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Economic Justice at Your Seder

Economic Justice at Your Seder

The haggadah teaches that we should read the story of Passover feeling as if we were personally freed from Egypt. To do this, we must visualize ourselves in the story, but we should also be aware of the injustice that currently exists in our world. As advocates working to bring freedom and equality to our communities, and the seder is the perfect time to highlight the ongoing struggle toward justice in our time. Use these Seder additions to raise awareness and situate yourself within the journey toward economic justice in which we play an active role:

Hunger Seder

Our partners at Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger and the Jewish Council on Public Affairs (JCPA) hold an annual hunger Seder to highlight the Jewish mandate to feed the hungry, especially during the season when we celebrate our communal liberation from slavery. The Hunger Seder haggadah is a full haggadah to be used at a seder. For each ritual of the seder, the haggadah asks us to bring our attention to different hungry populations in our country. Clearly, if there is still hunger in America we cannot truly be free. The seder includes a Dayenu poem, celebrating all that we have accomplished in our advocacy work, but ultimately, the need to recommit ourselves and our community to eradicate hunger where it persists.


Labor Haggadah Supplement

The haggadah tells the story of the Israelites transition from slavery to freedom, and this story has inspired social justice movements around the world including the American labor movement. The Labor Haggadah Supplement provides a bridge connecting the story of the Exodus to our contemporary struggle for fair wages, safe labor conditions, good working family policies and more. The supplement reminds us that we retell the Passover story each year, not only to remind ourselves about ancient liberation, but to remember what we still must do to fight for freedom.

Minimum Wage Table Tents

Decorate your Passover Seder table to remind your guests about our contemporary fight for justice. These minimum wage table tents remind us that too many American workers are unable to support their families on the minimum wage. It has been seven years since the minimum wage was last raised, and we hope that soon we will be able to stop ending our seder saying, “Next Year at $12 an hour!”

The Fifth Question

Our partners at Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger are asking that we add a “fifth question” to our seder. After we sing the first four we should ask, “Why on this night are millions of people going hungry?” This question, like the first four questions, provokes us to think about the difference from what exists and what we would expect. Instead of asking why this night if different from all other nights, we ask why is our world different from the way we would will it to be.

Be Creative!

The Passover story is an epic of economic justice. Use the rich story and beautiful ritual we already have to expand on these themes. The Seder will be successful if we can celebrate our communal liberation, and prepare ourselves for the work ahead. Find all of the RAC Passover resources here.

Tyler Dratch is a 2015-2016 Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. He is from Newtown, PA, where he grew up at Congregation of Ohev Shalom of Bucks County. Tyler attended Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Tyler Dratch

Published: 4/07/2016