JWI’s campaign #IBelieveIsraeliWomen

From Jewish Women International on April 11, 2024:

This year, we invite you to add a flower to your seder plate as a way to stand in solidarity with the women of Israel – to honor the memory of those who we lost at the hands of Hamas and other terrorists, to give hope to those who survived, and to share our strength with those who are still held hostage. 

This added symbol feels especially appropriate. In many ways, the story of Passover is the story of women — the story of Shifra and Puah, of Yocheved and Miriam.

To these names, we add the names of the Israeli women from October 7th — Amit and Moran, Ofra and Naama, Judy, Mila, and Shani. We add the names of the tireless crisis counselors who are caring for survivors and the grandparents who are now raising their grandchildren.

We add the names of those who set seder tables with empty chairs.

May our prayers give them strength.

The women of Israel are facing a world that refuses to believe them. This Passover, as we are called to share the story of our people so that it will not be forgotten, let us also tell the story of Israeli women. Let us weave their story, the story of October 7th, into the story of the Jewish people.

During the seder, as you hold up each of the symbolic foods on the seder plate and explain their meanings, read the following* as you lift the flower:

For gatherings with children at the table:

This year, we add a flower to our seder plate as a tribute to the Israeli women, men, and children who endured the unimaginable on October 7th. Those who survived, those who did not, and those who are held in captivity. Tonight we devote ourselves to weaving their experiences into our collective story. With this flower (lift) we remember them, affirm them, pray for them, and honor them.

For gatherings with teens and adults:

This year, we add a flower to our seder plate as a tribute to the Israeli women, men, and children who experienced unimaginable atrocities on October 7th. This flower symbolizes our commitment to restoring their dignity and their honor. Tonight, we devote ourselves to weaving their stories into our collective story and to affirming their experiences, testimonies and courage. We pray for the souls of those women who were raped and murdered, for the healing of those women who endured and survived, and for the return of those still being held in captivity. With this flower (lift) we remember, affirm, and honor them.

This Sunday, JWI, together with Seed the Dream Foundation, will arrive in Tel Aviv for our I Believe Israeli Women solidarity mission. The delegation of subject matter experts is built as a network of action. During our time in Israel, we will bear witness, understand the needs of first-responders and survivors, and amplify voices. 

We will share this vital message:

“We believe you and we are speaking out.”

Click here to learn more and to join the movement.

Thank you to Rabbi Dana Saroken, of Congregation Beth El in Baltimore, for her contributions to these prayers.