main sections of the traditional seder service and burst with colorful photographs of the populations served by the organization’s projects worldwide. Each part of the recounting of the Exodus from Egypt is related to modern-day global plagues such as the refugee crises and genocide, global hunger, poverty, violence against women and LGBT people, and the persecution of minorities. The haggadah reflects AJWS’s work at the intersection of Jewish concerns and values with the developing world and global issues, & its focus on helping the most vulnerable populations.

Refugees: HIAS’s Haggadah Supplement 2017/5777
To the staff at HIAS, the only Jewish organization whose mission is to assist global refugees, the Trump Administration’s “refugee ban” signaled an obvious need for a new haggadah supplement this Passover.
“It’s a critical time for a call to act on behalf of today’s refugees,” said Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, vice president for community engagement at HIAS. The organization’s 10-page supplement highlights the resilience and agency of the world’s 65 million displaced persons and refugees…
The supplement builds out three specific parts of the seder through the lens of the global refugee crisis. At the moment of Yachatz (the breaking of the middle matzah), seder guests can read about how refugees deal with their ruptured lives by picking up the pieces and forging ahead….
HIAS also introduces two new refugee-related seder rituals. The first is to leave a pair of shoes on the doorstep of the house at the beginning of the seder “to acknowledge that none of us is free until all of us are free and to pledge to stand in support of welcoming those who do not yet have a place to call home,” the supplement states.
The second is to add a fifth cup of wine at the end of the seder to express prayers for the world’s refugees.

Immigration: Arizona Jews For Justice’s Haggadah Supplement
“I saw seder supplements about refugees, global aid and other subjects, but none on the immigrant issue, which I thought was something that was needed – especially given the current political climate,” said R. Shmuly Yanklowitz about the impetus for the creation of Arizona Jews for Justice’s haggadah supplement… Working with their Latino partner Promise Arizona, they put together a two-page haggadah supplement providing information on the undocumented population in the US and urging people to support hard-working, law-abiding, tax-paying undocumented immigrants, and to act to prevent their mass deportation. “Our Torah teaches that ‘When strangers sojourn with you in your land, you shall not do them wrong. The strangers who sojourn with you shall be to you as the natives among you, and you shall love them as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt,’ (Leviticus 19:33-34). This year, let us think about the 11 million undocumented immigrants now in danger of being deported from our land,” the supplement states…
“The challenge now is to maintain the urgency, but at the same time not to burn out. Pesach is a good time to recharge our batteries, so to speak. Rituals are worthless if they don’t awaken a broader call to repair society,” he said.

Racial Justice: Repair the World’s ‘The Four Persons’
Repair the World, an organization for young people focused on service and dialogue around issues of racial, food and educational justice has issued a new haggadah supplement to replace the traditional reading of the Four Sons.
Titled, “The Four Persons,” the reading is part of the organization’s Act Now for Racial Justice campaign launched about a year ago… Replacing the sons who are wise, wicked, simple and who does not know how to ask are individuals who strive to engage in racial justice. They are: What does a questioner say? “I support equality, but the tactics and strategies used by current racial justice movements make me uncomfortable.” What does a newcomer say? “How do I reach out and engage with marginalized communities in an authentic and sustained way?” What does a Jew of color say? “What if I have other interests? Am I obligated to make racial justice my only priority?”
What does an avoider say? “I am so scared of being called a racist, I don’t want to engage in any conversations about race.”

The Occupation: SISO’s The Jubilee Haggadah
Save Israel, Stop the Occupation (SISO), a new global Jewish initiative supported by the New Israel Fund, has published “The Jubilee Haggadah” marking the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Edited by Israeli intellectual Tomer Persico, the guide’s title refers to the biblical injunction to proclaim liberty throughout the land on the fiftieth year. The moniker is also intentionally ironic, as while Jews are meant to rejoice at Passover, SISO finds nothing to celebrate about Israel’s continued military rule over 2 million Palestinians half a century after the Six Day War. The haggadah, which has both Hebrew and English editions, hews to the traditional format…and texts… However, its commentaries – provided by leading left-leaning rabbis, scholars, artists and thinkers – are anything but conventional.
“Of all people, Jews know the bitterness of being oppressed — and not being in our own country… I’m guessing oppression will always prove to be on the wrong side of history,” comedian Sarah Silverman writes in her contribution to the hagaddah. Other contributors include Amos Oz, Achinoam Nini, Leon Wieseltier, and Anat Hoffman.
It is a jarring experience to read a haggadah that links the tale of the ancient Israelites’ liberation from slavery in Egypt so directly to the modern day occupation — and that is the point… “This haggadah offers people a way to bring in the occupation in an authentic way that honors the seder,” said Libby Lenkinski, vice president for public engagement at NIF. “And in Israel in particular, this haggadah is an act of resistance to the shrinking space for discussion and debate in the public sphere about the occupation,” she said… “Challenging the occupation comes out of the deepest traditional Jewish values and aspirational Zionism.”….

Jewish Diversity: Be’Chol Lashon’s Ruth’s Cup
Finally, for those who are not up for a whole new haggadah or even a supplement, Be’Chol Lashon simply suggests a single new Passover ritual this year: Ruth’s Cup, in honor of converts and Jewish diversity in general.
“Many Jews assume that ‘real Jews’ look a certain way and have one path to Judaism — being born Jewish. When confronted with Jews who don’t fit these stereotypes, even well-meaning Jews may unwittingly treat them as less Jewish. Jews of color and/or those who have converted to Judaism find that ignorance can cause other Jews to act insensitively,” the organization, which promotes global Jewish diversity and inclusiveness, explains on its website…



This is the message that should permeate our seders: connecting, conversing, and asking all kinds of questions. Here are a few ways to try this out at your own seder: [all from Rabbi Leora Kaye,, 3/29/17 — with thanks!]:
1. Set up an hourglass timer at one end of your seder table. Don’t let more than five minutes pass without someone asking a question.
2. Have each person sign his or her hagaddah. Each year, you can look back and see who has joined you in the past, offering an opportunity to recall funny stories and memories of past guests who can no longer be at your table. (If you don’t write during the seder, ask people to sign them before the holiday festivities begin.)
3. Make a haggadah with your family. Assign everyone a page or section before the seder; adults and teenagers can be responsible for the text and children for the drawings. Then, collect and collate each section and make enough copies for all your participants.
4. Bring in props. Buy them online or at your local Judaica store, or make your own with your family before the seder. Be creative, and remember: Props don’t necessarily have to just be the plagues. Turn your whole house into a Jewish/Egyptian home!
5. Personalize your seder experience. Assign everyone a section of the haggadah to study before they arrive, and ask participants to bring readings or questions to the group – either factual or spiritual in nature – depending on which section of the haggadah they were assigned.
6. Think about incorporating new traditions. Plenty of new seder ideas have cropped up over the last few years, like these modern additions to the seder plate. Regardless of whether or not you decide to incorporate them, learning about them can open the door for questions and conversation.
7. Enliven your seder experience with musical instruments. Encourage people to bring rhythm instruments such as tambourines or egg shakers. Communicate in ways other than through speech!
8. Have more than one version of the haggadah at your seder. While most haggadot have the same essential elements, they may phrase sections differently, have specific themes, or include additional discussion questions. Looking at the differences can help bring out more questions. As the seder leader, encourage people to explain what strikes them about the differences.
9. Make Passover “question cookies” for dessert. Create them by tying together two pieces of chocolate-covered matzah with a colorful ribbon. In between the matzah, include a note – a silly joke, a Jewish fact, or a wish for the coming year. Pass them out to your participants, and don’t forget to have everyone read theirs aloud!


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