The (Crowded) Vegan Seder Plate
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The (Crowded) Vegan Seder Plate
The Seder Plate holds elements of the Seder story. This vegan Seder plate removes animal products, and adds the orange ensuring a space for women at this table.
- Zeroa - for some a 'roasted bone', but on our plate a roasted beet that represents the Passover sacrifice offered while the Temple stood in Jerusalem (before 70 CE)
- Beitza - for some a roasted egg, but for on our plate it is an avacado seed (or olives) representing both the Passover offering and the cycle of life and death.
- Maror - A bitter herb (horseradish), which reminds us of the bitterness of enslavement.
- Charoset - A mixture of fruit, nuts, wine and spices, which represents the mortar our ancestors used to build the structures in Mitzrayim (Egypt)
- Karpas - A green vegetable (beet greens), which symbolizes hope and renewal.
- Chazeret - A second bitter vegetable (parsley), again reminding us of the harshness of slavery
- Orange - acknowledging the role of women in Jewish myths, community and society overall
- Olive -
Reader: This year, our Seder plate has a new symbol – an olive. Why an olive? Because, for slavery to be truly over, for a people to be truly free, we must know that we can feed ourselves and our children, today, tomorrow, and into the following generations.
Reader: In the lands of Israel and Palestine, olive groves provide this security. When olive groves are destroyed, the past and future is destroyed. Without economic security, a people can much more easily be conquered, or enslaved.
Reader: And so this year, we eat an olive, to make real our understanding of what it means each time a bulldozer plows up a grove. Without the taste of olives, there will be no taste of freedom.
Keep one olive on the Seder plate, and pass out olives
Passover combines the celebration of an event from Jewish memory with a recognition of the cycles of nature. As we remember the liberation from Egypt, we also recognize the stirrings of spring and rebirth happening in the world around us. The symbols on our table bring together elements of both kinds of celebration.
We now take a vegetable, in this case parsely, to represent our joy at the dawning of spring after...
The traditional haggadah speaks of Ten Plagues by which God accomplished our liberation from Egypt. Tonight, we enumerate plagues of psychiatric conditions, which hinder our sense of wholeness, health, and freedom. For each one, our cup of joy is diminished by one drop:
Karpas (parsley that is dipped in salt water during the seder) kavannah (spiritual focus)--time for spring awakening, new directions--renewal and bursting forth of new ideas.
We take this time to honor others who travel with us from other faiths and cultural traditions. We acknowledge the fact that they bring a new perspective to our lives and a legacy of their own that enriches ours. We are grateful for the...
We are free, but we remember when we were slaves. We are whole, but we bring to mind those who are broken. The middle matzah is broken, but it is the larger part which is hidden. Because the future will be greater than the past, and tomorrow’s Passover nobler than yesterday’s exodus. The prospects for the dreamed future are overwhelming to the point of making us mute. So it is in silence, without blessing, that we...
Our sages took some pains to ensure a Jewish calendar in which Pesach would always fall in the spring. (They were operating in a northern hemisphere context; I don’t think the challenges of antipodean Judaism ever occurred to them.) In the northern hemisphere, Pesach is inextricably connected with spring.
As the earth shakes off the constrictions of winter, her frozen places thawing, so we remember our...
Use this piece before singing Hallel and think about what it means to transition from slavery to freedom.
Exodus and Liberation translate many different ways for different communities, religious groups, and individuals. Chief Tom Dostou of the Wabanaki Nation of Massachusetts offers the following prayer in an excerpt from a larger piece describing his journey across his ancestral homeland of “Turtle...
Following the framework of the Four Questions of the Passover haggadah, we ask four alternative questions for discussion. These questions are meant to spark conversations that can happen throughout the seder.
Read this narrative aloud and then discuss the question below.
“When I found out I got into the University, I immediately called...
A HEBREW LESSON ON THE ROOT-WORD S-D-R
How is the festival meal of Passover different from the meal eaten at other holiday celebrations? For one thing, the Passover repast is consumed in the context of a scripted dramatic arrangement, a (seder), from the Hebrew verb (le-sadder), "to arrange."
There are, to be sure, similar arrangements in Jewish ritual and textual life. The daily prayer book, which...
Pesach is many things to many people. Its customs are familiar and can be viewed with many lenses. The symbols are universal and are subject to almost any reading: social justice, class, the Holocaust, Middle East politics, American politics, agriculture, the environment, the list is endless, and the proliferation of interpretations is evidence that this is fertile territory.
A few things – maybe only two –...
"A Not-So-Serious Passover Play for the Classroom or the Dining Room" by S. Mitchell
CHARACTERS: Slave Narrator, G_d (as a voice offstage), Moses, Aaron, Burning Bush, Pharoah
SLAVE NARRATOR: In Egypt we Hebrews had a difficult life. All day we worked under the whips of the taskmasters, making bricks and stacking them into giant pyramids, using nothing but our bare hands and a mixture of apples, raisins...
The question of why we eat maror would at first glance appear to be an obvious one. When I probe a little deeper, however, two questions emerge for me. First, why would I want to evoke pain and suffering on a night when I want to feel celebratory? My second question goes to the ritual itself. How is eating lettuce or horseradish supposed to help me experience or relate to the bitterness of slavery? No matter how much...
Is matzo poor man's bread or the food of free men? Can it be both? If we regard it as the Bread of Affliction why did we carry dough on our backs out of Egypt, to let it bake in the hot sun without leavening and rising? Can one Matzo be both a symbol of wretchedness and deliverance?
Matzo is a paradox.
Not only is it so, but in breaking the middle matzo we also break with symmetry. There is...
More Clips from Laura Craig Mason
RESOURCES & FOOTNOTES:
i Adapted from the Camp Kinderland 2003 Hagaddah.
ii “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., April 16, 1963.
iii From Velveteen Rabbi’s “Hagaddah for Pesach,” Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, 2001.
iv Exodus 6:6-7
v Mari Gallagher Research and Consulting Group, 2006.
vi Mari Gallagher Research and Consulting Group, 2011.
In the words of the Ramban (Rabbi Moshe Ben Nachman, 1194-1270), “Since God will
not perform this sign or miracle in every generation to refute the evil sinner or rebel, we
are commanded to make a continuous remembrance and sign to that which our eyes
have seen, and to impart it to our children and children's children... to the last
From the order of the service, to the...