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Discussion Questions

  1. Review: What are the origins of the document? When was it written?
  2. What audience was this document written for? How might this have influenced its content and/or format?
  3. By 1969 some civil rights activists felt that resorting to violence when necessary was essential to the cause. The Freedom Seder included a quote by Thomas Jefferson: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants." Do you agree with Jefferson? Why or why not? What does this reference suggest about the purpose and authority of the Civil Rights Movement? What do you see as the significance of reading this quote during a Passover seder?
  4. In the second paragraph there is a list of types of Jewish leaders who had to deal with violence in fighting for freedom. Why do you think the author describes these different roles?
  5. Do you see this text as condoning violence or arguing against its use? Point to specific lines in the text to back up your argument.
  6. Leaving aside the powerful references to violence in this text, let’s look at the types of leaders and events that are mentioned. Who are the people quoted in this document? What language is used to describe them? Would you describe them in these terms? Why or why not? What might these figures mean to Jews? What might they mean to African Americans?
  7. After recounting stories of rebellion that took place in America, the author moves to Europe and a story about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. What do you think was the purpose of including this story? (Consider both the story itself and also the reference to the Holocaust.)
  8. What impression do you get about the relationship between the oppression of Jews and African Americans, based on the excerpts of the 1969 Freedom Seder?

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Discussion Questions." (Viewed on September 17, 2014) <http://jwa.org/node/11972/lightbox2>.

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