Passover/Pesach

Understanding the Refugee Experience Through the Seder

The Passover home service called the seder sets out a set of four questions that highlight the differences between the Passover meal and any other family dinner.  These questions are meant to be discussion starters on the themes of slavery and freedom, power and redemption, and how a people who were once slaves must pledge to help end the human suffering from slavery and oppression.

As we sit down at the Seder and begin the telling of our exodus from Egypt and from slavery, we declare “Let all who are hungry enter and eat, and all who are needy come and celebrate”. Later we are commanded to see ourselves as though we each came out of Egypt.

Think for a moment about what it would have been like leaving Egypt after Pharaoh and the Egyptians had enslaved your family and released you only after suffering the ten plagues. You would be fleeing a hostile, sometimes deadly environment, with only the possessions you could carry and headed into the unforgiving desert and the unknown beyond. You are a refugee.

Much has been written about taking this opportunity of remembrance and role-playing to better understand the current refugee crisis. By bringing current world events into your Seder, you reinforce the universality and timelessness of this Jewish ritual. The links below can be a way for you to say “Why is this Seder different from the seder of past years?”   


HIAS: As we celebrate the Jewish people’s biblical exodus from Egypt, we remember that there are 65 million displaced people around the world, people fleeing violence and persecution in search of a safe place to call home. We are currently in the midst of the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Read more and print the HIAS Hagaddah supplement.

The Forward: As a people who have been persecuted and displaced again and again throughout history, the Jewish community has been especially moved by the plight of today’s refugees. Every day, we are confronted with the faces of people whose stories mirror our own Exodus. Today there are 60 million people who have left everything they know behind, and fled in search of safety. And every day, an additional 40,000 flee their own Pharoahs — from Syria, Honduras, Afghanistan, Sudan, Colombia, Myanmar, Somalia, Ukraine; the list goes on and on. Read more.

AJWS: This year, when we relive the story of our own liberation, we can also think of the millions of people around the world, including women, girls and LGBT people, who are still enslaved to poverty, violence, discrimination, and many other afflictions. We can challenge ourselves to take a more active and more meaningful role in hastening their freedom. Read more and see several supplement options.

The US Embassy Bern Presents - a Refugee Seder: This year, we also remember that there are 60 million displaced people around the world, people fleeing violence and persecution in search of a safe place to call home. We are currently in the midst of the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Read more and download the Hagaddah.

JSPAN Hagaddah supplement: The plight of immigrants and refugees calls to us at this season of the Jewish year when we remember that we were exiled from our homeland and enslaved in Egypt for four hundred years, and then stateless nomads for forty years in the wilderness of Sinai, at the mercy of the elements, often losing faith as danger surrounded us. Indeed, throughout history, the Jewish people have so often been refugees that much of Jewish history can be characterized as a history of constant migration, forced and voluntary relocation, and resettlement. Read more and download. 

The Human Crisis by the numbers: The number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people around the world has topped 65 million, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. As of December 2015, there were 65.3 million displaced people, according to a report from the refugee agency. It's the first time in the organization's history the number has surpassed 60 million — and represents a nearly 10 percent increase over last year's total, of 59.5 million.That number represents "immense human suffering," a UNHCR press release says.One in every 113 people on Earth has now been driven from their home by persecution, conflict and violence or human rights violations. Two other ways to wrap your mind around that number: Each minute, 24 people around the world flee their home because of violence or persecution. And if the world's displaced people were their own nation, it would be larger than the United Kingdom.

Upcoming Events
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Tue
Dec
  11
7:15 PM - 9:15 PM
 
Tifereth Israel Congregation
7701 16th Street, NW, Washington DC 20012
Livestream from the Jewish Theological Seminary, with introduction and discussion at TI Free to attend and open to all RSVP so we know how many to expect: www.tinyurl.com/JTS1218 Gerson D. Cohen Memorial Lecture What explains the persistence of anti-Semitism through the ages - even here, today, in the United States? Our noted experts will explore anti-Semitism's historical and theological origins and trace its changing nature over time. They will also discuss efforts to counter its pernicious...
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Wed
Dec
  12
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
 
Temple Sinai
3100 Military Road, NW, Washington DC 20015
The Temple Sinai Israel Affairs Committee will open an exhibit of winning Israeli art work, in the form of posters, on the subject of tolerance, equality, accepting the other, and valuing a shared society. Nathan Guttman will discuss the state of diversity in Israel. Jewish and Arab elementary and secondary school youths, as well as children of foreign workers in the greater Tel Aviv area, participated in the contest which was judged by a professional public committee. The blown-up posters were...
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Thu
Dec
  13
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
 
Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County (Congregation Beth El Preschool)
8215 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda MD 20814
No School? We’ve got you covered! Join us for a rocking’ performance by the Kidville Rockin’ Railroad Ban. The show will be followed by lunch including pizza, fruit and more. Sign up at http://bepskidsday2018.eventbrite.com.
Listed In:  Families, Maryland, Children/Teens/Family, Social Events
Event Cost:  $1 - $9; $5-$10

 
 
Fri
Dec
  14
5:30 PM - 9:00 PM
 
Temple Shalom
8401 Grubb Road, Chevy Chase MD 20815
Temple Shalom First Fridays Tot Shabbat 5:30 PM Congregational Potluck 6:15 PM Erev Shabbat Family Service 7:30 PM
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Families, Maryland, Reform, Children/Teens/Family, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), PJ Library Co-Sponsored, Social Events
Event Cost:  Free; Free

 
 
