Passover Pages of Sinai Temple
Global Refugee Crisis

This is not an easy topic.

It feels as if there is very little we can do in order to respond to the massive massive global refugee crisis. Perhaps at minimum we can at least recognize the challenge. The following materials come from HIAS - The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.

The HIAS website notes: As we celebrate the Jewish people’s biblical exodus from Egypt, we 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.

There are a few points in your Seder where you might be able to mention refugees. Here they are....

Towards the beginning of the Seder, as you prepare to bless and drink the first cup of wine:

As we remember our own liberation from bondage in Egypt, we express gratitude for the ability to work as God’s partners in continuing redemption for today’s refugees. As our wine cups overflow in this moment of joy, we hold out hope for the day when every person in search of refuge in every corner of the earth can recall a story of freedom, reflect on a journey to security from violence and persecution and no longer yearn for a safe place to call home.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, who frees those who are oppressed.

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

Blessed are You, Ruler of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.

When you come to the Ten Plagues, you could recite them as they are printed in your Haggadah. But you could then continue by noting there are other kinds of plagues in our world. For example, the following "plagues."

Remembering the ten plagues that God brought upon the Egyptians when Pharaoh refused to free the Israelites, we have the opportunity tonight to recognize that the world is not yet free of adversity and struggle. This is especially true for refugees who face "plagues" and pain in so many ways

1. violence

2. dangerous journeys

3. poverty

4. food insecurity

5. lack of access to education 6. violence

7. xenophobia

8. anti-refugee legislation

9. language barriers

10. loss of family

After the meal when it is time to open the door for Elijah, pause and use this reading.

Gathered around the Seder table, we pour four cups, remembering the gift of freedom that our ancestors received centuries ago. We delight in our liberation from Pharaoh’s oppression.

We drink four cups for four promises fulfilled.

The first cup of wine as God said, “I will free you from the labors of the Egyptians.”

The second as God said, “And I will deliver you from their bondage.”

The third as God said, “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.”

The fourth because God said, “I will take you to be My People.”

We know, though, that all are not yet free. As we welcome Elijah the Prophet into our homes, we offer a fifth cup, a cup not yet consumed.

A fifth cup for the 60 million refugees and displaced people around the world still waiting to be free — from the refugee camps in Chad to the cities and towns of Ukraine, for the Syrian refugees still waiting to be delivered from the hands of tyrants, for the thousands of asylum seekers in the United States still waiting in detention for redemption to come, for all those who yearn to be taken in not as strangers but as fellow human beings.

This Passover, let us walk in the footsteps of the One who delivered us from bondage. When we rise from our Seder tables, may we be able to remember the refugees, hastening Elijah’s arrival as we speak out on behalf of those who are not yet free.