K.B. Frazier, who identifies as a “freedom-fighting black, trans, queer Jew” from St. Louis, Missouri, believes there’s a close connection between the story of Passover and the movement for black lives.
“It is essentially the same story, of people who were enslaved and came to be released from slavery,” Frazier told The Huffington Post. “The story today is that we have noticed again that we are in bondage. We may not have physical chains on us, but systemic racism, poverty, inequality, all of these things are keeping us enslaved.”
Drawing on his own experiences protesting on the street for the Black Lives Matter movement, Frazier has reinterpreted a 1,000-year-old Passover song to challenge Jews to “never forget” the importance of fighting for racial equality.
The song comes from the Haggadah, a book that contains the liturgy, or script, for the first night of Passover. On that night, Jews around the world gather with family and friends to partake in a Seder, or ritual feast, and retell the story of the Exodus, remembering how God led their ancestors out of slavery in Egypt. There are many different versions of the Haggadah, each taking its own spin on this age-old tale about the Jewish people’s search for freedom.
When Frazier was approached last year by Jews For Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ), a faith-based social justice organization, to help create a Black Lives Matter Haggadah supplement, his experiences on the street made him think of the Haggadah’s dayenu prayer.