In March, on the three Sundays just before Passover, Susan Rosen and Carol Fox Prescott led us on an amazing adventure. We projected ourselves into the bodies, minds, hearts, and souls of the women in the Exodus story. We wrote as Shifrah and Puah, the midwives attending Moses’ birth; as Miriam, Moses’ sister; as Yocheved the slave, Moses’ mother; as Pharaoh’s daughter, who rescued Moses from the Nile and raised him as her son; as Zipporah, Moses’ wife.
We wrote in the voices of our own inner children –our inner wise one; our contrary one; our simple one; the one who doesn’t know how to ask a question. We wrote our own blessings over the four cups of wine.
After talking and writing and about our recollections of childhood Seders, we threw ourselves into the lives of people – so important to our Jewish story, but about whom the Torah does not elaborate—and gave them voice. Our writings were incorporated into the Haggadah used at the Congregation’s annual Passover Seder. Those writings are now part of the story of liberation we celebrate every year.
During the three weeks of this workshop, every participant went on a personal journey of liberation, sharing with extraordinary depth our own stories. If we had been the women of Exodus, what would we have said, done, felt? How would the person we are today have been then? How did their presence and role in the Torah influence who we have become? We discovered that we are them, and they us.
Here are some comments from participants.
“It felt really good being able to contribute to a Haggadah that will be a living document for our congregation.”
“I loved what I came into, loved the format. I forgot how much I Iove to write.”
“I liked that the sharing in the circle was generous, genuine, and real.”
“Brought out my spiritual and Jewish longings.”
“Informative, inclusive, community building.”
“Beautifully orchestrated. I learned that some of the archetypes in the Torah are relevant to my sense of identity.”
“I discovered I have a place in Judaism, where I always felt an outsider.”
“Although I do not consider myself a writer, I found I could participate in this accepting environment.”
There was a unanimous desire to experience another In The Voice of Our Mothers workshop and to continue writing a new Haggadah. And that opportunity begins Sunday, August 23. Check the LSI program calendar for details and dates. Returning participants and new people are welcome. And you don’t need to be a woman to come. Men are also invited and encouraged to imagine themselves as the women of Exodus.