Those were the plagues God sent to the Egyptians, horrors that were part of our liberation. Today, we see ourselves as God’s partners, not in the punishment of other people, but as agents for redeeming the world.
We therefore look around with open eyes at the plagues that enslave us. They need to be identified and confronted. We name these plagues of today:
The dying hopes and reams of women struggling with infertility and miscarriage.
The uncontrollable leaping rate of violence against women: rape, domestic violence, muggings and more.
The negative stereotypes which cause Jewish women to feel shameful or dirty or degraded.
The hunger and poverty that eats away like a beast at the most vulnerable women, especially single mothers, the elderly and children.
The distorted body images that hurt us physically or psychologically, with effects ranging from low self-esteem to the scourge of eating disorders.
The conscious or unconscious sexism that rises to the surface even in Jewish liturgy and communal life.
The continued attempts to limit our control of our reproductive rights, forcing women to have illegal abortions or carry out pregnancies that should have been ended.
The men who feed their egos by oppressing their wives – twisting Jewish law and misusing it by refusing to grant divorces to these “chained” women known as agunot.
The blind eye that does not see women as equal and valuable, leading to sexual harassment, glass ceilings, lack of equal pay, disrespect for aging women, and more.
SLAYING OF THE FIRSTBORN
The pervasive presence of diseases like breast cancer and AIDS, which threaten to take more of our mothers, daughters, sisters, friends.
May this year bring each of us the opportunity to fight these plagues and others, that we may help bring redemption to God’s world.
From Lichvod Passover 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).: A Women’s Community Lit. Order. The festive meal conducted on Passover night, in a specific order with specific rituals to symbolize aspects of the Exodus from Egypt. It is conducted following the haggadah, a book for this purpose. The mystics of Sefat also created a seder for Tu B'shvat, the new year of the trees. Lit. "Telling.” The haggadah is the book used at the seder table on Passover to tell the story of the Exodus, the central commandment of the holiday. It is rich in song, prayer, and legend. There are many different version of the Haggadah produced throughout Jewish history. by Sylvia Schatz, Avi Z. Rosenzweig, Sherry Hahn, Rabbi Debra R. Hachen, Gloria Z. Greenfield, Temple Emunah, Lexington, MA, April 9, 2000. Used with the permission of Gloria Greenfield.