Magazine article Tikkun

Passover Haggadah Supplement 2011

Magazine article Tikkun

Passover Haggadah Supplement 2011

Article excerpt

FOR YOUR SEDER, here is a Haggadah supplement- not a replacement. If you don't normally do a Seder, you can use this supplement as the basis for an interfaith gathering in your home on April 18, the first night of Passover, or on any of the other nights of Passover until it ends on April 26. The bulk of this supplement can be found online at tikkun.org/passoversupplement. We are only printing the first part here.

AS WE SIT AT THE SEDER TABLE we need to discuss how ancient liberation for the Jews can inspire liberation today for all people.

In fact, we know it is the ongoing spiritual inspiration and Jewish cultural and psychological resonance of that ancient struggle that led many Jews today to cheer on the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings against their oppressive dictatorial regimes. Yet we also know that many Jews responded with more fear than hope, a residue of the ongoing post-traumatic stress disorder generated by 1,700 years of Christian oppression culminating in the Holocaust. The result: too often the high ethical values of the Jewish tradition can get subordinated to the fearful psychology that leads some of the most wealthy and politically powerful Jews in the world to still feel insecure and to see the world through the framework of the need to control, rather than through the religious frame of hope, love, and generosity that were the cornerstone of Jewish consciousness for many centuries. Without putting down those who are still traumatized and fearful, our task is to rebuild and reaffirm a Judaism committed to building a global transformation toward a world of love, generosity, peace, social justice, environmental sustainability, and genuine caring for each other and for the planet. It is toward this goal that we assemble at our Passover table as we rejoice in our freedom and affirm our commitment to spreading that freedom to all humanity.

Seventy-eight percent of American Jews voted for Barack Obama in 2008, and a majority of non- Jewish Americans joined them. The message was clear: end the war in Iraq and let our troops come home, end the war on the poor and the environment, and stop favoring the rich and corporate interests.

No wonder, then, that as we sit around the Passover table in 2010 there is a widespread sense of disappointment at the way President Obama moved far away from the hope for "change we can believe in." Some will say Obama was never who he said he was, that he was always just a clever manipulator of our hopes while actually being a centrist corporate-oriented politician, and that is why he chose advisers such as Geithner and Summers as soon as he was elected, and why he chose to retain Bush's secretary of defense, rather than balancing his cabinet with people like Paul Krugman or Robert Reich and representatives of the GLBT, environmental, human rights, immigrant rights, peace, and women's movements, and the other progressive movements that made his nomination possible in the first place. Others will suggest that he had no options, that he couldn't do more than he did (and some will then say that he should have told the truth about what was happening and that he should have stopped trying to appeal to the people on his right while failing to appeal to his own base). Still others will say the whole idea of a U.S. president being able to stand up to the complex of corporate interests, military-industrial powers, insurance and health care companies, pharmaceutical firms, fossil fuel promoters, environmental polluters, and their banks and investment companies was ludicrous from the start. …

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