Healthy Debate: How This Night Can Be Different

seder supplement passover 2019Moving Traditions believes that when we come together face-to-face to honestly explore challenging issues, we bring meaning and joy to our lives. This is the beauty of our programs, from b’nai mitzvah family education sessions to ground-breaking teen groups, Rosh Hodesh for girls, Shevet for boys and Tzelem for transgender and nonbinary teens. Here’s a way for you to bring the experience to your Seder.

Step 1: Start with a Jewish idea or text and put a contemporary frame on it.

Ma nishtana halayla hazeh? Why is this night different from all other nights?

Because on all other nights we may not have the patience for differences of opinion, but tonight we create a brave space and welcome a diversity of perspectives.

Step 2: Pick a current topic to discuss and connect it to the Haggadah.

  • Sexism and Antisemitism. How do women-identified Jews manage multiple oppressions?
  • Welcoming the Stranger. How do our family immigration stories relate to what is happening today?
  • When does it liberate us and when does it enslave us?

Step 3: Share discussion guidelines, such as those we use in our teen groups.

  • Debate to solve problems rather than to win.
  • Attack issues, not people—so you can preserve relationships.
  • Check your motivations for engaging in a conflict.
  • Listen to the other side and be open to admitting that you may be wrong.
  • Consider that you might both be right, even if you hold opposite opinions.

Step 4: Add secular Inspiration, like this poem by Micky ScottBey Jones.

Together we will create brave space
Because there is no such thing as a “safe space”
We exist in the real world
We all carry scars and we have all caused wounds.
In this space
We seek to turn down the volume of the outside world,
We amplify voices that fight to be heard elsewhere,
We call each other to more truth and love
We have the right to start somewhere and continue to grow.
We have the responsibility to examine what we think we know.
We will not be perfect.
This space will not be perfect.
It will not always be what we wish it to be
It will be our brave space together,
we will work on it side by side

Step 5: Now go and do.


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