(Participant) We have answered the four traditional questions, but there are still more questions to be answered.
There are other special foods on our Seder plate:
a bone (z'roa), a roasted egg (beitsah), and an orange (tappuz).
Why are they here?
(Participant) Z'ROA - SHANKBONE OR BEET
Z'ROA can mean a shankbone - the bone of a forelimb
This lamb's bone is the symbol of the ancient shepherd's festival of Pesah or Passover.
It was celebrated at the time of the full moon in the month lambs and goats were born. At that time, each family would sacrifice a young lamb or goat at a spring feast. Jews ended these sacrifices when the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed.
Since z'roa also means vegetable, a beet can be used instead of an animal bone on the seder plate.
The Jewish people are very diverse, so the rabbis who wrote the Talmud acknowledged this vegetarian alternative.
(Participant) BEITSAH - EGG
Why do we have a beitsah on the seder plate?
Beitsah is the egg of life, a symbol of the birth of the young in spring. Each of us begins as an egg and grows to adulthood. The egg reminds us of our evolutionary past and of the gifts of human inheritance. But the egg is fragile. It represents potential that can be destroyed. Left alone, its life would perish.
Growing life needs warmth and love and security, guidance, hope, and vision. To achieve their full potential, human beings need the support and encouragement of family and community. Beitsah symbolizes the fragility and interdependence of life.
[All who so desire may now eat a piece of egg.]
(Participant) TAPPUZ - ORANGE
Why have we added an orange to our seder plate?
We place this fruit among our ceremonial foods as a symbol of our efforts to make sexual minorities feel acknowledged in our community. We recognize the contributions made by these family members and friends.
By inviting and welcoming all with open hearts and open minds, we celebrate diversity and freedom. We put an orange on our seder plate as a new symbol of liberation around sexuality and gender roles. As we take a segment of the orange,we will make the blessing over fruit that grows on trees and eat the segment. We do this in recognition of gay and lesbian Jews and of widows, orphans, Jews who are adopted, interfaith couples and families and all others who sometimes feel marginalized in the Jewish community.
(Participant) When we eat that orange segment, we spit out the seeds to repudiate homophobia and we recognize that in a whole orange, each segment sticks together. Oranges are sweet and juicy and remind us of the fruitfulness of gay and lesbian Jews and of the homosociality that has been such an important part of Jewish experience, whether of men in yeshivas or of women in the Ezrat Nashim.
(ALL) Baruch atah adonai eloheinu melech ha'olam, borai p'ri haetz.
Blessed are you, our God, Creator of the Universe, who has creaed the good fruit of the tree.
[All may eat a piece of orange.]
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