Jewish-Muslim Interfaith Passover Seder

Dr. Mike Ghouse   May 3, 2020   Comments Off on Jewish-Muslim Interfaith Passover Seder

Foreword by Mike Ghouse of Center for Pluralism

As an individual who believes that all religions are designed for creating cohesive societies where every human feels secure about his/her faith, ethnicity, culture, shape, sexual orientation, or other uniqueness. All religions are beautiful and none is superior to the other. I see the universality of all festivities or commemoration and time permitting I have participated in almost all faith traditions from Atheists to Zoroastrians.

I have been attending the Passover Seder since 2005 – the first one was at Temple Shalom in Dallas with my daughter. This is my 3rd Passover Seder organized by Andrea Barron at the Adams Center Mosque.

I thank both Andrea and Rizwan for facilitating this for over a decade.
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JEWISH-MUSLIM -INTERFAITH PASSOVER SEDER

Washington Area Jews for Jewish-Muslim Understanding and the ADAMS Mosque (All Dulles Area Muslim Society)

Andrea Barron:   Welcome and history of Seder
Washington Area Jews for Jewish-Muslim Understanding

Rizwan Jaka   Welcome
Chair, Board, ADAMS & Co-Chair of Interfaith/Government/Media Committee, ADAMS Center

Andrea Barron:                          Seder process

SEDER PLATE

Matza (unleavened bread).Matza is eaten on Passover because on the morning of the exodus from Egypt, the Israelites did not have time to let their bread rise in the rush to escape from Egypt.

Green vegetable (karpas). This green vegetable (usual parsley) represents the season of spring and rebirth. It is dipped into saltwater during the Seder. The saltwater represents the tears shed by the Israelites when they were slaves in Egypt.

Shank bone (zeroah). The shank bone symbolizes the lamb’s blood that the Hebrews smeared on their door so the Angel of Death would pass over them when he killed the first-born Egyptian male.  It also represents the lamb the Israelites sacrificed every year during the time of the Temple to celebrate Passover.                                      

Roasted Egg (Beitzah). The roasted egg represents wholeness, its roundness embodies the endless cycle of life, nurtured from generation to generation.

Bitter Herbs (maror). The maror represents the bitterness of slavery under the Egyptians. Dipping it in charoses reduces its sharpness. Maror is eaten during the Seder because of the biblical commandment in Numbers 9:11 to eat the paschal lamb
“with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.”

Charoset: Apples, nuts and spices ground together and mixed with grape juice are symbolic of the mortar used by Hebrew slaves to build the Egyptian pyramids. The Talmud says the charoset helps to minimize the harsh effects of slavery.

FIRST CUP: The CUP OF FREEDOM

Blessing over the grape juice – Emily Blank

We praise God, Spirit of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.

Steve Silverberg. Freedom matters, and so does people’s right to criticize their government without fear. This Administration has elements of fascism, it turns people it disagrees with into enemies. It attacks journalists who question it, it calls any type of critical news “fake news.” As a Jew, I am particularly sensitive to the beginning of fascism because of what happened in Germany. In a free society we should have the right to think and dissent because this is what democracy is all about.

Nancy Dunne: Human beings have a basic yearning for freedom, which is why so many people all over the world are risking their lives to escape from dictatorships. The United States should support liberal democracy all over the world but it must first examine its own policies before taking up the mantle of leadership.

Dipping Green Vegetable in Salt Water and Blessing

We dip a green vegetable, usually parsley in salt water, which symbolizes the tears shed by the ancient Israelites when they were slaves. Today, our tears represent empathy with the ancient Israelites and all other people suffering from poverty; religious, racial or political persecution; foreign occupation; from disease, hunger and the coronavirus pandemic.

Before eating the Karpas, we recite:

 Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Sovereign of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the earth. בָ רּוְך אַ תָ ה יי, אֱ להֵ ינּו, מֶ לֶ ְך הָ עולָ ם, ּבֹורֵ א פְ רִ י הָ אֲ דָ מָ ה.

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, borei p’ri haadamah

THE FOUR QUESTIONS- Why is Passover a special holiday? Andrea

Mah nishtanah halailah hazeh mikol haleilot?  
How is this night different from all other nights?

