At Thanksgiving 2020 Americans are facing public health “plague”, social strife, political polarization, a contested national presidential
election, economic uncertainty. It is a time of great uncertainty and peril. Most Americans are celebrating the holiday in isolation, following guidelines to address a surging pandemic that has claimed so many lives and caused social and economic devastation. It is into this space that we introduce the Civic Seder Ritual. The ritual is informed by the Passover holiday that has been celebrated in Jewish homes and communities for generations. A central part of the Passover celebration is the seder, a framework for intergenerational and intragenerational conversation across time. The Civic Seder Ritual for Thanksgiving 2020 is a framework for engaging with the story of We the People. It is built around the story of diverse people, separated by religion, race, ethnicity, national origin and gender evolving an inclusive body politic, one that is driven by the vision of the Declaration of Independence and enshrined in the hearts and minds of generations since. A vision that proclaim that
“We hold these truths to be self-evident. That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”
The Civic Seder Ritual for Thanksgiving benefits from rituals that celebrate our core values and transmit the story, unlikely as it was of the creation of the republic. The Civic Seder Ritual for Thanksgiving, launches into the body politic as a seed to be nourished and claimed by everyone. It is our hope to build the ritual into a regularly occurring celebration and thanksgiving for the vast benefits of Americansim.
The Setting for the Civic Seder Ritual
Imagine if everyone came to the gathering and joined around the Thanksgiving table* with the intention to create an American Civic Ritual for Thanksgiving. The challenge is to create a safe, rich space that allows for the non-judgmentally exploration of Americanism, to get to shared beliefs and see whether and why they were right or missed and did not live up to the vision of the nation. To recognize and manifest the basic notions of democratic society that we are all equal within the body politic and that all voices are heard.
The overall aspects of the civic ritual can include some of the following (can customize).
Establish a framework for the safe space and agree to some ground rules in advance. These ground rules provide for safe and effective conversation and sharing. (Link to information about effective conversations)
Recognize and remember that no individual, political party, religion or other organization or institution has a monopoly on the truth or wisdom.
Reaffirm that each of us brings our own story to the table; each of those stories is woven into the American story.
Commit to a narrative about ourselves and our nation that includes us all
Resources and Materials
The Civic Seder Ritual Project includes a collection of audio, video, writings, and resources for planting new conversations in families and communities. Please feel free, copyright permitting to add resources.
For a more detailed explanation, including the objectives, background, resources for the Civic Seder Ritual for Thanksgiving click here