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Passover is coming up. Some people prepare by shopping for matzah, ordering brisket and baking macaroons. I’m not hosting the seder in my home this year, so instead I’ve been focused more on the themes of the holiday – and less on food. Though, I’m sure next week when the holiday arrives, I’ll be pretty focused on the food as well.
Each year, as we retell the story of the Exodus from Egypt, we tell the story of a past generation’s journey from slavery to freedom. One of the reasons that Passover is so resonant today as a holiday is that unfortunately we know that there are many people who are still enslaved.
Even while we taste the sweetness of the journey toward liberation, we must also turn our attention to the millions of people around the world enslaved by poverty, violence, discrimination and other modern plagues.
Here are a few that I recommend:
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Boston’s Four Actions of Passover: Standing with Immigrants and Refugees. It includes some touching “Stories we don’t tell” as well as specific action steps you can take to help others journey to their liberation.
The American Jewish World Service has A Global Justice Haggadah which you can download as well as several downloadable supplements that fit into various parts of the seder. Many of their texts play off of the traditional theme of “Next Year in Jerusalem” and understand that to mean “Next Year in a Just World.”
The organization for which I work, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, has a downloadable Haggadah supplement: Four Questions about Immigration. This one-pager contains four questions about the search for freedom – for ourselves, for our community, and for all humankind.
One of the things that I love about Passover is that it encourages us to keep asking questions – not just the four that are codified in the Haggadah, but any questions that spark our curiosity and attention. What better time than during a holiday themed with slavery and liberation than to ask about how others are suffering in the world and how we can help? If not now, when?