Sheb’chol haleilot anu ochlin sh’ar y’rakot, halailah hazeh, maror.
On all other nights, we eat all vegetables. Why, on this night, maror (bitter herbs)?

Sheb’chol haleilot ein anu matbilin afilu pa’am echat; halailah hazeh, sh’tei f’amim.
On all other nights, we don’t dip even once. Why on this night do we dip twice?

Sheb’chol haleilot anu ochlin bein yoshvin uvein m’subin; halailah hazeh, kulanu m’subin.
On all other nights, we eat either sitting upright or reclining. Why on this night do we all recline?

Why is this night different from all other nights– What Passover Means to Me during the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Judith Lelchook: Passover is a time to welcome the stranger: The tradition of Passover tells about an ancient time when Jews were caught in a distant land.  Celebrating or honoring that status as a stranger in contemporary times allows us to embrace other communities who are minorities or in a difficult position: marginalized groups joining together to create a stronger community, a force for good. I remember 18 or 19 years ago, after 9/11, we organized the first Jewish-Muslim seder to support the Muslim community at a time when it was being demonized. We were two communities with separate histories of being strangers. We came together to celebrate a bond of friendship and support, which has continued. The seder is both a celebration and a reminder of that combined strength. 

Kay Halpern: Passover tells the story of how the Jewish people forged their identity. Like all good stories, it is rooted in a specific journey but conveys a universal message. Passover tells how the children of Israel, with God’s help, freed themselves from slavery in Egypt. In Hebrew, Egypt is called Mitzrayim, which means“narrow straits.” The Exodus story is about leaving a narrow, confined space that constricts both body and mind and venturing forth into the unknown. The unknown is scary. We don’t know what to expect. We must be open to new ways of thinking not limited by past experience. We have to forge bonds of trust – a covenant, if you will – with that divine spark in each of us that gives us the will to push on with life and the grace to understand that we are all connected, that we thrive as a group only by caring for the weakest among us. This expanded way of thinking is crucial now as we navigate the current global plague.

Andra Baylus: In the Name of the One Who Loves Us All, asalamu alaykum, shalom, peace be with you. This Passover we have to confront our fears, and look at the positive of what is happening.  Like a new SPRINGTIME …a kind of birth. We are isolating, but we are also blossoming into GLOBAL CITIZENS … caring about one another. Humans are forced to go inward / REFLECT upon our lives. We need to sacrifice our ego and concerns of my, me, mine to reach out and help others. Remember those that keep our world clean like the trash collectors. And the theme of bondage, which is tied to materialism. We need to rethink what success really is…to value our relationships … rather than material acquisitions! And finally freedom … from our own limited ego. Let’s all Remember the web of life and our responsibility to MOTHER EARTH and our connections to one another.  

The Story of Passover

According to tradition, the Jewish people were enslaved by the Egyptian empire under the rule of the Pharaoh Ramses II 3,000 years ago. Their servitude, both bitter and oppressive, saw no hope for emancipation. The story told in Exodus, the second book of the Hebrew Bible, relates how God instructed Moses (also an important prophet in Islam) to approach Pharaoh and demand freedom for his people.

Moses’s simple but inspiring words – “Let my People Go”—continue into the present as a rallying cry for oppressed peoples everywhere.  When Pharaoh refused to listen to the pleas of Moses, God responded with a series of 10 horrific plagues: Blood (water turned into blood), frogs, lice, wild beasts, cattle disease, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and the slaying of the first-born male in every Egyptian family. The last plague was a kind of mirror image of the decree that Pharaoh had executed against the Jews:  “Every (Hebrew) boy that is born shall be thrown into the Nile, but let every (Hebrew) girl live (Exodus 1:11).

It was this last plague that finally convinced Pharaoh to free the Jews, who marked their doors with lamb’s blood so the Angel of Death would pass over them. Thus the name of this holiday is “Passover” or “Pesach” in Hebrew. The Jews fled in haste, taking their baked bread with them before it had time to rise. To commemorate this event, the Jews eat matza instead of bread during the eight days of Passover.

