WJCI Launches New Passover Initiative Connecting
Stories from Today’s Refugees with the Ancient Exodus
Westchester Jewish Coalition for Immigration (WJCI) has announced a new resource, Let the Maggid Speak: A Haggadah to Inspire the Sharing of Our Refugee Stories, in time for the Passover holiday. This Haggadah was created in partnership with Rabbi Benjamin Resnick (text) and Jack Klebanow (music) under the auspices of the Pelham Jewish Center.
Constructed around four tales, four questions, and four cups, Let the Magid Speak encourages us to welcome the stranger to our tables to share our diverse experiences. Each section begins with an opportunity to sing aloud, either a niggun (a wordless melody) or a simple song, chosen to engage and encourage all gathered to make beautiful noise together. Let the Maggid Speak was purposefully designed to bring both current and descendants of refugees together to share their powerful and sobering stories, become better informed, and create support and empathy for refugees,” said WJCI President Holly Rosen Fink.
According to UNHCR, there are over 68 million displaced people, asylum seekers, and refugees in the world today. In the last three weeks, three million Ukrainian refugees joined this incomprehensible number of people who live without a country or any place to call home. Storytelling is a way to address this growing epidemic. It is a deep and abiding human impulse, a form of reaching out beyond oneself that transcends time and place and religion, language, and culture.
Let the Maggid Speak can be used in large community settings or homes. WJCI encourages facilitators (seder leaders) to choose four Maggidim (storytellers or weavers) who will share their tales leading up to the seder. Drawing on a story-slam format, the theme, like that of the traditional Haggadah, is “the refugee experience.’’ Maggidim can be from all faiths, and ethnic backgrounds and ideally include one or more recent refugees, preferably living in the community. WJCI can help connect communities with newly arrived guests from Afghanistan and elsewhere. To find out more or get a free download of the Haggadah, visit www.wjci.org
WJCI is an entirely volunteer-run, non-partisan organization that envisions the United States as a place where refugees, asylum seekers, and other immigrants can live in safety and dignity. The organization includes Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Reform, and non-denominational Jews from around the Westchester region and partners with institutions and individuals of all faiths who assist and act on behalf of immigrants and refugees. In 2022, WJCI officially launched its expanded mission to engage Westchester’s Jewish community in social action, advocacy, and education around the issue of immigration and refugees.