René Cassin’s Women’s Seder Haggadah Companion

Posted on Monday, March 16th, 2020
René Cassin’s Haggadah Companion

On 12 March 2020, René Cassin held its first Women’s Seder, to celebrate the women of the exodus, their untold stories and the individuals who inspire us today. It called upon the experiences of the women of the Passover narrative, who played a role in the redemption of the Israelites, and women who advocate for freedom and equality in the present day, to inspire others to continue in their legacy.

The ‘René Cassin’s Women’s Seder Haggadah Companion’, takes the reader through the four items on the ‘René Cassin Seder Plate’: resistance, solidarity, empowerment and legacy.

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René Cassin’s Seder Plate

With this companion we provide guidance for discussion on some of the most pertinent human rights issues.

Instead of Mah nishtanah, we ask FOUR QUESTIONS on “why is this right different from all other rights?” :

  1. What have we done to support the journeys of refugees and asylum seekers in these times?
  2. How do you understand hate crime, where have you seen it and what can we do to combat this poison?
  3. What have we done in our personal and professional lives to combat modern slavery?
  4. What actions have we taken to support the Muslim Uyghurs and Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities?

On a twist to the Haggadah, instead of four sons, we have FOUR DAUGHTERS, challenging the reader as to their impact on social justice and responsibility for social action.

And finally, with a different version to the TEN PLAGUES, we suggest a different version for ten plagues to change the hardened hearts and minds of the Pharaohs of our time, who stand between the enjoyment of rights and freedoms by everyone.

René Cassin Women’s Seder 2020

Righteous Women – read Debora Singer’s blog on the Seder


What women attending the Seder have told us:

“A fantastic first for us all and a brilliant job you all did. Such care and attention to every detail and the book and programme were both fantastic.  Rabbi Deborah, Sally, Laura and everyone spoke brilliantly. 

Lots of overlap, relatable stuff and much food for thought for me. Honestly a privilege to be working with you all.

Thank you so much and yes, you have set a very high bar for any future seders from here on for me!”


“It was a lovely event last night – Well done to you and all those involved in creating such a moving and thought-provoking event.”


“The Seder last night was wonderful. Tania and I enjoyed it and were most impressed. You and your team obviously put a lot of thought and effort into making it happen and I think all present appreciated this.

You have set a precedent that you may have to follow annually, but not necessarily exclusive to women. Different aspect of human rights which the people of so many whole countries are denied, let alone women and minority groups.

How can we challenge the legal profession to think seriously about building on the International Criminal Laws we have had since 1948 that are still a long way from ‘fit for purpose’?”


“I wanted to drop you a quick line to wish you mazaltov on the Women’s Seder event last week.  It was an absolutely lovely event – well organised, delicious food and great speakers.  I think it was just the antidote we all needed to the doom and gloom that is occupying us all right now.”