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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Sat
Jun
  23
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
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sat
Jun
  23
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
 
Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia (JCC of Northern Virginia-Community Engagement Department)
22810 James Monroe Highway, Aldie VA 20105
Pack a picnic dinner (of buy one on site) and welcome the new week with your Growing Jewish Families community! Explore the sights, sounds and smells of Havdalah -- the Jewish ceremony that marks the end of Shabbat and the beginning of a new week. Enjoy a family picnic while we celebrate together: sharing stories, exploring the traditional Havdalah set (candles and spices) and more! All are welcome--so bring your friends, family and neighbors for a beautiful evening at the winery! Make memorie...
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Social Events
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Sun
Jun
  24
9:00 AM - 10:30 AM
 
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington
5900 33rd Street, NW, Washington DC 20015
Join local families for a Sunday Fun Day playdate in the park with PJ Library and Federation's Young Leadership! We’ll play, nosh, splash, read and enjoy a special surprise guest. There is a small water park venue so feel free to bring a towel, swimsuit and shoes for your child. Best for kids 6 and under. Please bring a kosher snack to share. Inclement weather: if it’s raining, this event will be postponed.
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Families, Interfaith, Maryland, PJ Library Co-Sponsored, Social Events
Event Cost:  

 
 
Thu
Jun
  28
5:30 PM - 6:30 PM
 
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington (PJ Library in Greater Washington)
see description for details, Washington DC 20009
It's time for the 5th annual Sweet Summer Series, with frozen treats, crafts, socializing and PJ Library storytime coming to a neighborhood near you! We are partnering with many local organizations to make this happen, and the list will grow. Check back often, or like us on Facebook for updates. All events are one hour long. * Thurs, May 17, 5:30 pm: Tutti-Frutti (N Bethesda) w/ Bender JCCGW * Sun, June 10, 6:00 pm: Ben and Jerry's (Fairfax) w/ Gesher JDS and JCCNV’s Growing Jewish Families...
Listed In:  Families, Interfaith, DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia, Culinary, PJ Library Co-Sponsored, Social Events
Event Cost:  Free; free to attend, pay for your own ice cream

 
 
Thu
Jun
  28
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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Thu
Jun
  28
7:30 PM - 10:00 PM
 
Embassy Of Israel
5612 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington DC 20015
In this documentary, Team Israel is finally ranked among the world’s best in 2017, and they’re eligible to compete in the prestigious World Baseball Classic. Their line-up includes several Jewish American Major League players like Davis, Josh Zeid and ex-Braves catcher Ryan Lavarnway. With their Mensch on the Bench mascot by their side, the team laughs, cries, and does much soul-searching as they discover the pride of representing Israel on the world stage. Following the film, we’ll be joined by...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, College (Late Teens/Early 20s), Families, Seniors, DC, Arts & Culture, Israel
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Fri
Jun
  29
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
Event Cost:  

 
 
Fri
Jun
  29
7:00 PM - 7:45 PM
 
Temple B'nai Shalom
7612 Old Ox Road, Fairfax Station VA 22039
Please join us for Tot Shabbat. 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
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sat
Jun
  30
10:30 AM - 11:15 AM
 
Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation
7727 Persimmon Tree Lane, Bethesda MD 20817
Summer is here! Join the fun for our wonderful Tot Shabbat led by Ellie Schuchman. Come pray, sing, make friends, and enjoy the community.
Listed In:  Families, Maryland, Reconstructionist, Children/Teens/Family, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
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Sun
Jul
  1
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
 
Agudas Achim Congregation
2908 Valley Drive, Alexandria VA 22302
Hazzan Elisheva Dienstfrey leads songs for the first half hour with free play after. No Jewish knowledge or experience necessary. Each child requires a grownup.
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Conservative, Children/Teens/Family, Parenting, PJ Library Co-Sponsored
Event Cost:  

 
 
Mon
Jul
  2
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
 
Edlavitch Jewish Community Center of Washington DC (Edlavitch DC Jewish Community Center)
1529 16th St NW, Washington DC 20036
Winner, Special Jury Award, 2018 Sundance Film Festival In 1980, through a series of coincidences, two complete strangers—19-year-olds Robert Shafran and Edward Galland —made the astonishing discovery that they were identical twins. They had been separated at birth, adopted and raised by different families. Even more incredibly, when their story ran in the New York Post, another 19 year-old, David Kellman, realized he was their triplet, adopted to yet another family. After an overwhelmingly jo...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, College (Late Teens/Early 20s), Families, Seniors, Teens, DC, Arts & Culture
Event Cost:  Free; Pay What You Can

 
 
Fri
Jul
  6
6:15 PM - 8:00 PM
 
Congregation Etz Hayim (Congregation Etz Hayim (Conservative))
2920 Arlington Blvd., Arlington VA 22204
Join us for a delicious and vibrant potluck dinner on the first Friday of every month following the Kabbalat Shabbat service. This is one of our most popular events, especially with families with young children. (Services start at 6:15pm. Dinner starts at approximately 7:30pm). Potluck Guidelines: Food should be vegetarian (dairy or pareve ), made using hekshered ingredients, and brought in a disposable pan/container. Food cannot be heated in our kitchen. Not a home cook? Pick up something hek...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Families, Seniors, Northern Virginia, Conservative, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Social Events
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sun
Jul
  8
5:30 PM - 6:30 PM
 
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington (PJ Library in Greater Washington)
see description for details, Washington DC 20009
It's time for the 5th annual Sweet Summer Series, with frozen treats, crafts, socializing and PJ Library storytime coming to a neighborhood near you! We are partnering with many local organizations to make this happen, and the list will grow. Check back often, or like us on Facebook for updates. All events are one hour long. * Thurs, May 17, 5:30 pm: Tutti-Frutti (N Bethesda) w/ Bender JCCGW * Sun, June 10, 6:00 pm: Ben and Jerry's (Fairfax) w/ Gesher JDS and JCCNV’s Growing Jewish Families...
Listed In:  Families, Interfaith, DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia, Culinary, PJ Library Co-Sponsored, Social Events
Event Cost:  Free; free to attend, pay for your own ice cream

 
 
Mon
Jul
  9
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
 
Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia (JCC of Northern Virginia-Community Engagement Department)
10360 North Street, Fairfax VA 22030
Join Growing Jewish Families for a Book Buddies program at the Fairfax Library! Moms, dads, grandparents and anyone who loves books -- you are invited to bring your children to enjoy PJ Library story time and arts and crafts. Dress for messy fun. Meet in the large conference room. Program is FREE and EVERYONE is welcome to join the fun. RSVP directly with the library at: https://librarycalendar.fairfaxcounty.gov/event/3946130 Or RSVP with Rebecca.Greene@jccnv.org.
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, PJ Library Co-Sponsored, Social Events
Event Cost:  

 
 
Thu
Jul
  12
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
 
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington (PJ Library in Greater Washington)
see description for details, Washington DC 20009
It's time for the 5th annual Sweet Summer Series, with frozen treats, crafts, socializing and PJ Library storytime coming to a neighborhood near you! We are partnering with many local organizations to make this happen, and the list will grow. Check back often, or like us on Facebook for updates. All events are one hour long. * Thurs, May 17, 5:30 pm: Tutti-Frutti (N Bethesda) w/ Bender JCCGW * Sun, June 10, 6:00 pm: Ben and Jerry's (Fairfax) w/ Gesher JDS and JCCNV’s Growing Jewish Families...
Listed In:  Families, Interfaith, DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia, Culinary, PJ Library Co-Sponsored, Social Events
Event Cost:  Free; free to attend, pay for your own ice cream