Tomorrow night we will sit around our seder tables and retell the story of Passover. The Haggadah instructs us to think of the exodus of our ancestors from Egypt as if we ourselves had been redeemed. The essence of Passover is as relevant today as it was during zman cheruteinu — the time when we were freed. Then, as now, the quest for freedom and dignity for all humankind remains central to our core Jewish values.
Around the country, members of the “We Were Strangers, Too” campaign are using the upcoming Passover holiday as an opportunity to advocate for a more just and fair immigration system. Below are four incredible resources that highlight the plight of immigrants in our country, celebrate the accomplishments of immigrants in our communities, and offer stories and anecdotes to illustrate the wide Jewish support for immigration reform:
- Rabbi Maralee Gordon – chair of our new initiative called Face to Face: Jewish Outreach to Immigrants in Detention – wrote a special Passover seder insert which calls attention to the injustices of the immigration detention system. She tells the stories of three immigrant detainees she has met through the Interfaith Jail Ministry to Immigrant Detainnees in the McHenry County Jail. She writes that “as Jews we are used to being that stranger in a strange land. As Americans we know that we are not native to the land we live in. We are all immigrants. And some of us are immigrants in detention.”
- The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA) hosted their annual Freedom and Justice seder on March 28th in Chicago, IL. In addition to immigration issues, their Haggadah highlights other important social justice issues such as food justice, housing justice, and economic justice. Their section on immigrant justice focuses on the immigration detention system as well as state and local immigration enforcement legislation.
- Jews United for Justice (JUFJ) – based in Washington, DC – recently hosted their annual Labor Seder which focused on local immigration issues. Their Haggadah – entitled “Immigrant Roots, Immigrant Rights” – includes the stories of several immigrants in the Washington area, discussion questions intended to prompt reflection on personal immigration stories, advocacy actions, and songs.
- HIAS Pennsylvania is leading the Greater Philadelphia Jewish Coalition on Immigration in teaching their community “why immigration matters.” They have created an insightful Passover Haggadah insert entitled Four Cups, Four Immigrants: Our Story, America’s Story, which conveys the stories of four recent immigrants to the U.S. and the struggles they face.
Please feel free to utilize these materials at your seder, and make sure to spread the word about the “We Were Strangers, Too” campaign.