The Human Rights Haggadah examines human rights issues as they come up in the retelling of the Exodus. It provides background and questions for discussion to help find contemporary meaning in the holiday story by using it to discuss human rights.
The Passover Story touches on every aspect of human rights, from the bitter oppression of slavery to the moral dilemmas that arise when fighting for even a cause as justified as freedom. The Human Rights Haggadah makes Passover relevant to the most pressing political and religious dilemmas we face today.
- All who are hungry, let them come and eat — Is access to food a human right, or do people have to earn even their basic necessities?
- If God had not redeemed us, we would still be slaves to pharaoh in Egypt — What does slavery look like in the 21st century?
- If the wicked son had been in Egypt, he would not have been redeemed — Can wicked people or those who commit crimes be punished with slavery?
- When the Israelites went out from Egypt, they left with great wealth — When are reparations necessary, and when does collecting reparations create new injustice or lighten the conscience of those who have committed crimes?
- Jacob went to dwell in Egypt temporarily, not to remain there — Was Jacob a migrant or a refugee? Could Pharaoh have turned him away, and what must we do when vast numbers of people seek refuge from war or famine?
- The Children of Israel were fruitful and multiplied, and the land was filled with them — Is having children a human right that must remain a personal decision, or can governments put limits on family size to preserve natural or economic resources?
- God brought ten plagues upon Egypt — Since the ten plagues were directed against Egypt’s entire population, were they similar to war crimes? What are the limits we must follow even when fighting for freedom?
With The Human Rights Haggadah at the table, families will be inspired to welcome thoughtful, provocative conversations to the Seder, inspired by Levin’s work — from targeting civilians to ending massive injustice, understanding the difference between migrants and refugees to what should be done with people who benefit from oppression and slave labor, and more —all within the context of what the Passover tradition truly stands for.