Interfaith Freedom Seder -- Sydney -- April 24, 2008

"No one is free when others are oppressed." [Source: Unknown]

This Interfaith Freedom Seder marking Pesach was held in Sydney by the Jews for Social Action (JSA) group of the North Shore Temple Emanuel. Jews, Moslems and Christians shared a Seder evening at Donna Jabobs' home. Donna put together a secular Freedom Haggadah with quotations and emphasis on the celebration of freedom. It was a great evening, with lots of deep discussions, sharing of ideas, laughter. singing and good food. [Report and photos by Vicki I.]:

Here are some photos and then some passages from the Donna's Freedom Haggadah

Makiz and Elizabeth described the Matza:

Dahlia and Donna led the Seder:

The Seder plate and some participants:

Here are some passages from the Donna's Freedom Haggadah:

What Pesach is about [Source: Donna Jacobs]

The Hebrew word Mitzrayim -- Egypt -- comes from the root tzar, which means narrow, constrained, inhibited.

When the Haggadah tells us to feel as if we have left Mitzrayim, it is telling us to break out of our own narrowness and constraints. For people can be enslaved in more ways than one. People can be enslaved to themselves. When laziness or cowardice keep us from doing what we know to be right, we are slaves.

When we stay silent because of what others may say, we are slaves. When we are so involved in our own lives that we become indifferent to the needs of others, we are slaves. When envy, bitterness and jealousy sour our joy and darken our days, we are slaves, shackled by the chains of our own forging.

How deep these enslavements have scarred the world. Pesach calls upon us to put an end to all forms of slavery -- to enslavements that warp the spirit and destroy the soul, even though they may leave the flesh free. Pesach summons us to freedom.

A Midrash (learned comment) on the Debate in Pharaoh's palace [Source: Elie Wiesel]

In Pharaoh's palace, a debate raged as to whether to let the Jews go. One advisor, Jethro, spoke in favor of Moses request; he was rewarded by God. Another advisor, Bilaam, urged Pharaoh to keep the Jews in slavery and continue killing Jewish boys; he was killed by God. A third advisor, Job, refused to take sides; he wanted to be neutral. God caused him to suffer with a case of boils.

Why this punishment? At times of crisis, at moments of peril, one has no right to choose abstention. When the life or death -- or simply the well-being -- of a community is at stake, neutrality becomes unacceptable, for it always aids and abets the oppressor, never the victim.

Job thought that it would not help to speak out because Pharaoh had already made up his mind. Job was made to suffer from a disease which caused him to cry out not because doing so helped, but simply because it hurt. The lesson is clear: there are times we must speak out not because it will help, but because it hurts.

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