“Next year in Jerusalem!” cry the multiple voices of Jews around the world when they finally reach the end of the Seder, the ritual meal of Passover. It is during this never ending meal that Jews recount the road out of slavery towards liberty. This is when parents tell their children that in every generation, every Jew, must consider themselves as though they had been freed from the bondage of Egypt.
Except in Soviet Russia, where a special Haggadah was written and distributed in which the cry for revolution, not Jerusalem, was brought to the table. “This year a revolution here; next year – a world revolution!”
The communist Jews of the early Soviet Union put together special propaganda Haggadot in which the old Jewish traditions were decried and the new communist ideas were embraced. One of them was the Komsomolishe Haggadah, published in Moscow in 1922 by Moshe Altshuler. (Melody Barron, The Librarians
The lesson is intended for students who have already learned a lesson or two about the Soviet Jewry Struggle.
Read articles online:
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This is not a lesson about heroism, like most of our lessons.
This lesson is designed for a deeper understanding of the form of communist thinking. Explaining the desire of some Jews to erase their Jewish identity in order to integrate. A desire that probably stemmed mostly from fear after years of pogroms.
But anti-Semitism reminded those who wanted to fit in that it is not possible.
Trigger question: What are the most memorable sentences / principles from Passover Haggadah?
Next year in Jerusalem
Let my people go
And you shall explain to your son on that day (in Hebrew "explain/told" is = Ha-ga-deh-tta. Thus called "Haggadah")
In every generation they stand up against us to destroy us.
But the Holy One, Blessed Be He, redeems us from their hands.
In each and every generation, a person is obligated to see himself as if he left Egypt.
Discuss: Why is it important for the Jewish people to remember and commemorate, to pass from generation to generation the memory that we were slaves and the dream of being free in the Land of Israel?
Read one of the articles (both, if time permits - as they give different information)
After reading the articles, discuss:
Why do you think someone Jewish took part in an attempt to change the consciousness of his people?
Why did many Jews, especially at the beginning of the Bolshevik revolution, take part in a revolution that erases any non-Soviet identity?
Why do you think the Communist Haggadah did not succeed in the Jewish people? Would you now accept a new version of the Haggadah?
The Communist Haggadah did not catch on. In fact, few have heard of it at all.
But it symbolizes the communist attempt to erase different identities, under the pretext that if everyone is the same there will be no discrimination.
Most Jews also quickly realized that their hope to integrate as equals in the USSR was an illusion.
After the revolution, persecution of Jews continued (publication of the protocols of the Elders of Zion, the Night of the Murdered Poets in 1952, the doctors' plot campaign in 1953, Stalin's plan to exile Jews to the Far East and more).
Many Jews celebrated Passover (the original one) in secret.
The Haggadah phrase: Next Year In Jerusalem, became a symbol of Prisoners of Zion.
In general, the Soviet Jewry struggle was often compared to the book of Exodus.
The 1970s Aliyah from the USSR (about 163,000 Jews) was called the "Let My People Go" Aliyah.