As Jewish tradition grows, Jews around the world search for new symbols to represent our ever changing world.
Orange - LGBTQ Community
There are many stories that explain how the orange became a mainstay of the new symbols represented at the seder table. All of these stories include Professor Susannah Heschel, daughter of civil rights activist Abraham Joshua Heschel. Professor Heschel explains that in the 1980’s, feminists at Oberlin College placed a crust of bread on the Seder plate, saying, “There's as much room for a lesbian in Judaism as there is for a crust of bread on the seder plate.” Professor Heschel made this her own ritual by placing an orange on the seder plate. Today, we include an orange at our seder to acknowledge those in our society who have been marginalized for so long.
Pomegranate - Women and Torah Study
The pomegranate and its seeds hold a special place in Jewish tradition. It is included in the Torah as one of the seven species that grow in the land of Israel and the rabbis liken the pomegranate to the Torah itself, because each of its seeds represents a different commandment. The pomegranate is also a symbol for women, as its seeds represent fertility and the possibility of new life. Today, we include a pomegranate at our seder for the women who have contributed to the study of Torah, who have taken on leadership roles in our community, and who nurtured us as we grow.
Artichoke - Diversity
What is an artichoke? Surely a work of G-d's imagination! The petals of the artichoke are a perfect representation of the Jewish people.
We call Jews who are everything from Orthodox Hassidic to liberal secular. We are Reform, Reconstructionist, Orthodox, traditional, Modern Orthodox, Conservative, Renewal, and post-denominational. We are social justice activists and soldiers; we are Israelis and Jews of the Diaspora. WE are young, old, single, married. Our skin can be as light as Scandanavian or as dark as Ethiopian.
Today, our artichoke represents the diversity we find in the Jewish community, as well as the diversity of the larger LMU community that we are a part of. It is from this divers community that we receive our strength, our love, and our hope.
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