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April 06, 1984 - Image 26

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-04-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

26

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, April 6, 1984

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TRADITIONS

The memories of Passover's gone by. The reading of The Haggadah-
The Kiddush-The Matzoh-The MaNishtanah-The stories of the Exodus,
the Aficomin, and above all the singing of the traditional songs and
melodies that are part of the Passover seder.
However, there is still one more tradition which has become a part
of the family Seder table-Manischewitz wine. Manischewitz wine always
graced every holiday table, particularly the
Passover Seder table. It spans
generations and somehow symbolizes the
continuity of the family Seder.
The "flavor" of Passover would not be
the same without Manischewitz Kosher Wine.

anischeuNt

Produced and bottled under strict Rabbinical supervision
by Rabbi Dr. Joseph 1. Singer & Rabbi Solomon B. Shapiro.
Manischewitz Wine Co., New York, N.Y. 11232
Kashruth Certificate available upon request.

`Shalom Seders'

Continued from Page 25

Jewish women in Oregon
together wrote their
feminist interpretation of
Passover on sheets of rice
paper. Their Seder, like
Rainbow, then evolved into
its present shape through
the contributions of mem-
bers of NJA, this time in
Seattle.
The original group's con-
cerns shine through this
Haggadah. We are treated
to an extensive examina-
tion of Miriam's role in sav-
ing the young Moses from
the reeds and to the
courageous acts of Shifra
and Puah, the midwives
who refused to kill the male
infants born to Jewish
women. There is also a
strong strain of Jewish sec-
ular culture running
through the Seder, with his-
torical references to figures
such as Ann Frank, Julius
and Ethel Rosenberg and
I.L. Peretz.
A Haggadah of Liberation
has a distinctly West Coast
feel about it, sometimes
evoking the maudlin
stereotype of that region's
sensibility. The shaking off
of the yoke of oppression by
the rebellious Hebrews, for
example, is explained as the
formation of "the how-to-
get-out-of-here" committee.
And the shankbone's sym-
bol is interpreted as follows:
This year, we will not
sacrifice a lamb for our
ritual; instead we invited a
baby lamb to our Seder as a
guest. Unfortunately she
couldn't trust us and didn't
come. Maybe next year.
But the influence of place
comes through in other
ways as well. For all who
know Seattle, where Mount
Rainier's towering beauty
can be seen from all parts of
the city and lush greenery
abounds, it is not surprising
that ecology (and rain!!)
plays a big part in this ren-
dition of Passover. One of
the questions asked in addi-
tion to the Four Questions
is: "Why do people poison
the water they drink, pol-
lute the air they breathe,
and spoil the land which
sustains them?"
The Seder of the Children
of Abraftam is the most pro-
vocative of the three
Shalom Seders. The work of
four members of the
Philadelphia Chapter of
NJA (three rabbinical stu-
dents and an Armenian-
American who spent part of
her childhood in Beirut),
Seder of the Children of Ab-
raham is a radical depar-
ture from the Passover
story. Its authors state that
it is not intended as a sub-
stitute for the traditional
Haggadah. This Seder fo-
cuses on the conflict in the
Middle East between the
state of Israel (and Israeli
Jews) and the Palestinians.
The Maggid told there is
not of Egypt and Canaan
but of Palestine during the
British Mandate, of the cre-
ation of Israel, and of the
conflicting claims of both
Jews and Arabs to the land.
Dedicated to Emil
Grunzweig, the Peace Now

