Marking 50 Years of Occupation at the Seder Table

Josh Friedes Image
Josh Friedes
on April 7, 2017

For many pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy Jews, Passover is an opportunity to celebrate our liberation from enslavement in the Land of Egypt and recommit ourselves to ending oppression world over.

But this year is not like other years — it marks the fiftieth since the Six-Day War.

Following the Six-Day War, Jews were able to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem for the first time during the history of modern Israel. But for many of us, Israel’s military triumph is tempered by the knowledge that as a result of it, Palestinians will now be entering their fiftieth year under occupation.

To mark fifty years of occupation, a coalition of Israeli groups working together under the banner SISO (Save Israel, Stop the Occupation) have put together a Jubilee Haggadah.

You can view and download it here.

In the Jewish tradition, the fiftieth year is the year of liberty. The Torah commands us to “Sanctify the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land for all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you.”

This Passover, as we reflect on fifty years of occupation, let us take the opportunity for the Jewish people to affirm that the fates of Jews and Palestinians are inexorably linked. Israel’s future will not be guaranteed — and the Jewish people will not be truly free or secure — until there is a two-state solution and an end to the occupation.

The Jubilee Haggadah combines the ancient Jubilee commandment with the celebration of Passover, the festival of liberation. You can use the full Haggadah with traditional liturgy and 30 writings from rabbis, writers and other prominent members of the Jewish world or simply infuse a few of the writings into your Seder.


The Jubilee Haggadah is also a call to action at an important moment. From the broad opposition to David Friedman’s nomination as US ambassador to Israel to recent demonstrations of support for a two-state solution in Congress, there’s reason to be hopeful this Passover that Israel’s friends in the United States remain committed to a a Jewish, democratic Israel living alongside a Palestinian state.

It’s my hope that we come out of our Seders recommitted to fighting for our Jewish and democratic ideals in Israel and the United States and ready to continue our work toward a two-state solution and an end to the occupation.

Next year in a peaceful Jerusalem.

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