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Why is this Seder different?

Posted on Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

Call to Action – #MakeThisSederDifferent

Reform Judaism’s Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen, World Uyghur Congress’s Rahima Mahmut and René Cassin’s Mia Hasenson-Gross call for an end to the genocide and persecution of Uyghur Muslims.


This Passover, we are launching our #MakeThisSederDifferent campaign, urging Jewish families to place a piece of ethically-sourced cotton and yellow raisins on their Seder Plate in recognition of the genocide being committed against Uyghur Muslims.

The Uyghurs are a Turkic-speaking, Muslim minority in the Western Chinese province of East Turkistan (Xinjiang). In recent years, the Chinese state has been committing genocidal acts against them in an attempt to eradicate the Uyghur people and culture. Internment in so-called ‘re-education’ camps, forced labour and enslavement, forced  sterilisation and sexual abuse, and the prohibition of religious expressions and cultural practices are tools used to repress the Uyghurs beyond all consciousness.

We have chosen cotton and yellow raisins as symbols of the Uyghur genocide to reflect that both struggle and hope exist in this awful situation. Cotton symbolises the oppression faced by Uyghurs, as currently twenty percent of all cotton produced is manufactured by Uyghurs in forced labour. The sweet yellow raisins are a popular snack in Uyghur culture and symbolises the fact that hope still exists for an end to this persecution.

We believe that this year it is vital to consider the Uyghur story of enslavement and repression alongside our own. Our cherished story recounts the necessity of speaking truth to power to fight for justice, a story we have taken with us to wherever we may be.

We have developed Seder resources, in partnership with the Union of Jewish Students, to accompany any Haggadah and offers information, Mah Nishtana questions, Uyghur specific 10 plagues and thought-provoking topics for conversation. You can download the full resource here

We also ask that you please do the following things:

  1. Share our graphic and resource to your community and on your social media
  2. Encourage friends and family to also place cotton and yellow raisins on their Seder plate and use our hashtag – #MakeThisSederDifferent
  3. Share and encourage others to share photos of your Seder Plate with cotton and yellow raisins in the days before the festival begins

Here are some example posts for social media you may wish to use:

Twitter – “What makes this Seder different? In recognition of the genocide against Uyghur Muslims, we are encouraging everyone to include ethically-sourced cotton and yellow raisins on their Seder Plate. To learn more, download this Haggadah companion from @René_Cassin. #MakeThisSederDifferent”

Facebook – “What makes this Seder different? In recognition of the genocide currently being committed against Uyghur Muslims, we are encouraging everyone to include cotton and yellow raisins on their Seder Plate. To learn more, download this Haggadah companion from René Cassin. #MakeThisSederDifferent”

If you have any questions, please do get in touch.

You can also support the campaign to Stop Uyghur Genocide fundraising appeal here.  

This resource was produced with special thanks to René Cassin Ambassador Jack Lubner and Gil Rubin from UJS.