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A Passover Seder in Japan

Our allies-to-Jews support group here in Japan is actively engaged in learning about Jews and Jewish culture and working to support the Jewish member of our local RC Community. As the leader of the group, this April I helped organize the first-ever Passover Seder1 for allies to Jews in Fukuoka, Japan. I’d been inspired after reading an article by Cherie Brown2 and Harvey Jackins that advocated Seders as a celebration of liberation. Cherie sent us a Unity Seder Haggadah,3 and Leah Matsui4 led our Seder in Japanese.

We were two U.S. residents of Japan, one of whom is Jewish, and four Japanese people. I welcomed everyone to the Seder and emphasized that the Passover holiday is a celebration of Jews enslaved in ancient Egypt who were led to freedom. I said that we could celebrate our own efforts to be free of the patterns that enslave us. Then Leah led the Seder.

After the ceremony, the allies had sessions about their experience and Leah had a session separate from us. We ended with appreciations for Leah.

I had a great time. I’m grateful for the open mindedness and support of the allies and for Leah’s generosity in sharing the Seder with us. 

Randy Matsui
Kumamoto, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan


1 Passover is an eight-day Jewish festival, celebrated in early spring, that commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. A Seder is a service held in the home as part of the Passover celebration. It includes special ceremonial foods and ends with a dinner. Co-Counselors often hold RC Seders as a way to contradict the isolation of anti-Jewish oppression.
2 Cherie Brown is the International Liberation Reference Person for Jews.
3 A Haggadah is a book that contains instructions for the Seder, blessings, and the Passover story. (Haggadah means “the telling” in Hebrew.)
4 Leah Matsui is a Co-Counselor in Kumamoto, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan.


Last modified: 2020-07-17 20:50:52+00