Your Seder: "What Is This Matzah?" "Who are these Troublesome Women?"

Dear friends, I have already written you how transformed and transformative was the #FreedomSeder50 just over a week ago. My letter yesterday lifted up for you Reverend William Barber's prophetic outcry for a protest by hundreds of clergy at the White House on  June 6.

Today I want to bring you some other aspects of the #FreedomSeder50  that you can bring into your own Seder, or into your own observance of the other holy festivals that Christians are observing now and Muslims will be observing very soon.

The traditional Seder does not  lift up the early resistance to Pharaoh that was initiated by women. First there were the midwives Shifra and Puah, who refused to obey Pharaoh's orders to kill newborn boys of the Hebrew-speaking community. Then there were Miriam and Pharaoh's own daughter, who joined in an "international feminist conspiracy" to save Moses' life from the same murderous decree.

Both the order itself and the women's resistance are echoed in our own lives today, as children are ripped fom their parents' arms and forced to live in cages, traumatized, and as  women march outside the official political system and as new office-holders within it speak unwelcome truths.

At the #FreedomSeder50  Ana Maria Archila, who confronted a US Senator with  Truth in a US Capitol elevator, spoke her own truth in a profoundly moving story of her life. it was quite different in tone from Reverend Barber's outcry -- and just as deep.  We suggest that at your  Seder, read the passage about Shifra and Puah from Exodus I: 15-21, and then introduce into your Seder this moment of a woman's truth today:

And there is a moment in the Seder when we lift up the Matzah to explain how this bread of affliction, the bread of the desperately poor and powerless, became the bread of freedom. At that moment we invite you to bring into the Seder the brief video of my own lifting of the Matzah at the #FreedomSeder50 -- in which I connected the Matzah with a teaching of Dr. Martin Luther King. You can watch it now at --

And as I did yesterday, I invite you once more to bring into your own Seder the moment when  400 of us were deeply moved by the prophetic fervor with which  Reverend William Barber called for a: gathering of 1,000 clergy of all faiths at the White House on June 6. He quoted -- and more than quoted, he channeled -- Jeremiah's call to challenge a corrupt and murderous king at his own royal palace.

To have just a taste of that moment, click this link to watch and hear four minutes of Reverend Barber’s prophetic eloquence:

At a Seder, you could connect it with the Haggadah passage that says, ““In every generation, all human beings must look upon ourselves as if we ourselves, not our forebears only, go forth from slavery to freedom.”

We offer these videos as a gift for your own Seder, or Holy Thursday, or an evening Iftar break-fast early in Ramadan. Please feel free to play these brief video moments for everyone around your table to see, to hear, to discuss. Once you have watched these videos yourself, please send this letter to all your friends and post it to social media with the hashtag #FreedomSeder50.

We need your help to move forward with all that was catalyzed at the Seder, especially Reverend Barber's impassioned call for clergy to come to the White House on June 6. I have been invited by Reverend Barber to join the planning committee and the Council of Prophetic Voices for that action.

Our work is certainly cut out for us – it will take time and money --  to reach out to Jewish and other clergy, encourage support by all communities of Spirit, and engage the media so everyone is aware of this historic action. Please join us in making this Call a reality by making a contribution to The Shalom Center, and by spreading this message.

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Blessings of freedom within, freedom among, and freedom beyond – from this Passover into our future!  Arthur

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