Over the last couple of days, we have seen a lot written about how to make a Passover Seder welcoming and inclusive for everyone sitting around the table. This came up so much because there are more interfaith families than ever before, which means there are more people every year who are probably attending their first Seders.
So for all of these husbands and wives, children and grandparents, friends and extended family, Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael, writing in The Jewish Exponent, came up with a list of “five readings that interfaith families may want to include in their Passover seder.”
For example, many families over the last few years have started displaying additional items on their Seder plate – most notably an orange, to represent “women’s leadership roles and full empowerment in Jewish life,” Rabbi Raphael says. But she offers another unique item for the Seder: an artichoke. It has “many petals, with thistle and a heart,” she says, and that represents the Jewish people.
“Like the artichoke, which has thistles protecting its heart, the Jewish people have been thorny about this question of interfaith marriage. Let this artichoke on the seder plate tonight stand for the wisdom of God’s creation in making the Jewish people a population able to absorb many elements and cultures throughout the centuries — yet still remain Jewish. Let the thistles protecting our hearts soften so that we may notice the petals around us.”
Although most families only hold Seders the first two nights, her ideas shouldn’t be constricted to the Seder table – or just Passover. Any family gathering, whether it’s Thanksgiving or Shabbat, is a good opportunity to, as we like to say at JOI, open your tent and welcome in all who approach.
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