Place a candle on the table for Tibet

In the wake of worldwide protests against China’s human rights violations in Tibet, a group of Jewish leaders has called on Jews everywhere to include an unlit candle on their Passover tables, to draw attention to the Tibetan struggle for freedom.

The campaign is spearheaded by Jay Michaelson, a visiting professor at Boston University Law School and a founder of the Tibet Oral History Project; online activist and blogger Dan Sieradski; and Rodger Kamenetz, best-selling author of “The Jew in the Lotus.”

The symbol of the unlit candle is meant to stimulate conversation about Tibet at seders around the world.

“Passover is the festival of freedom,” said Michaelson. “Yet this year, more than ever before, we are mindful that several million Tibetans are denied their basic freedoms, autonomy and human rights by the Chinese regime.”

He said the light of candles often symbolizes freedom, hope and renewal in the Jewish tradition. “When I saw the Olympic torch being extinguished by protesters in Europe. I was inspired by the coincidence. The Tibetans’ hopes remain dimmed as well.”

The project’s Web site,, contains resources and links about the Tibetan struggle and Jewish perspectives on it, together with an online petition.

Said Kamenetz, who in 1997 created a seder for Tibet with the Dalai Lama, “our hope for Tibetan freedom resonates deeply with our own deepest hopes.”

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