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Erev Shabbat Message from Rabbi Feldman

Dear Friends,                                                                                                           
 
In my ongoing quest to find new material to use at my Passover Seder every year, I came across some contemporary material that helps us connect the refugee issue of today to our ancient Passover story about refugees. The following texts are based on material produced by HIAS. I encourage you to allow these readings to spark discussions at your Seder. 
Feel free to go to https://www.hias.org/search/node/Passover to find additional  interesting supplements  for your Seder.
 
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Adam Feldman
 
Stand with Refugees this Passover - To use at the beginning of the Maggid, the telling of the Passover story.
 
            The heart of the Passover Seder is the Maggid, meaning storytelling. The Passover Maggid tells the story of the Jewish people's exodus from slavery in Egypt. During the Maggid, we say the words, " Arami oved avi." This phrase is sometimes translated as "My father was a wandering Aramean" and other times as "An Aramean sought to destroy my father." Somewhere between the two translations lies the essence of the Jewish experience: a rootless people who have fled persecution time and time again.
            This point in the Seder is an opportunity to talk about the people who are wandering today from the challenges in their home to a new "Promised Land." A possible activity is to walk with your guests to your front door and place a pair of shoes on your doorstep and read together: "As we recite the words 'Arami oved avi,' we acknowledge that we have stood in the shoes of the refugee. Today, as we celebrate our freedom, we commit ourselves to continuing to stand with contemporary refugees. In honor of this commitment, we place a pair of shoes on our doorstep of this home to acknowledge that none of us is free until all of us are free and to pledge to stand in support of welcoming those who do not yet have a place to call home." Invite family and friends to join you by placing a pair of shoes on their doorstep as well. Encourage people to talk about the refugee issue today and some of the challenges of resettlement. Rather than just allowing this to be a political conversation, look for ways to connect our Biblical mandate "to care for the stranger, orphan and widow" and to remember that "we were strangers in our land" to our contemporary realities.
 
Kavanah for Opening the Door for Elijah
 
We are familiar with the tradition of drinking four cups at the Seder to highlight the four references in the Torah to God taking us out of Egypt - I will free you, I will deliver you, I will redeem you and I will take you. As we discuss the end of our slavery and the beginning of our freedom, we could highlight the fact that so many people today are not truly free. Perhaps we could pour a fifth cup at our Seder to remember and honor these people. Some say that is why there is the cup for Elijah, the prophet who will announce a more peaceful world, when more people will truly be free and more people will have the opportunities all of us deserve. Before opening the door for Elijah, set aside time to talk about ways that any of us can be Elijah doing our part to bring peace to some part of our world, helping some group in need or doing something to address the immigrant issue in our world today. When we complete our Seder and stand up at the end, let's strive to take action on behalf of the world's refugees, to stand up for those who need our assistance so that we can hasten Elijah's arrival as we speak out on behalf of those who are not yet free.
Posted: 3/28/2017 9:12:28 AM by | with 0 comments

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