Liberating Your Passover Seder

An Anthology Beyond The Freedom Seder

by Rabbi Arthur Ocean Waskow and Rabbi Phyllis Ocean Berman, editors

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About this book

In 1969, Arthur Waskow created the Freedom Seder to address America’s racial issues a year after the assassination of Martin Luther King.

It used the ancient Passover Seder ritual to tell a contemporary story of liberation.

It also began a revolution in American Judaism, combining the ancient and the timely in a way that lay the path for subsequent repurposing of the Seder for other messages.

This volume tells the story of those innovations while laying the groundwork for the next decades of religious creativity.

It includes the history of the Freedom Seder, as well as material marking its 40th anniversary celebration in 2019, as well as Susannah Hesche’s explanation of why she famously added an orange to the Seder plate.

It retells the origin of subsequent new haggadahs, including those focusing on Jewish-Palestinian reconciliation, environmental concerns, feminist and LGBT struggles, and the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020.

But more than looking back, “How to Liberate Your Passover Seder” is a call to “Free your seder!”


In Every Generation: Looking Forward 2
Rabbi Arthur Ocean Waskow and Rabbi Phyllis Ocean Berman

Why I Wrote the Freedom Seder and
Why It’s Still Necessary 50 Years After Dr. King’s Assassination 4
Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Father Dan Berrigan, Cornell University, and the Freedom Seder 12
Rabbi Arthur Waskow

The Influence of the Freedom Seder, 44 Years Later 15
Rabbi David Saperstein

The Shalom Seders: Three Progressive Visions 17
Reena Bernards

A Museum of History Creates the Future:
The Contemporary Resonance of Ancient Ritual 22
Emily August

The Seder Sisters 26
Letty Cottin Pogrebin

The Wellspring: A Public Women’s Seder 34
Rabbi Tamar Cohen

Women: Enslaved or Liberated by the Seder? 39
Rabbi Shalom Schachter

Mah Nishtanah? Pesach Liberation and LGBTQ Coming Out 43
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum

The Song of Songs Seder: A Night of Sacred Sexuality 51
Rabbi Robert dos Santos Teixeira, LCSW

Celebrating Queer Sexuality: Song of Songs Aslant 57
Susala Kay
The Seder of the Children of Abraham 62
Rabbi Brian Walt, Rabbi Mordechai Liebling and Catherine Essoyan

A Freedom Seder in Hebron 77
A. Daniel Roth

Campus Freedom Seders: Freedom For Who, Exactly? 82
Jess Schwalb *

Earthy Teachings of Pesach 89
Rabbi Arthur Waskow & Rabbi Jeff Sultar

My People Were Refugees: The Writing of the HIAS Haggadah 99
Rabbi Rachel Grant Meyer

Discovering the Ecological Imperative of Passover
The Backstory of The Promise of the Land: A Passover haggadah 103
Ellen Bernstein

Kos Miryam Ritual of 1987 and Kos Miryam for Pesach 112
Stephanie Loo, M.Ed. and Rabbinic Pastor Matia Rania Angelou

Why an Orange? 118
Susannah Heschel

The Freedom Plate on the Seder Table 121
Martha Hausman

Four New Questions for the Passover Seder 127
Rabbi Arthur Waskow

“Making our Days Radically New as They Were 50 Years Ago” 130
Rabbi Phyllis Berman and Vivienne Hawkins

The Mosque and the Seder: 138
By Imam Abdul-Halim Hassan

Remember the Poor 140
By Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis

“Only Prophets Can Stand Up Now…” 147
Reverend William Barber II

A Seder for Healthcare Workers During a Plague 150
Denise L. Davis, MD

Crossing the Red Sea to Create the Post-COVID World 154
Seventh night Seder On-Line April 14, 5780- 2020
Rabbi Shawn Israel Zevit

Notes Toward Freeing the Seder 167
Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Ph.D.

Passover & Kabbalah:
Freedom from Alien Authority, Liberty Toward Higher Purpose 173
Joel Hecker with Jeffrey Dekro

Liberating the Future: Passover and Beyond 183
Rabbi Arthur Ocean Waskow

Endnotes 189
About the Authors 191