New Video Brings Modern Slavery Survivors to Passover Zoom Seders

Free the Slaves project makes Passover 2021 about slavery past AND present

WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES, March 18, 2021 / — Unable to safely gather in person, many Jews will turn to Zoom and other digital platforms for Passover Seders next week. To deepen the experience of this year’s online and hybrid gatherings, the Free the Slaves Passover Project has produced a unique and deeply personal video to be played at Seders.

The five-minute video features slavery survivors from around the world describing, in their own words, the brutality of slavery today. Hosted by Rabbi Debra Orenstein of Emerson, NJ, the video also offers hope for eradicating slavery by enlisting the involvement of the Jewish community.

Downloadable Passover Seder Video:

Judaism is deeply connected to the themes of slavery and freedom. The Torah instructs in Deuteronomy 24:18: “Remember that you were a slave in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you from there. Therefore, I command you to do [justice].” The enslavement of Jews during biblical times—and their subsequent exodus—are a central narrative not only for Jewish people, but for others who have found hope in the biblical story.

The slavery survivors in the new video explain the hardships they endured, including malnourishment, life-threatening work conditions, daily beatings and being kept in leg shackles.

“Working like this, there is no difference between an animal and a human being,” one man says in the video.

The individuals in the video were enslaved in Brazil, Cambodia, India, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and Pakistan. They are now free, but the United Nations estimates more than 40 million people are currently trapped today in modern forms of slavery around the world. They are involved in the production of products that American consumers buy every day, including food, clothing, electronics and jewelry.

The new video is part of an ongoing campaign to enlist Jewish schools, congregations and communities into a network mobilized against human trafficking throughout the year. The Passover Project webpage includes fact sheets, handouts, readings and activities for Passover and educational material for Jewish schools.

If every person who attends a Seder learns a few facts about modern slavery, changes shopping habits in just a few small ways to avoid slavery-tainted products, donates a few dollars to groups helping to liberate the enslaved and change the conditions that allow slavery to still exist, and reaches out to educate just a few additional people, we would liberate tens of thousands of people.

“Passover recalls the bitterness of slavery and celebrates the joy of freedom,” Rabbi Orenstein says in the video. “We Jews commemorate our exodus from ancient Egypt, but slavery still exists, and it is our obligation as Jews to help the millions of people now in bondage. There is no better time than z’man cheruteynu, the season of our liberation, to help others be free.”

ABOUT FREE THE SLAVES: Widely regarded as a pioneer and leader in the modern abolition movement, Free the Slaves works on the front lines and the corridors of power to liberate entire communities from modern slavery and change the conditions that allow slavery to exist.

Terry FitzPatrick
Free the Slaves
+1 571-282-9913
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