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
Sep
  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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Sun
Sep
  23
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
 
Congregation Etz Hayim (Congregation Etz Hayim (Conservative))
2920 Arlington Blvd., Arlington VA 22204
Considering synagogue membership, pre-school or religious school? Come learn more about the dynamic programming at Etz Hayim...and enjoy a free (kosher/meat) picnic.
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Sun
Sep
  23
4:30 PM - 6:30 PM
 
Congregation B'nai Tzedek
10621 South Glen Road, Potomac MD 20854
Free and open to all! Block Party and Grand Opening of our Musical Playground! Tour our award winning preschool, enjoy bounce houses, DJs, Arts & Crafts in the Sukkah, My Gym, Karate, Soccer, Bookstore on Wheels, Brooklyn Sandwich Co, Kona Ices and MORE! Please bring a new unwrapped toy for children in foster care with MoCo HHS. RSVP: rsvp@bnaitzedek.org
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Families, Maryland, Conservative, Children/Teens/Family, Community-Wide/Festivals, Social Events
Event Cost:  Free; Free With Food for Sale

 
 
Sun
Sep
  23
4:30 PM - 7:30 PM
 
Temple Rodef Shalom
2100 Westmoreland Street, Falls Church VA 22043
4:30 PM - Groundbreaking (Free) 5:30 PM - Dinner* and Activities (Dinner is Kosher Style) 6:30 PM - Services (Free) “To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven…a time to plant and a time to harvest.” (Ecclesiastes read on Shabbat during Sukkot) Sukkot is a time of harvest. We spend a week dwelling in our temporary shelter, sharing meals and time together. This year, we till the earth to sow seeds for our future permanent dwelling. Join us for the groundbreaking f...
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Event Cost:  $10 - $24; $ 5.00 - $15.00

 
 
Mon
Sep
  24
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 holiday-themed Book Buddies. 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. This month we will begin learning about the upcoming High Holidays: Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah), Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), Sukkot (harvest) and Simchat Torah. Dress for messy fun. Meet in the large conference room. Program is FREE and EVERYONE is welcome to join the fun. RSVP ...
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Tue
Sep
  25
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
 
Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia (JCC of Northern Virginia-Community Engagement Department)
43316 Hay Road, Ashburn VA 20147
Join Growing Jewish Families for a Sukkot-themed Book Buddies. 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. This month we will begin learning about the upcoming Jewish holiday of Sukkot. Dress for messy fun. Meet in the large conference room. Program is FREE and EVERYONE is welcome to join the fun. RSVP with Jennifer.DeAngelis@jccnv.org.
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, PJ Library Co-Sponsored, Social Events
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Thu
Sep
  27
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
 
Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia (JCC of Northern Virginia-Community Engagement Department)
20375 Claiborne Parkway, Ashburn VA 20147
Come out and play at Growing Jewish Families park play date and learn about Sukkot. Park play dates are a great way to meet other families that live near your neighborhood! You bring a snack. We will bring the stories. Come have fun! Dinosaur Park: https://www.our-kids.com/activities-resources-sports-recreation-playgrounds/ashburn-park This event is weather dependent, please RSVP and check our Growing Jewish Families Facebook page for updates/cancellations. RSVP with Jennifer.DeAngelis@jccnv....
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, PJ Library Co-Sponsored, Social Events
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Thu
Sep
  27
4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
 
Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia (JCC of Northern Virginia-Community Engagement Department)
24600 Millstream Drive, Stone Ridge VA 20105
Join Growing Jewish Families and Temple Beth Torah as we learn about the Jewish fall holidays together. Program is FREE and EVERYONE is welcome to join the fun. 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. This month we will begin learning about the upcoming High Holidays: Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah), Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), Sukkot (harvest) and Simchat Torah. Dress for messy fun. M...
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Thu
Sep
  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
Sep
  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
Event Cost:  

 
 
Fri
Sep
  28
7:00 PM - 7:45 PM
 
Temple B'nai Shalom
7612 Old Ox Road, Fairfax Station VA 22039
Please join us for Tot Shabbat, Sukkot-Style! 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
Sep
  30
11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
 
Edlavitch Jewish Community Center of Washington DC (Washington Jewish Music Festival)
1625 P St NW, Washington DC 20036
Bring your whole family to the park for a Sukkot celebration featuring games, fun activities, and musical performances by Josh & the Jamtones! Sponsored in Memory of Elona Shaffert by the Shaffert/Brenner Family.
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Families, Interfaith, DC, Arts & Culture, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Parenting, Social Events
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Sun
Sep
  30
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
 
Temple Rodef Shalom
2100 Westmoreland Street, Falls Church VA 22043
6:00 pm - Clash of the Mixologists & Appetizers (Kosher Style) 7:00 pm - Simchat Torah Service & Dancing Simchat Torah is one crazy holiday. So carefully handled all year long, our Torah scrolls are taken from the ark to be hugged and kissed and unrolled. We dance with abandon and clap boisterously. We read the last few verses of D’varim (Deuteronomy) and immediately follow with the opening verses of Bereishit (Genesis) because Torah and its teachings never come to an end. To prep for this glo...
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Fri
Oct
  5
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
Oct
  5
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...
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