Soon after the Israelites began their escape from Egypt, Pharaoh changed his mind about freeing them. He told his army to pursue them as they fled toward the Red Sea. It was there that God performed the great miracle of splitting the Red Sea, providing safer passage on dry land for the Israelites. But as Pharaoh’s soldiers attempted to cross after them, the waters returned, drowning Egyptian soldiers, chariots and all.

Having just witnessed this spectacular miracle, the Israelites spontaneously celebrated their new-found freedom, erupting into a song in praise of God. But the Talmud teaches us another lesson concerning this loss of Egyptian lives. “When the Egyptian armies were drowning in the sea, the Heavenly Hosts broke out into songs of jubilation. God silenced them and said, ‘My creatures are perishing and you sing praises?’” (Talmud Bavli, Sanhedrin 39b). This reminds us that even in a time of victory over our enemies, we are all part of one human family.

Verses from the Quran about the Exodus from Egypt

Chapter 2:47: O Children of Israel! Call to mind the (special) favor which I bestowed Upon you, and that I preferred you to all others.

2:49-51: And remember, we delivered you from the people of Pharaoh, they set you hard tasks and chastisement, slaughtered your sons and let your women-folk live; Therein was a tremendous trial from your Lord.

And remember, We divided the sea for you and saved you and drowned Pharaoh’s people within your very sight.

THE TEN PLAGUES

When Moses asked Pharaoh to free the Israelites, he refused, so God brought ten plagues on the Egyptians. Each one frightened Pharaoh, and each time he promised to free the slaves. But when each plague ended, Pharaoh did not keep his word. It was only after the last plague, the death of the firstborn of the Egyptians, that Pharaoh agreed to let the Israelites go.

We fill our cups to remember our joy in being able to leave Egypt. Yet our happiness is not complete, because the Egyptians, who are also God’s children, suffered from Pharaoh’s evil ways too. We spill a drop of juice from our cups with a finger or spoon as we say each plague. I will say them in English, you can see the original Hebrew next to the English.   

Blood | dam | דָּם

Frogs | tzfardeiya | צְפַרְדֵּֽעַ

Lice | kinim | כִּנִּים

Beasts | arov | עָרוֹב

Cattle disease | dever | דֶּֽבֶר

Boils | sh’chin | שְׁחִין

Hail | barad | בָּרָד

Locusts | arbeh | אַרְבֶּה

Darkness | choshech | חֹֽשֶׁךְ

Death of the Firstborn | makat b’chorot  | מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת

Modern Day Plagues  

  • Plague of Ignorance:  Attacking Health-Care Workers during the coronavirus pandemic. In a time of uncertainty caused by disease, health-care workers are on the front lines battling the virus. They are dealing with the grief of families who cannot even see their loved ones before they die. In Mexico and the Ivory Coast, health-care workers have even been attacked, with reports of people firing at them with missiles made of sticks and stones. Judith Lelchook
  • Plague of Cruelty: Calling the coronavirus crisis a “Democratic hoax” to score political points, saying the virus would “disappear… like a miracle” to score political advantage, bragging that “anybody who needs a test, gets a test,” and delaying federal social distancing guidelines—all statements that likely caused thousands of Americans to die. Andrea Barron
  • Plague of Hinduphobia: Plagues have been around since the beginning of mankind, including diseases which hit the world every 100 years, recorded from plagues in 1720, 1820, 1918 and 2020. But the greater plague is the one in our minds, the hatred towards others that led to the Holocaust and Genocides, death and destruction. We have to free ourselves from the plagues of Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Hinduphobia, Xenophobia, Homophobia, Misogyny and other phobias.

Let me talk about Hinduphobia. It is the prejudice some people carry against Hindus, calling them idolaters. Hindus worship the same God that everyone worships, but they see God in various forms manifested in icons. Worshiping God simply means acknowledgment of an eternal power, and our mortality. It also means accountability to someone who is eternal – the common God of all. Hinduphobia also means treating the Hindu faith to be less than ours. Shame on us and our arrogance. Mike Ghouse

Nancy Dunne: I really admire Mike’s comments on Hinduphobia because he is bringing attention to a problem that few people are aware of.

