The maror, or bitter herbs, burns our mouth to remind us of the bitterness of slavery. The commandment to eat maror has traditionally been sweetened by dipping the maror into the charoset.



The maror we eat tonight is a symbol of the oppression in women’s lives. May it remind us of the deep suffering of so many women throughout the world and help us to be in solidarity with all who are in pain. May the charoset – a symbol of the mortar made by the Israelite slaves – be a sign of the bond of sisterhood that binds us together tonight, through the bitterness of our enslavement and the sweetness of our liberation

Oh Freedom, by Alicia Ostriker



What was Frannie Lou Hamer singing in 1945, I wonder, down there on the plantation in Mississippi picking her three hundred pounds of cotton a day, what did she hum to herself while the sweat poured down? Angela Davis, a girl my age, where was she while I was going to the Pioneer Youth Camp, what songs was she learning at the same time as I was learning No More Auction Block For Me, and Solidarity Forever, and Allons Enfants de la Patrie, and Hatikvah? I was learning those songs at the same time because it was the same struggle. Oh Freedom. When the war was over and those other camps were opened, pouring the bones and hair, the tattered shoes and teeth, the eyes of the dead into my shaking cup, what was Audre Lord girl my age  studying? Was she studying hope? Was she learning Many Thousand Gone? Did her grandma teach her Let My People Go?

Maror reading from A Women’s Seder, Temple Beth Sholom, Miami Beach, Florida. “Oh Freedom” from Lifecycles Vol. 1: Jewish Women on Life Passages and Personal Milestones 1994 Edited by Debra Orenstein (Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing). $19.95 + $3.75 s/h. Order by mail or call 800-962-4544 or online at Permission granted by Jewish Lights Publishing, P.O. Box 237, Woodstock, VT 05091.

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