The Civic Seder Ritual for Thanksgiving
The George Washington Farewell Project
Summary: Pilgrims and Natives gather to share meal.
We invite you as a fellow citizen to be part of the development of the Civic Seder Ritual and participate in the Washington Farewell Project. The project is motivated by the shared values expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. We ask you to share and reflect on our hallowed civic texts: our holidays, songs and poems of freedom; our unfinished agenda. The evolving Civic Seder Ritual document will provide a safe container for communications and utilize a format that includes narrative, strategies, tools, and space for innovation and crowdsourcing to promote empathy, knowledge, and dialogue that celebrates different opinions and beliefs that are core of our collective national creed.
Washington’s Farewell Address: A timely message for the people of the United States
Constitution Day: A celebration of the constitution
The State of the Union: A time to reflect on the Health of the Nation
Americanization Day: An ongoing exploration of the shared vision of being an American
The Citizen Toolbox
We will explore the impact of the constitution on our political ecosystem. How did the constitution shape our political ecosystem? Using the complexity lens, we put the political system under the microscope.
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To Establish a National Ritual
Our objective is to establish a shared national ritual that explores and celebrates Americanism. The ritual builds on George Washington’s farewell address—the “letter” he wrote to the American people in 1796. The national rituals that reflect the shared American creed and affirms the social contract established and fought for by prior generations of Americans. As a central part of the ritual, we can reaffirm Washington’s call for recognizing the importance of being Americans regardless of the various, multiple identities we hold important that define and energize us. The people of Philadelphia (the United States) can initiate a civic ritual that builds on Washington’s counsel and celebrates our shared values and develops strategies that promote cohesion rather than division. The ritual, using a shared document that is reflective of the “identity of the users” provides an opportunity for civic reflection and strengthens ties among individuals, families, communities, and nations. The ritual allows for patriotic reflection and sharing of hope allowing for a more intimate sharing of common bonds. While a national ritual can have a positive short-lived impact for the participants, it can also serve as a launching pad for a more meaningful exploration of freedom and liberty in the 21st century and to develop a modern expression of citizenship. By celebrating America’s origins, aspirations and common creed we can develop strategies that promote shared American values.
The Civic Seder Ritual: A Framework for a National Ritual
Many religions have established rituals that sustain them from generation to generation. The Passover Seder, an enduring celebration that has helped to sustain the Jewish people for thousands of years, can serve as a framework for a national ritual that can take place as part of the national holiday of Thanksgiving. A central part of the ritual is a document that builds on existing material associated with the vision of the United States, (our better angels, The Faith of America, What Unites Us) we will use digital engagement to develop a document that serves as an organizing activity that explores and celebrates Americanism based on Washington’s Farewell Address. The evolving document will provide a safe container for communications and utilize a format that includes narrative, strategies, tools, and space for innovation and crowdsourcing to promote empathy, knowledge, and dialogue that celebrates different opinions and beliefs. The document is crowdsourced, collecting the national documents and other artifacts of the American people. We can share and reflect on our hallowed civic texts: Our songs and poems of freedom, Our unfinished agenda, documents such as the, democratic constitution under which the Iroquois Confederacy had operated, The Declaration of Independence, Seneca Falls and the Start of Annual Conventions , Gettysburg Address, Martin Luther King and others. This document provides a draft for a framework to initiate the national event. Building on existing material associated with the vision of the United States, we will use crowdsourced, digital engagement to develop a document that serves as an organizing activity for collecting the national documents and other artifacts of the American people. We envision a “modular” framework that can be easily incorporated to diverse settings and groups.
National holidays are designed to call attention to institutions and ideals that the nation holds sacred. We believe that national holidays are a gift. With Freedom’s Feast The (Civic Seder Ritual), participants will learn new ways to explore and participate in our American democratic tradition. Instead of diving straight into the food and shopping most of us associate with our holidays, we offer another kind of feast. Fill up on new memories as we pass on the stories, values and behaviors we care about to our next generation of American citizens and leaders. Freedom’s Feast helps participants to connect heart, mind, and hand in the act of citizenship.
The Structure of the Civic Seder Ritual
The Civic Seder Ritual borrows heavily from the Jewish ritual of Passover, a ritual that has been celebrated and reportedly kept the Jewish people through the ages. The process established is meant to be a skeleton for an evolving, crowdsourced journey to establish a meaningful and energetic Americanism ritual. The highlight of the process is the invitation to exploration and reflection while creating a space for allowing all voices to rise and be heard. The framework aims to be modular to allow personal, family, cultural and other features of importance to be included.
Content of the Civic Seder Ritual
An Introduction to the Civic Seder Ritual for Thanksgiving
Getting ready- Creating the Civic Seder Ritual Mindset
Getting Ready- Creating the Menu and Organization for the Ritual
Wine — The Civic Seder Ritual's Four Cups
Starting the Ritual: Hand Washing
Asking the Questions
The Four Children and Citizens
Telling the story of Americanism
Taking stock of where we are
Our Political Brokenness
The Plagues of the Current Political System
The way forward
Please contact us to get access to the Civic Seder Ritual for Thanksgiving developing document.