Lessons in Freedom

It’s the season of liberation!

Can you just see the eye rolls everywhere? Ancient Egypt is the last thing on the mind of a pre-teen girl.

But it’s your job to teach them that Pesach isn’t simply a stale commemoration of the past. It’s a holiday that recognizes the fight for freedom from their daily struggles.

As leaders, it’s your job to teach them that our exodus from Egypt isn’t just a historical account.

It’s like Aron Moss wrote in The Real Haggadah in Chabad.org:

“We are slaves. Slaves to our own inhibitions, fears, habits, cynicism and prejudices … Our souls are incarcerated in selfishness, laziness and indifference.”

Freedom is a state of mind, and in Judaism, it’s the ability to be who you really are. During Pesach (and all year, really), help your girls find their true selves by giving them the ability to explore the layers of their personality and express their inner soul.

Encourage them to say, “I may not understand what this means, but I have a Jewish soul, and that is the deepest layer of my identity.”
In order to truly be free, your girls will need to define what keeps them “enslaved” in their lives.

In this exercise, have your members examine their passions and personality traits.

Using Moss’s suggestions, have them ask themselves:

  • What perks me up and gets my blood pumping?

The girls will find that their passions are all self-serving. During Pesach, they should try to control those passions and guide them to a productive, meaning-centered place.

Use our Freedom Jar craft project to guide the girls as they explore their passions and how to make them more meaningful.

The Freedom Jar

  • 10-15 smooth stones* (preferably between 1″-2″ in diameter)
  • Sharpie marker
  • Mason jar
  • Colorful ribbon or other decorations (we used feathers and ribbon)
1. Depending on the size of mason jar you choose, give each girl enough stones to fill the jar about 2/3 full. (We used a pickle jar and about 15 stones.)
2. Have each member write one of her passions on each stone, and gently place them in the jar.
3. While she’s writing her passions down, remind her to think about how to guide them from being self-gratifying to meaning-centered. You can even have her bring her BMC journal and turn into a journaling exercise.
4. Decorate the jar! We used feathers and ribbon because that’s what we had on had and because they were a gorgeous combination.* For this craft, we used found rocks (which happened to be pretty dingy) and painted them white. Please feel free to use whatever type of stones you think would work best. Or, if you’d rather not use rocks, these round wooden discs would be super cute too.Remember, these crafts don’t have to be expensive. It’s the meaning behind each exercise that’s important. You too can use what you have on hand. Just adapt the craft to fit!



    After they reveal their passions and personality traits, make sure they spend time thinking about how to make them more meaningful. 


    We used ribbon, twine and feathers to decorate our jars, but feel free to modify for your project.


    “No one finds themselves in a situation,” the Rebbe said. “You put yourself in a situation, and if you put yourself in that situation, you can put yourself in another situation.”

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