activist who was killed dur-
ing a demonstration against
the Begin government in
February 1983, and to
Issam SartavVi, the Palesti-
nian who was murdered by
rejectionist Arab forces dur-
ing a conference of the
Socialist International in
April of the same year,
Seder of the Children of Ab-
raham's narrative flows
around the hope of peace,
cooperation, and mutual re-
spect between two desper-
ate peoples presently
enslaved by their fear and
hatred of one another.
The poetry and readings
in Children of Abraham are
probably the least familiar
of all The Shalom Seders'
readings to most American
Jews. While quoting from
Martin Buber, the Talmud
and Yehuda Amichai from
the Jewish tradition, the
Haggadah gives equal
weight to the words of the
Koran, Palestinian poet
Fawaz Turki, Palestinian
activist Raymonda Tawil,
and to the writings of
Jewish and Arab school-
children.
The Shalom Seders were
written by people wrestling
with Jewish particularism
in the context of a universal
world. Understandably,
then, all three Seders have
difficulty with the pirayer
Pour out Thy Wrath said
toward the end of the Seder.
Recited with the door open
for Elijah the Prophet to
come in, the prayer corn-
posed of stanzas from
Psalms and Lamentations,
reads:

Pour not Thy Wrath upon
the nations that know Thee
not

God and com-
mandment may
play a part, but
freedom requires
a consciousness of
the present as well
as the past

And upon the kingdoms that
call not upon Thy name
For they have devoured
Jacob
And laid waste his habita-
tion
Pour out Thine indignation
upon Them; And let the
fierCeness of Thine anger
overtake them
Thou wilt pursue them in
anger, and destroy them
From under the heavens of
the Lord.
The Orthodox prayer has
little interest in the very
sufferings of the world over
which The Shalom Seders
anguish. This kind of par-
ticularism is simply omitted
in these new renderings of
the Passover story and gives
them a quality of placidness
which doesn't fit the mood
intended by the tradition.
The problem stems, I
think, from the reluctance
on the part of the makers of
The Shalom Seders to admit
that although the Hag-

gadah's central theme is
freedom, a secondary and
essential theme in the
Exodus is punishment.
"Pour out Thy Wrath" and
the passage, "It was not one
only who rose against us to
annihilate us, but in every
generation there are those
who rise against us to anni-
hilate us," another omission
from the traditional text,
provide the balance be-
tween freedom and
punishment so necessary in
Judaism.
Fortunately, with the in-
terpretation of the Ten
Plagues, The Shalom Sed-
ers fare better. God's
punishment of the Egyp-
tians is glossed over in A
Haggadah of Liberation,
but in The Rainbow Seder
the onset of the plagues in-
troduces a discussion of
ends and means, of violent
or non-violent resistance, in
struggles of life and death.
Children of Abraham- lists
ten incidents in which Jews
killed Arabs and Arabs kil-
led Jews, a sober under-
standing of human revenge,
sometimes understood as
punishment.
Rainbow and Liberation
choose instead to emphasize
the celebrating, at some cost
to a realistic balance.
Exuberant and well-
intentioned, Waskow in-
cludes a long portion from
Song of Songs to conclude
his Haggadah. The sensu-
ousness of the readings,
more appropriate to Erev
Shabbat than to Passover,
betrayed the writer's need
to compensate for the dif-
ficult, often painful, re-
counting of the Exodus. And
"Joyful Dancing" at the
very end of the Seder? Most
of us would be too tired.
A similar trend runs
through A Haggadah of
Liberation coupled with a
problematic effort to cram
in all of Jewish tradition
and history, religious and
secular, from Sinai to mod-
ern times.
In contrast, Seder of the
Children of Abraham bal-
ances hopeful dreams with
harsh reality. The Seder
opens with a sensitive op-
tional reading which admits
how "hard (it will be) for us
as Jews to hear of their (the
Palestinians') anguish and
suffering, yet it is in fact in
our own self interest to
open ourselves to listen,
however hard it may be."
Yes, these three Hag-
gadahs are different from
all other Haggadahs. De-
spite their shortcomings,
The Shalom Seders' efforts
to harmonize Jewish par-
ticularism with tikun olam
(the reparation of the world)
never stray too far from the
tradition. Used in conjunc-
tion with an Orthodox or
Conservative Haggadah or
perhaps separately on the
second or even last night of
the festival, The Shalom
Seders will certainly make
this coming Passover
worthy of our collective
memory.

Copyright, Jewish Student
Press Service, 1984

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