The Shalom Bayit Program offers a Passover Seder Prayer

April 08, 2020

The Shalom Bayit Program offers a Passover Seder Prayer

Every year, as we read the story of Jews' liberation from Egyptian slavery during the Passover Seder, I think about the survivors of domestic violence and child abuse who are not able to leave the bondage in their homes and those who continue to suffer from the trauma of this abuse for years to come. These are our friends, family and community members who experience quarantine every day. This year, as so many of us are isolated from those we love during the holidays, I am aware of increases in abuse and additional layers of fear for those living with violence and abuse.

Many abuse survivors have talked about the familiarity of the feelings we are now experiencing, due to COVID-19. Every day abuse survivors live in isolation, on edge, worried about the impact of their daily activities, uncertainty, and fear. I am particularly moved by the resilience of those who draw upon the survival skills they learned throughout their lives. My hope as this Passover begins is that we will all incorporate this strength and resilience.

Please consider reading this Passover prayer, created many years ago by community members in our Shalom Bayit Program. Know that you are not alone.

The Shalom Bayit Program of JF&CS offers the following prayer for your Passover Seder

Each year at this time, it is our responsibility as Jews to look upon ourselves as if we had actually gone forth from Egypt.

The struggle for freedom s ongoing, and in every age there are new freedoms to be won. On this night our hearts turn to those among us who suffer the pain of homes in which shalom has been shattered. We have been reluctant to confront this violence and to join in the effort to liberate those in pain

There are Jewish children who are sexually, physically, and or verbally abused. There are Jewish adults who cower in fear of their partners. There are Jewish elderly who are ignored or imprisoned in their own homes. All are victims of a violence tearing at the very essence of their beings. This night when we celebrate the miracle of liberation it is incumbent upon us to grasp the meaning of this enslavement to hear their cries and to aid their struggle for liberation.

Some of us around this table are survivors, others know survivors –and victims—of domestic violence. We must come to know the silence and sadness the loneliness and embarrassment, the bitterness and the craving for liberation experienced by Jews terrorized in their own homes.

As we celebrate the memory of that first Exodus which unfolded in the heart of Egypt, let us actively and with clear intention chart a new path so that those bound in the chains of domestic violence may be freed of their shackles and come to know in their lives the taste of liberation, the meaning of redemption and the experience of shalom.