This Passover, we talk with Becca and Waseem AbuRakia-Einhorn about their annual tradition: the Palestinian Freedom Seder. In this seder, everything from the Haggadah to the food is focused on celebrating Jewish and Palestinian culture, bringing attention to the oppression of the Palestinian people, and making connections between the Passover story of Jewish liberation and the Palestinian struggle for liberation today.
This episode of Unsettled was produced by Max Freedman and Ilana Levinson and edited by Max Freedman. Music by Nat Rosenzweig.
Almost a decade ago serendipity landed Becca AbuRakia-Einhorn in the Intensive Arabic Semester in Israel, instead of a regular Hebrew Ulpan, which ignited her passion in learning about Palestine and Israel. Becca grew up Jewish and was lucky enough to meet a wonderful Palestinian Muslim man at a barbecue in Israel (surprise: he later became her husband). After a year and a half in Israel, she and her husband moved to the United States and later had three weddings--a civil wedding, a Palestinian wedding in Israel, and a Jewish wedding in DC. She currently lives in Washington, DC and spends her spare time organizing with IfNotNow, a movement of Jewish Americans working to end American Jewish support for the Occupation of Palestine. This year, she and her husband will host their 7th annual AbuRakia-Einhorn Palestinian Freedom Seder.
By day, she works as the Coordinator of Education Abroad at Gallaudet University, the world's first and only university designed to be barrier-free for the deaf and hard of hearing. She spends her days making education abroad opportunities more accessible. She speaks (with varying degrees of success and confidence) English, Spanish, Portuguese, American Sign Language, Palestinian Arabic, and Hebrew. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in Media Studies from Pomona College. She went on to get an MA in International Affairs with a focus on Israel/Palestine from American University's School of International Service where she wrote her thesis on the Fight for Civil Rights for Palestinian Citizens of Israel. She is currently one month away from finishing her MPA from American University's School of Public Affairs.
Waseem AbuRakia-Einhorn hails from the small Palestinian village of Meiser inside Israel. He currently works as the IT Services Manager at American University's School of Public Affairs. He has a BS in Business Administration from American University's Kogod School of Business and is working on finishing his MS in Business Analytics, also from American University's Kogod School of Business. For twenty-eight years he lived in Israel. Eight years ago he met his wife at a barbecue in Israel. Six years ago he moved to the United States and got married. Two years ago he became of citizen of the United States. He is a proud Palestinian Muslim and a fluent speaker of Arabic, Hebrew, and English.