How To Talk Politics at Your Family Seder Without Killing Each Other

Inside Leadership

How To Talk Politics at Your Family Seder Without Killing Each Other

A Passover Seder Table

An estimated 70% of American Jews participate in a Passover seder the highest rate of involvement in any Jewish religious observance. This year, as we recount the story of the Exodus and symbolically taste the bitterness of slavery, we also must ask what, in 2016, makes this Passover different?

At my seder table this year, as we remember how we wandered homeless in the desert, we will talk about many difficult topics, including the 60 million refugees worldwide who are seeking safe haven as part of the largest global refugee crisis since World War II. Remembering the S.S. St. Louis, filled with refugees from Nazi Germany looking for a safe harbor along the East coast of America, we know we cannot sit idly by. As a Jewish community, this is our story, and we have a religious imperative to act. Along the same lines, we must reinforce our support for an America built by myriad immigrants from the world over, all of whom come here seeking one thing: a better life than the life they had back home.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs is the president of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), the largest Jewish movement in North America, with almost 850 congregations and nearly 1.5 million members. An innovative thought leader, dynamic visionary, and representative of progressive Judaism, he spent 20 years as the spiritual leader of Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, NY. Deeply dedicated to global social justice issues, he has led disaster response efforts in Haiti and Darfur. Learn more about Rabbi Rick Jacobs.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Published: 4/18/2016

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