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A Jewish organization is hoping to spark conversation this Passover about the rise of antisemitism today with some modern additions to the traditional Seder meal. 

"Passover is the most widely celebrated Jewish holiday, pretty much by far, of all the Jewish holidays in the calendar," Archie Gottesman, the New Jersey-based co-founder of JewBelong, told Fox News Digital in an interview. 

The holiday begins this year at sundown on April 22, 2024. 

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JewBelong is an organization dedicated to "supporting joyous Judaism and confronting antisemitism," says its website. 

Each year, JewBelong publishes a free haggadah, a book that is used for guiding the Passover Seder, on its website. 

photo shows a 1936 Maxwell House Haggadah alongside a Seder plate in New York. The coffee maker's version of the Seder guide has been offered free at supermarkets with a Maxwell House purchase since the early 1930s. A major overhaul will be out this year in time for the holiday's start April 19. (AP Photo/Stace Maude)

A 1936 Maxwell House haggadah is shown alongside a Seder plate in New York in this file image. (AP Photo/Stace Maude)

In Hebrew, haggadah translates to "telling." The Passover meal is called a Seder, which means "order" in Hebrew. 

This year, JewBelong added some additions to its haggadahadditions that Gottesman said were timely and appropriate ways to discuss the rise of antisemitism in the world. 

"We make it relevant for everybody sitting around the table today."

"We don't cut anything. We just make sure that everything that's in the traditional Seder is there … [also] making sure that we make it relevant for everybody sitting around the table today, because that's what's important," she said. 

picture of Archie Gottesman

Archie Gottesman, co-founder of the organization JewBelong, told Fox News Digital about why she's adding a cup of coffee to her Seder table this Passover: It's to raise awareness of antisemitism. (Fox News)

"And we want people to feel really inspired."

This year, the haggadah calls special attention to the different forms of antisemitism. 

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"We have something called the "Ten Plagues of Antisemitism," Gottesman told Fox News Digital. 

The retelling of the 10 plagues of Egypt is "a really important part of a traditional seder," said Gottesman. 

seder foods for Passover

A traditional Seder plate. This year, the co-founder of a group called JewBelong suggested adding a cup of black coffee to the Seder table as a way to "wake up" to rising antisemitism around the world. ? (iStock)

The 10 plagues were described in the Book of Exodus as disasters sent from God to the Egyptian pharaoh in order to convince him to free the Jewish people: water turning into blood, frogs, gnats, wild beasts, pestilence of livestock, boils, raining hail and fire, locusts, three days of darkness, and, finally, the death of the firstborn son.  

Traditionally, when retelling the 10 plagues, a person attending a Seder would remove a drop of wine from their glass.

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"That is to signify that during the 10 plagues, there was pain and there was suffering," she said. 

"Even though Passover celebrates freedom for the Jewish people, it is not done without the suffering of the Egyptian people." 

"Every time one of the plagues of antisemitism is mentioned, [a person] takes a sip of black coffee," she said. "That is to wake you up to antisemitism."?

This year, JewBelong's haggadah suggests adding a new addition to the Seder table: a cup of black coffee.

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"Every time one of the plagues of antisemitism is mentioned, [a person] takes a sip of black coffee," she said. "That is to wake you up to antisemitism." 

The "Ten Plagues of Antisemitism" are listed by JewBelong as the following:

  1. silence
  2. non-Jewish silence
  3. anti-Israel
  4. Hamas
  5. hiding
  6. stereotypes/scapegoating
  7. tolerating hate
  8. schools
  9. social media
  10. small-mindedness

"We cannot ignore the danger faced by Jews around the world," says the haggadah.

"Many of our ancestors came here as refugees, worked hard and contributed to society." 

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While hatred has always existed, "the wave of antisemitism that is continuing to gain momentum threatens the ability of Jews to live safely and proudly. It is important to take the signs of hate seriously," says the haggadah.

Pro-Palestinian protesters at Harvard University

One of the "Ten Plagues of Antisemitism" is "schools." JewBelong notes that 73% of Jewish college students have reported experiencing antisemitism on campus since the start of the 2023-24 school year.? (JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

This new tradition, said Gottesman, is "bringing the plagues that we are experiencing today to the Passover table." 

She told Fox News Digital, "At JewBelong, we like to take from tradition and then make it relevant to what's happening today. Adding the black coffee is sort of like, ‘Yeah, there’s a lot of people that are still not quite awake to the antisemitism that's occurring.'"

"I can't think of anything more important than antisemitism right now in the Jewish community."

While Gottesman noted there is "so much beauty" to be found in traditional religious practices, "that doesn't always resonate with people," she said. 

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"I can't think of anything more important than antisemitism right now in the Jewish community," she added. 

"To have a Passover Seder and not talk about that seems a little like not paying attention." 

This year, JewBelong's haggadah also includes a special prayer for those who are still being held hostage in Israel

Neutra's picture on hostage posters

JewBelong's haggadah also includes a special prayer for the hostages who are still being held in Gaza.? (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

The haggadah suggests adding a date to the Seder table, as "Israel does grow a lot of dates," said Gottesman. 

Date trees "stand for perseverance, abundance and growth. The same can be said for our brothers and sisters in Israel," says the haggadah.

"We're just hoping that the hostages are freed," said Gottesman. 

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And how "ironic," she added, "that we're sitting here in America celebrating freedom and that at the exact same time, there are hostages who are not free and that people are dying." 

Said Gottesman, "And we are really praying for peace."

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle

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