  • Plague of Misinformation: One terrible effect of the Covid-19 pandemic is the disinformation and out and out lies for what twisted purpose I cannot fully fathom. This purposeful misinformation is the worst for me, we are all connected. Love wins. Diana Moon
  • Plague of Suffering Refugees in Syria: There are one million Syrians refugees stuck in northern Syria, they are sitting ducks caught in the fighting between Syrian troops backed by Russia, Kurds and extremist rebel forces. Turkey won’t let them cross the border. They have no place to sleep, nothing to eat, no place to go. I have been communicating with them on WhatsApp. They are suffering so much – they just want to survive. Wasim Entabi
  • Plague of Lack of Decent Work and economic growth for the everyday person. AbdulRashid Abdullah
  • Plagues of Hatred and Bigotry: Even during the pandemic, we still see examples of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and anti-East Asian sentiment in the United States. We must continue to counter hate and bigotry and do more for interfaith understanding, religious freedom, and human rights. Rizwan Jaka

Dayenu- Emily Blank

This song is over a thousand years old and is traditionally sung at Passover. The word “Dayenu” means “it would have been enough for us.” The song is about the Israelites thanking God for taking them out of slavery in Egypt, giving them the Torah, Shabbat and other gifts. If God had given them just one of these gifts, it “would have been enough,” but God gave them many gifts.  


Chorus
Dai, dayenu, dai dayenu,
Dai dayenu, dayenu, dayenu, dayenu (repeat)

Ilu hotzi hotzianu
Hotzianu mimitzrayim,
Hotzianu mimitzrayim,

Had he brought us out of Egypt,
Only brought us out of Egypt,
Had he brought us out of Egypt,
Dayenu

Chorus

Dayenu 

Dai, dayenu, dai dayenu,
Dai dayenu, dayenu, dayenu, dayenu (repeat)

Ilu natan natan lanu
Natan lanu et hatorah
Natan lanu et hatorah

Had he given us the Torah,
Only given us the Torah,
Had he given us the Torah,
Dayenu

Chorus

Dayenu Dai, dayenu, dai dayenu,
Dai dayenu, dayenu, dayenu, dayenu (repeat)

Text Box: Had he given us the Sabbath,
Only given us the Sabbath,
Had he given us the Sabbath,
Dayenu  


Ilu natan natan lanu,
Natan lanu et hashabbat,
Natan lanu et hashabbat,

Chorus

Dayenu 

Dai, dayenu, dai dayenu,
Dai dayenu, dayenu, dayenu, dayenu (repeat)

THE SECOND CUP: The CUP OF COMPASSION AND COMMUNITY

Blessing over the grape juice

We praise God, Spirit of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.

Pastor Greg Loewer: My church, Columbia Baptist in Falls Church, Virginia, has operated a food pantry for 40 years, but about a decade ago we relocated it to our campus in Bailey’s Crossroads, closer to the center of need.  We are still operating during the crisis, though now with precautionary protocols.  No conversations and prayers with clients.  Just a very safe food distribution of about 20 items in 2 bags.  Last Saturday we had about 200 families who came for food.  Also in the Bailey’s area, food is being distributed by the Dar Al Hijrah mosque and by St. Anthony Catholic Church.  There is so much need.  And each week we can function helps move families in need a little closer to the finish line, though we don’t really know when exactly that will be.

Walter Ruby: I participated in a joyous and uplifting Interfaith Community Service Day at the ADAMS mosque in February. More than 200 people from 15 Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Sikh congregations came to the mosque in Sterling, Virginia to package food and clothing donations and deliver them to people who live in the poorer areas of Washington DC.  This event was an expression of the moral imperative in all faiths to help those most in need.

Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu – Peace will come upon us yet

Peace will come upon us, yet.                                      Od yavo, shalom aleinu

Peace will come upon us, yet.                                       Od yavo, shalom aleinu

Peace will come upon us, yet.                                      Od yavo, shalom aleinu

And upon everyone.                                                      V’al kulam

Peace will come upon us, yet.                                      Od yavo, shalom aleinu

Peace (Arabic)                                                                 Salaam

Upon is and upon the whole world.                            Aleinu v’al kol ha olam

Peace, peace. (Arabic)                                                   Salaam, Salaam

Peace (Arabic)                                                                 Salaam

Upon us and upon the whole world.                           Aleinu v’al kol ha olan

Peace, peace. (Arabic)                                                    Salaam, Salaam

Blessing for the Matza – Take a piece of matza

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who made us holy through obligations, commanding us to eat matzah.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתַָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מַצָּה

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al achilat matzah.

Blessing for Maror—Put maror on a piece of matza but do not eat it yet

Andrea: During our Seder held during the coronavirus pandemic, we remember another time when Jews still managed to celebrate Passover, in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany.

Victor Miller: Even during the Holocaust, Jews held Passover Seders. In the concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen in Germany, Rabbi Israel Spira taught: “Life contains moments of bread—which stands for creativity and light—and moments of matzah—which stands for suffering and despair. But on this night of great humiliation and degradation, there is only suffering, only matzah.” He went on to assure people that they should not despair, for it was the beginning of redemption. “At the end of the long night in the land of the “shadow of death, there would shine a great light, as our prophets promised.”

Jill Frushtick: Let us remember the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Let us also remember others who died including Communists, Socialists, religious leaders, prisoners of war, and members of the LGBT community.

Andrea: In memory of those who have died of Covid-19, those who are suffering from the virus, their friends and families.

Praised are you, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, who makes us holy through Your commandments, and commands us to eat Maror.

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, A-sher kid-shanu bmitz-vo-tav, v-tzi-va-nu Al a-chilat maror.

Let’s observe a Moment of Silence as we eat the maror.

THE THIRD CUP: THE CUP OF TRUTH

Blessing over the grape juice

We praise God, Spirit of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.

Andrea Barron: Truth Matters. The lies from our top political leader have been outrageous, everything from accusing Ukraine for interfering in the 2016 election instead of Russia; saying windmills cause cancer; and claiming Barack Obama was born in Kenya. Then there are lies that kill people, thousands of Americans. Lies about the coronavirus pandemic being a Democratic hoax. Lies that anybody who wants a test for the virus could get one. Lies that a miracle will stop the virus from spreading. Certainly thousands of Americans would still die of Covid-19, but thousands more would not. Truth matters. It saves lives.

Larry Greenfield: There are different kinds of truth: religious and scientific. According to religion, it’s important for families/friends to get together to celebrate the Passover holiday.  According to scientific truth, it’s important to stay apart during a pandemic. This year, to be consistent with both of these truths, we are holding a virtual Seder.

MATZA OF HOPE

Walter Ruby: The Hope ofsaving lives. Project Rozana, a non-profit that brings sick Palestinian children from the West Bank and Gaza to Israeli hospitals for specialized care. Project Rozana also provides advanced medical training to Palestinian doctors. Matzah – world in which Israelis and Palestinians cooperate to save lives, no matter what nationality.

THE FOURTH CUP: The CUP OF MUTUAL RESPECT AND UNDERSTANDING 

Blessing over the grape juice

We praise God, Spirit of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.

Rizwan Jaka: Reciting Chapter49:13 from the Holy Quran: “O humankind! Behold, We have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another.” There is a robust Interfaith and Multicultural movement growing for decades in the VA/MD/DC Area. Major Interfaith and Peacebuilding efforts are growing across the USA and the World. We must respond to the many challenges of hate, bigotry, and misunderstandings with mutual understanding, respect, harmony, and peace.

There are concerted efforts to protect religious freedom, civil rights, human rights, and to counter hate and bigotry. We are all a part of the solution working together for the common good. We can do more to enhance these efforts and get involved on a regular basis to uplift all for a more prosperous, equitable, and harmonious America and World.

Mikaeel Martinez Jaka: In order to be thankful to God, we must be thankful to God’s creations. Our  fellow humans are God’s creations, so we must treat them kindly. To fulfill our duty to God, we must fulfill our duty to our sisters and brothers, treat them with kindness, provide for them, help them live and have a world to live in. We must reach a world where we live in peace, where learn from one another and not fear each other.

