The Seder Plate

Haggadah Section: Introduction

Charoseth - Charoset is the mortar that holds our house together. We are reminded of our interconnectedness as diverse people, with differing drives of how we each personally affect change in the world. By listening to and supporting each other, we are listened to and supported by others.

Shank bone - The shank bone historically was used as God commanded to paint the doorways of the Jewish households with lamb’s blood so that the Holy Spirit would passover those homes and spare God’s people from his plagues. This blood flows through us all. We celebrate our similarities while honoring the rich cultures and traditions of our many differences. Many ethnic communities are imagined, incorrectly, as homogenous cultures. For those of us who are Jewish, we remind ourselves that Jews come in all hues, from all corners of the world. For those of us who are Black, we know that Blackness is rooted in many different nationalities, ethnicities, and histories. We must celebrate our individuality, our cultures, and our commonalities. “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” -Audre Lourde

Bitter herb (Maror) - The bitter herb reminds us of the bitterness inside all of us. We live in a diverse society that infects us with both goodness and bad experiences. We are reminded to call attention to any prejudiced ideas we carry inside us, though we may not realize, and uproot them.

Egg - The egg in its shell reminds us that we can choose how we identify ourselves, but we can’t always choose how the world sees us. When others assume things about us that don’t agree with our concept of ourselves, or when people cannot see an identity that we hold close to our hearts, we feel dehumanized. Tonight, we commit to celebrating everyone as they wish to identify.

Parsley & Salt Water - We eat this vegetable as a symbol of the arrival of spring. We dip them in salt water to remind us of the tears our ancestors shed during the years of slavery and oppression in Egypt.

Orange - Famously, Rabbis refused the feminist movement saying, “a woman belongs on the bimah [in a leadership position in the congregation, or reading from the Torah] as much as an orange belongs on the seder plate.” The orange now symbolizes the fruitfulness for all Jews when all are contributing and active members of Jewish life: women, the LGBT community, interfaith couples, people with disabilities, and non religious people. Each orange segment has a few seeds that have to be spit out - a gesture of spitting out, repudiating the misogyny, homophobia, and exclusivity of Judaism.

Olive - The olive tree is a universal and ancient symbol of hope and peace. Sadly, divisive Israeli policies have allowed for the destruction of Palestinian olive trees by Israeli settlers. How can we support a Jewish state without condoning such egregious injustices on the land?

An empty cup - We recall those who did not live to see this moment and those who are unable to celebrate openly their identity (and connection with Judaism). We reflect that we are simply part of a chain of generations who will not complete this work, but will continue to advocate for the liberation of all people, and thus help fill the cup, for generations to come.

Blessed is the empty cup, full of potential and possibilities. Blessed are those who fill this cup full of love, strength, wisdom, and dreams.

A rainbow (colored ribbons) - A symbol of the full spectrum of our Jewish and Lakewood community. These are the colors of our inner lives, the common threads that bind us all together as charoset reminds us of the mortar that bound together the bricks in Egypt.

Baruch Atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, meshaneh ha-briyot.
Blessed are You, Eternal our God, sovereign of the universe, who has made all creatures different.

Blessing Differences; Pride Freedom Seder; various

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Passover Guide

Hosting your first Passover Seder? Not sure what food to serve? Curious to
know more about the holiday? Explore our Passover 101 Guide for answers
to all of your questions.

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