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The Only Democracy? Wishes You a Sweet and Liberating Season

By Jesse Bacon

Of all the stories in the Passover liturgy, I am most inspired by the idea that it was “mixed multitude” that went forth from Egypt, Israelites and Egyptians alike. Here is a perfect description of what I mean when I talk about democracy: a diverse group of people united by an idea, and inspired to brave action. Later in the story there will be time for specific religious experiences: the Jews’ revelation at Sinai, the Christians’ experience of Resurrection, and the Islamic veneration of Moses as a prophet, as well as many other faiths’ and beliefs’ ideas of liberation. There will be time for people to settle in their different communities, and form separate nations if they so choose. But my wish for now, for the next 8 days is that we all have the experience of leaving slavery together, towards a freedom we do not yet know, bound up only in each other.  There will be space for individual difference, individual experiences of a slavery or refugee status more direct than others . There will even  be individual heroism like that of Nachshon or Miriam, characters who actually lead people through the Sea. But we will all be together. Thank you for gathering on this blog. Let’s go.

Here’s a piece from Jewish Voice for Peace Advisory Board member Aurora Levins Morales.

They say that other country over there, dim blue in the twilight, farther than the orange stars exploding over our roofs, is called peace, but who can find a way?
This time we cannot cross until we carry each other.
All of us refugees, all of us prophets. No more taking turns on history’s wheel trying to collect old debts no one can pay.
The sea will not open that way.
This time that country is what we promise each other, our rage pressed cheek to cheek until tears flood the space between, until there are no enemies left, because this time no one will be left to drown, and all of us must be chosen,
This time it’s all of us, or none.”

For those attending seders, you can download Jewish Voice for Peace’s  “Jewish Liberation and Palestinian Liberation, Four More Questions for Pesach” by Brant Rosen. I hope you find a way to incorporate some honoring of Palestinian Land Day, which is tomorrow!

Related posts:

  1. The Only Democracy Wishes You Knowledge and Power This Shavuot
  2. Jewish Voice for Peace’s Rabbinical Council and a sweet and redemptive new year
  3. May you have good grief: Tisha B’ Av on the Only Democracy?

Written by

JESSE BACON (Philadelphia) is a freelance activist and father. He has a Masters in teaching from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He is an observant progressive Jew, and is trying to be a good ally for Palestinians and all dispossessed peoples, while staying true to the best traditions in Judaism. He visited Israel and Palestine in 1996, 2001, and 2002. He served for three years on the local steering committee of Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago, and one year on the board of Pursue the Peace in Seattle. Read his posts here.

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