Fri
Dec
  14
6:15 PM - 7:45 PM
 
Congregation Etz Hayim (Congregation Etz Hayim (Conservative))
2920 Arlington Blvd., Arlington VA 22204
On the 2nd Friday of each month, join us at 6:15 p.m. for an evening of melodic worship with a little groove thrown in by our own congregational band! This event is especially fun for families with young children. Kosher kiddush follows services. (No musical Shabbat in July - Normal Shabbat services will be held at 6:15pm).
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Families, Seniors, Northern Virginia, Conservative, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Social Events
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Fri
Dec
  14
7:00 PM - 7:45 PM
 
Temple B'nai Shalom
7612 Old Ox Road, Fairfax Station VA 22039
Please join us for a very special Tot Shabbat featuring Jewish rocker Sheldon Low. Tot Shabbat is especially for newborns through second graders, and their parents. The service includes lots of music, child-friendly prayers, and stories and activities. It lasts about a half hour and is followed by a special kid-friendly oneg. We will look forward to seeing you at this wonderful service!
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Reform, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), PJ Library Co-Sponsored
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Sun
Dec
  16
9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
 
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington (PJ Library in Greater Washington)
8300 Meadowbrook Lane, Chevy Chase MD 20815
All are welcome! Join us for tons of Hanukkah activities, as we make edible dreidels, play dreidel, listen and dance to live music, climb on soft play toys, eat snacks, drink coffee, face painting, do a community service project and make an arts and crafts activity. This event is for kids ages 0-8. Kids over 8 are invited to volunteer at the different centers. Please RSVP to Peggy Sachs or Amy Herman by December 10th via these email amyhlevine@gmail.com or mburns.peggy@gmail.com. Sponsored by...
Listed In:  Families, Interfaith, Maryland, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), PJ Library Co-Sponsored, Social Events
Event Cost:  Free; Free

 
 
Sun
Dec
  16
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
 
Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia (JCC of Northern Virginia-Community Engagement Department)
3656 Centerview Dr, Chantilly VA 20151
Join Growing Jewish Families for a fun and free playdate at NoVA Playlabs in Chantilly! Kids can play while parents socialize and make new friends. Perfect for ages 0 - 5 years. Please bring socks for kids and adults. RSVP with jennifer.DeAngelis@jccnv.org
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Social Events
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Fri
Dec
  21
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
 
Washington Hebrew Congregation
3935 Macomb St, NW, Washington DC 20016
Join us for a fun, fulfilling, engaging service perfect for families with young children (or grandchildren). We begin our evening with an engaging, interactive Tot Shabbat service that focuses on teaching Jewish prayers, traditions, and rituals through songs, stories, and art project. A family-style, family-friendly dinner follows the service.
Listed In:  Families, DC, Reform, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  Free; Free

 
 
Fri
Dec
  21
5:30 PM - 9:00 PM
 
Washington Hebrew Congregation
555 Water St. SW, Washington DC 20024
District Shabbat combines the high energy of Washington and the deep spirituality of Reform Judaism to create this all-ages downtown Shabbat experience along the beautiful Southwest Waterfront. Tot Shabbat & Family Dinner (perfect for families with young children) 5:30 pm Cost: Free Shot of Torah (A spirited discussion with WHC’s rabbis fueled by soft drinks, adult beverages, and hors d’oeuvres) 6:15 pm Cost: Free Shabbat Service featuring WHC’s clergy and internationally celebrated musician...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Families, Seniors, DC, Reform, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Social Events
Event Cost:  Free; $18 for dinner

 
 
Sat
Dec
  22
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
 
Congregation Adat Reyim
6500 Westbury Oaks Court, Springfield VA 22152
Join us for a family friendly shabbat where we encourage preschoolers and young children to celebrate the shabbat with us. Friendly songs, enjoyable music, and a welcoming atmosphere at Congregational Adat Reyim.
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Conservative, Reform, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Parenting
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Tue
Dec
  25
6:00 AM - 6:00 PM
 
D25
400 New Jersey Ave. NW, Washington DC 20001
December 25th Day of Service (D25) is the Edlavitch DCJCC’s largest volunteer event of the year. Join hundreds of volunteers at a social service agency in the metro-DC area to prepare and serve meals, sing carols, visit home-bound seniors, throw holiday parties, play bingo, and deliver holiday cheer to those in need. This year, while the EDCJCC building is undergoing renovation, the Hyatt Regency will be D25’s home base. Several ways to give back will be available on-site at the Hyatt Regency, ...
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Event Cost:  $10 - $24; $20/person

 
 
Thu
Dec
  27
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
 
Congregation Etz Hayim (Congregation Etz Hayim (Conservative))
4201 Fairfax Dr., Arlington VA 22203
Join us at CUMC’s soup kitchen to help feed Arlington’s homeless. Across the street from the Ballston Metro Station on the orange line (back of building).
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, College (Late Teens/Early 20s), Families, Interfaith, Seniors, Northern Virginia, Conservative, Volunteer
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Fri
Dec
  28
5:30 AM - 11:30 AM
 
Congregation Etz Hayim (Congregation Etz Hayim (Conservative))
4201 Fairfax Dr., Arlington VA 22203
Join us at CUMC’s soup kitchen to help feed Arlington’s homeless. Across the street from the Ballston Metro Station on the orange line (back of building).
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, College (Late Teens/Early 20s), Families, Interfaith, Seniors, Northern Virginia, Conservative, Volunteer
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Fri
Jan
  4
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
 
Congregation Etz Hayim (Congregation Etz Hayim Preschool)
2920 Arlington Blvd., Arlington VA 22204
Join us on the first and third Friday mornings of each month for a Shabbat-themed hour of play and song. Contact Preschool Director Alexis Joyce at preschool@etzhayim.net for more information or to tour our school. There is NO PLAYGROUP on the following Fridays: 11/16/18 12/21/18 4/19/19
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Conservative, Children/Teens/Family, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Social Events
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