Introduction to the First Adoption Seder (Revised)
....I have retold the story of Moses in the literary form of the haggadah. A haggadah is the traditional booklet for the celebration of Passover that recounts Moses' leading the Exodus out of Egypt. Also contained in a haggadah are psalms, prayers, songs and rituals. They all act like synapses that make the main story that much more deeply felt....
Glossary and Objects
Hadlakat ha-Nerot/Lighting the festival candles
Kos Kiddush/
First cup of wine
Blessing for something done a first time
Ritual washing of hands
Karpas/Spring Greens
The four questions ~ an adopted variation
The four kinds of children ~ an adopted variation
Maggid/The story of the Exodus from Egypt
The Ten Plagues
Dayenu (a song of gratitude)
Hallel/Psalms of praise
Kos G'ula/The second cup of wine
Shulchan orech/
The shared supper
Rachatzah/Ritual washing of hands
Motzi Matzah/
Breaking and blessing the matzah
Maror and Charoset/
The bitter and the sweet
A traditional dish
Rabbi Gamaliel's proclamation ~ and an adoptee's variation
Tsafun/Searching, finding, ransoming and sharing the afikomen
Bareich/Grace after meals
Kos B'racha/
The third cup of wine
Kos Eliayahu/The cup of Elijah, and his story
Kos Hartsa-a/
The fourth cup of wine
Nirtzah/Acceptance with silence/A pause for meditation
Eliayahu Hanavi/
Elijah the Prophet (A song sung at farewells)
A different kind of hero on a different kind of quest To celebrate the process of Search and Reunion by an adult adoptee (or immigrant or convert or spiritual seeker), I blended the biblical story of Moses with commentaries on it from the Talmud and my own insights as an adoptee. At first recollection, the story of Moses may sound like an adoptive parent's worst nightmare, but....

The Story of Moses: An Adoption Haggadah
by Michele Kriegman, Copyright 1996

Adoption Terms

Place - an adoption agency's, lawyer's, social worker's or baby-broker's assigning a child to a family for adoption.

Relinquish - to surrender to adoption and lose all parental rights. Not synonymous with "abandon," "lose," or "share custody."

Search - in adoption circles this refers to the search of one member of the adoption triad fro another:
Adopters searching for an adoptable baby;
An adoptee trying to locate a biological parent;
A birthparent trying to locate a relinquished child.

Hebrew Terms

Afikomen - a piece of matzah that is broken in half and hidden at the beginning of the seder, it is bought and found at the end, to be eaten as dessert.

Ametz - adoption; a modern Hebrew word that comes from "to graft on, to make strong" as used in Psalm 80:

     Look from heaven, and behold,
          and be mindful of this vine;
     And the stock which Thy right hand
          hath planted,
     And the branch that Thou madest strong for thyself.

Ba'al teshuvah - a secular person who has rediscovered her religious community

Bat - daughter of

Beitsa - roasted egg used for all three Moses-entwined holidays, known as pilgrimage holidays in the days when the Temple stood, related symbolically to zeroa

Chametz - leaven; this is forbidden during the eight days of Passover and traditionally includes all leavened grain, wheat, spelt, barley, rye and any of their derivatives

Charoset - a sticky mixture usually made from nuts, apples and wine

Chazeret - a vegetable with a tendency to bitterness, often lettuce, radish or watercress, related symbolically to maror

Haggadah - the book containing the story and home-centered ceremonies of Passover, literally: "the telling" (plural haggadot)

Halakhah - religious law based on rabbinic interpretations of the Torah that fundamentalist Jews call the Orah Torah

Israel - "wrestler with God," or "God-wrestler"

Jerusalem - the heart of the Promised Land, originally it meant "city of wholeness" or "city of peace"

Karpas - a springtime vegetable like celery, parsley or potato

Kiddush - to sanctify or set apart; a prayer of praise, honor or memory

Kinim - "lice," one of the Ten Plagues, related to the work kinah or jealousy

Maror - grated horseradish or the head of a horseradish, related symbolically to chazeret

Matzah - unleavened break like that which the Hebrew slaves ate

Midrashim - (plural of midrash) stories and interpretations based on Biblical text

Mitzrayim - "Egypt," originally a "narrow, confining place"

Mitzvah - literally a commandment, plural is mitzvot; a good deed, an opportunity to increase holiness in the world

Rechem - "womb," related to the word rachamim or "compassion"

Seder - literally "order;" refers to the ordered ritual and meal with which we celebrate Passover

Teshuvah - literally, "turning, returning," and figuratively, "repentence"

Tikkun Olam - literally, "repair of the world"

Torah - the five books of Moses which also correspond with the first five books of the Christian Old Testament

Y'rushalayim - Jerusalem; "city of wholeness" or "city of peace"

Zeroa - a roasted shankbone that symbolizes the springtime sacrifice at the Temple in Jerusalem in ancient times, related symbolically to beitsa





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Michele Kriegman TEL 973.292.9578