OSEH SHALOM—THERE WILL BE PEACE—Andra Baylus

Welcoming Elijah- Andrea

This cup is for Elijah Hanavi, Elijah the Prophet. We greet our honored guest Elijah and invite him to join our Seder. According to tradition, we pray that he will bring us a time of peace and freedom. But tonight, we ask Elijah to join us human beings on earth now in remaking the United States after the coronavirus public health crisis, to turn it into a better, fairer and more compassionate country.

Mix maror and charoset on matza and eat it.  Tells us that with all the bitterness (maror) there will be some sweetness (charoset) in the future.

Eliyahu Hanavi – Emily Blank

אֵלִיָהוּ הַנָבִיא, אֵלִיָהוּ הַתִּשְׁבִּי, אֵלִיָהוּ הַגִלְעָדִי בִּמְהֵרָה יָבוֹא אֵלֵינוּ עִם מָשִׁיחַ בֶּן דָוִד

Eliyahu Hanavie, Eliyahu Hatishbi, Elyahu Hagiladi, Bimherah Yavo Elenu Im Mashiach Ben David.

Elijah the Prophet, Elijah the Tishbite, Elijah the Giladite, May he soon come to us, with Mashiach the son of David.

How would you like to join Elijah in remaking America?

Hurunessa Fariad: We are at a point now to move from the word tolerate which to me is misleading, to words such as understand, accept and respect.  We all have our own paths to God and some without one but nevertheless we are all humans who have every right to live and practice what we believe. We have to come together to be the voice of the voiceless and to build a better world for the future of our families!  

Pastor Greg Loewer: Recently Columbia Baptist’s pastors of different language congregations (English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Arabic) shared observations and concerns about coming pandemics caused by the virus crisis: the pandemic of loneliness, of anxiety, of relational tensions.  I hope that in the future we will become more aware of situations.  To be sure, some professional counselors, like Judith, will be needed.  In addition, human emotional and spiritual support can be given by regular folks like us.  And in that way, the world can be made just a little better.

Abdul Rashid Abdullah: Achieving United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 8, “Decent Work and Economic Growth.” This means creating decent jobs, equipping young people with relevant job skills, protecting everyone’s labour rights, and putting a stop to child labour.  

Jill Frushtick: After we heal from the virus I wat to see the world more accepting of LGBTQ people. I’ve been with my (woman) partner for 42 years. We have kids and grandkids. We’ve never hurt anyone; we just want to continue to live in peace and safety; enjoying our loving marriage. We have to love everyone, they are all our cousins. Even Republicans.

Andrea Barron: I want the United States to become a country where everyone has the right to quality health care; where people believe in science and not the words of clever demagogues; where grocery workers and janitors, bus drivers and construction workers, home health aides and especially health care workers are respected for their contribution to our society, and recognized for their bravery during the time of the coronavirus pandemic.

Priscilla Martinez: Our prayer is that as humankind slowly re-emerges from the impact of Covid-19, we will also realign ourselves with the Earth and with all of God’s creation. The philosopher Emanuele Coccia argues that “we inhabit not Earth but the atmosphere, which he describes as a sea of life; as swimmers in this sea, we cannot be biologically isolated.” Covid-19 is reminding us that neither can our ecological practices. The Himalayas are now visible from parts of India where air quality had long obscured it. Mountain goats roam the streets of Wales. And whales are frolicking off the coast of Marseilles, France. Nature is reminding us that the force that we exert by our existence is disproportionate to the size of our presence.

Andrea Barron: We want to conclude our Seder with this famous song, about a new “land” that we “do not know” yet, our country and our world after the coronavirus pandemic. We do not know yet, what this new place will be like, but we are determined NOT to return to pre-corona virus America, but to construct a new and better America.

L’CHI LACH – Emily Blank

L’chi lach, to a land that I will show you
Leich l’cha, to a place you do not know
L’chi lach, on your journey I will bless you
And (you shall be a blessing)3x l’chi lach

L’chi lach, and I shall make your name great
Leich l’cha, and all shall praise your name
L’chi lach, to the place that I will show you
(L’sim-chat cha-yim)3x l’chi lach

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