Humanistic Judaism was founded as a congregational movement in 1963 by the late Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine, and has emerged as a stream of Judaism that enables people of any ethnic or religious background to cherish Jewish history, culture, and ethics without worshipping or praying to a supernatural being.
[MatzahThe unleavened bread eaten on Passover that recalls the Israelite's hasty escape from Egypt when there was no time for the dough to rise. Matzah is also considered the "bread of our affliction," eaten while we were slaves. held up for all to see.]
[Take turns reading. Each person is invited to read a grouped set of lines or to pass.]
MATZAH: Why do we eat matzah?
Matzah is the symbol of our affliction and our freedom.
Legend has it that when MosesThe quintessential Jewish leader who spoke face to face with God, unlike any other prophet, and who freed the people from Egypt, led them through the desert for forty years, and received the Torah on Mt. Sinai. His Hebrew name is Moshe.
and his followers fled Egypt,
they moved so quickly that the bread they baked did not have time to rise.
However, scholars have noted that long before the Jews celebrated PassoverPassover is a major Jewish holiday that commemorates the Jewish people's liberation from slavery and Exodus from Egypt. Its Hebrew name is Pesakh. Its name derives from the tenth plague, in which God "passed over" the homes of the Jewish firstborn, slaying only the Egyptian firstborn. Passover is celebrated for a week, and many diaspora Jews celebrate for eight days. The holiday begins at home at a seder meal and ritual the first (and sometimes second) night. Jews tell the story of the Exodus using a text called the haggadah, and eat specific food (matzah, maror, haroset, etc).
Middle Eastern farmers celebrated a spring festival of unleavened bread.
This was a festival where unleavened bread was made
from the fresh barley grain newly harvested at this time of the year.
The old fermented dough was thrown out
so that last year’s grain would not be mixed with this year’s.
Therefore, the new season began with the eating of unleavened bread—matzah.
Later on, the Jewish people incorporated this agricultural festival
into the celebration of freedom and renewal we now call Passover.
Let us now say a blessing for the matzah.
A BLESSING FOR THE UNLEAVENED BREAD
NOTZI MATZAH: LET US BRING FORTH MATZAH
נוֹצִיא מַצָּה- לֶחֶם מִן הָאָרֶץ
כְּדַי שֶׁנִּסְתַּפֵּק וְנִתְכַּלְכֵּל כֻּלָּנוּ
Notzi matzah – lehem min ha-aretz
k’dei she-nistapek v’nitkalkel kulanu.
Let us bring forth matzah—food from the land—so we all may be satisfied and sustained.
Let us all now eat a piece of matzah.